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On Fox News, Trump says hush money was ‘not a campaign violation’

Trump's Former Lawyer Says US President Told Him to Pay off Two Women

In the same hour on Tuesday afternoon, Manafort was found guilty on eight felony fraud charges and Cohen pleaded guilty to eight tax evasion and illegal campaign finance charges.

Critics including comedian Kathy Griffin gleefully reposted the tweet, which was removed sometime Wednesday morning.

"First question, when I heard about it was, 'Did they come out of the campaign?' because that could be a little dicey".

"Unlike Michael Cohen, he refused to "break" - make up stories in order to get a 'deal'".

On Tuesday, Cohen detailed how he made pre-election hush payments to porn star Stormy Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougal.

"If Democrats take the House, they will impeach the president and this (Cohen allegation) will be article one".

"The primary threat to President Trump is that Robert Mueller will return a report that substantiates a recommendation for impeachment", said Mark Osler, a law professor at the University of St. Thomas and a former assistant USA attorney.

Cohen, he said, was "a fine person with a wonderful family" and, as a businessman, Trump said he had "always liked and respected" him.

U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday praised his former campaign chairman who was just convicted of defrauding the federal government and accused his longtime personal attorney of breaking under legal pressure.

Cohen is not the only former Trump associate to be convicted of a crime - former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort was found guilty of financial fraud-related crimes on Tuesday, former national security adviser Mike Flynn is awaiting sentencing, and former Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos has pleaded guilty to lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The charges to which Cohen pleaded guilty are not related to collusion between the campaign and Russian Federation. Facing up to five years in prison, the admissions were a dramatic change from Cohen's earlier boasts that he was Trump's "fixer" and would "take a bullet" for the president.

Manafort was found guilty in the first criminal trial arising from the Mueller investigation, though none of the charges against him related to any collusion with Russian Federation.

"My message to the president: you better not talk about pardons for Michael Cohen or Paul Manafort tonight, or anytime in the future", tweeted Sen.

Trump disparaged the special counsel's investigation upon landing in Charleston, West Virginia, telling reporters the probe is a "a witch hunt and a disgrace".

Trump's orbit, namely lawyer Rudy Giuliani, has steadily ratcheted up their attacks on Cohen, suggesting he was untrustworthy and lying about what he knew about the former celebrity real estate developer's business dealings.

"President Trump still does not appear to be in any legal jeopardy", said Ric Simmons, a law professor at the Ohio State University.

Cohen's lawyer, Lanny Davis, said Wednesday on NBC that Cohen would not accept a pardon from Trump, and didn't expect one "from somebody who has acted so corruptly as president".

"Not just about the obvious possibility of a conspiracy to collude and corrupt the American democracy system in the 2016 election, which the Trump Tower meeting was all about, but also knowledge about the computer crime of hacking and whether or not Mr. Trump knew ahead of time about that crime and even cheered it on", said Davis.

Nothing made public so far from Cohen's criminal case indicates he has agreed to co-operate with prosecutors, but Davis said that was simply a "distinction without a difference".