COHEN UPDATES | Trump says hush money 'not a campaign violation'


WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump is defending the hush-money payments made by his former attorney Michael Cohen to a pair of women, insisting, contrary to Cohen's guilty plea, that the effort wasn't "even a campaign violation."

Trump is telling "Fox & Friends" host Ainsley Earhardt in an interview set to air Thursday that the payments "didn't come out of the campaign, and that's big."

He says wrongly that if the money had come from the campaign, "that could be a little dicey," but since it "came from me" it's "not even a campaign violation."

Cohen on Tuesday pleaded guilty to a series of charges and said Trump had directed him to arrange the payments to influence the election.

Corporations are not permitted to contribute to campaigns and money intended to influence an election must be reported.

9:40 a.m.

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump says he wouldn’t recommend his former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen.

Trump tweeted Wednesday: “If anyone is looking for a good lawyer, I would strongly suggest that you don’t retain the services of Michael Cohen!”

Cohen pleaded guilty Tuesday to campaign-finance violations and other charges and implicated the president in his wrongdoing.

Meanwhile, Cohen, has information of interest to special counsel Robert Mueller handling the Russia probe according to his lawyer, Lanny Davis.

Davis said the information could include whether Trump knew ahead of time about the hacking of Democratic emails during the 2016 presidential election, knowledge about a possible conspiracy to corrupt American democracy by the Russians and the failure to report that knowledge to the FBI.

Davis spoke in a series of television interviews Wednesday.

Cohen pleaded guilty Tuesday to campaign-finance violations and other charges. And he says Trump directed him to arrange the payment of hush money to porn star Stormy Daniels and a former Playboy model to fend off damage to his White House bid.

Davis also says Cohen wouldn’t want to be pardoned by Trump.

Cohen, who was Trump’s longtime attorney, said he and Trump arranged the payment of hush money to porn star Stormy Daniels and a former Playboy model in an effort to influence the 2016 presidential election.

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