Trump argues he ‘never directed’ longtime fixer to break law

In this Dec. 11, 2018, photo, President Donald Trump speaks during a meets with Democratic leaders the Oval Office of the White House in Washington. (Evan Vucci | The Associated Press)

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump is contending he “never directed” longtime lawyer Michael Cohen to break the law. Trump’s tweet Thursday comes a day after Cohen was sentenced to prison for crimes including arranging hush money payments to conceal Trump’s alleged affairs.

Cohen and federal prosecutors have said the payments were made at Trump’s direction to influence the 2016 election.

Trump tweeted Cohen “was a lawyer and he is supposed to know the law. It is called ‘advice of counsel,’ and a lawyer has great liability if a mistake is made.”

Trump asserted “this was not campaign finance.”

Trump has gone from denying knowledge of the payments to saying they would have been private transactions that weren’t illegal. Prosecutors have implicated Trump in a crime, but haven’t directly accused him of one.

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