Michael Cohen, President Trump’s former fixer, says the candidate personally directed him to pay off Stormy Daniels because he thought it would help him to win the election.
Trumpworld allies have tried to suggest the president ordered the secret payments for personal reasons—to keep Melania Trump in the dark about his affairs—rather than for electoral gain, which would potentially violate campaign-finance laws.
“You have to remember at what point in time that this matter came about—two weeks or so before the election. Post the Billy Bush comments, so, yes, he was very concerned about how this would affect the election,” he said.
George Stephanopoulos asked if Trump knew it was wrong to pay off the women. Cohen said: “Of course.”
The lawyer explained that Trump was intimately aware of all of the major decisions taken by his company, and ridiculed suggestions that Cohen may have been freelancing without Trump’s consent.
“I don’t think there is anybody that believes that,” Cohen said. “First of all, nothing at the Trump Organization was ever done unless it was run through Mr. Trump. He directed me to make the payments, he directed me to become involved in these matters.”
Cohen told GMA: “Here is the truth: People of the United States of America, people of the world, don’t believe what he is saying. The man doesn’t tell the truth. And it is sad that I should take responsibility for his dirty deeds.”
After being convicted of lying to Congress, tax evasion, and breaking campaign-finance laws, Cohen hardly makes the most reliable witness. He told ABC News that his latest version of events should be believed because it had been corroborated by further evidence in the hands of special counsel Robert Mueller.
“The special counsel stated emphatically that the information that I gave to them is credible and helpful,” he said. “There’s a substantial amount of information that they possessed that corroborates the fact that I am telling the truth.”
It remains unclear how much actionable information Cohen has given during hours of testimony to the Mueller probe, but asked if Trump has been telling the truth about his dealings with Russia, Cohen said “No.”