Cohen says hush money paid to influence election

Michael Cohen, long-time lawyer and self-declared "fixer" for Mr. Trump, pleaded guilty to tax and bank fraud and violation of campaign finance rules, allegedly at the behest of the President.

Appearing in a federal court in Manhattan on Tuesday, August 21, Cohen pleaded guilty to five counts of tax fraud, one bank fraud and two counts in regard to violation of campaign finance laws.

In pleading guilty on Tuesday, Cohen stated that he made hush payments in 2016 to women who claimed to have had affairs with the Republican presidential nominee, and did so at the "direction of the candidate", plainly meaning Trump.

Cohen told a court on Tuesday that he had paid off porn actress Stormy Daniels and model Karen McDougal in order to influence the 2016 U.S. election campaign, at the direction of a "candidate".

And in a Virginia courtroom, onetime Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort has been convicted of financial crimes.

"Today he stood up and testified under oath that Donald Trump directed him to commit a crime by making payments to two women for the principal objective of influencing an election".

Lanny Davis, a lawyer for Cohen, declined to comment.

"Mueller handed off Cohen matter to federal prosecutors in NY".

Cohen had worked for Trump for years, but their paths diverged when Cohen's offices were raided by federal detectives hunting for his financial records.

Prosecutors argued that although Cohen paid Daniels $130,000 and McDougal $150,000 from his own accounts, since it was made on behalf of a presidential candidate and was later reimbursed by the Trump Organization, it constituted an unlawful and corporate contribution and an excessive campaign contribution.

Cohenpleaded guilty to eight felony charges, including campaign finance violations and tax evasion.

"We have definitive evidence that Donald Trump committed a crime and a crime involving the corruption of American democracy", Davis said of payments made to women who alleged affairs with Trump.

The president's legal difficulties could also have political implications. "Unlike Michael Cohen, he refused to 'break"'.

Swiss drugmaker Novartis AG has said it had paid Cohen almost $1.2 million in a consulting deal; USA telecommunications company AT&T Inc. said it made payments of $600,000; and South Korea's Korea Aerospace Industries Ltd. said it hired him for $150,000.

"I feel very badly for Paul Manafort and his wonderful family", the president said. You know, they're still looking for collusion!

NBC News first reported Tuesday that Cohen was engaged in negotiations over a possible plea deal.

Trump has repeatedly denied any collusion and has called the Mueller investigation a "witch hunt".

Giuliani told Robert Costa of the Washington Post that what this really all means is that Special Counsel Robert Mueller has nothing else and that the Russian Federation probe will soon come to an end.

Trump didn't mention Cohen at the West Virginia rally Tuesday night in Charleston for Republican Senate candidate Patrick Morrisey, but again denounced the Russian Federation inquiry and coverage by news media.