In a new interview with Fox News set to air on Thursday, Donald Trump acknowledges that hush money payments made to two women who say that they had extramarital sexual relations with Trump in 2006 “came from me.” The admission appears to contradict the guilty plea made on Tuesday by Trump’s former personal lawyer and “fixer” Michael Cohen, as Inquisitr reported, in which Cohen said that he made the payments, acting on orders from Trump.
Cohen also said that the six-figure payoffs to the two women — pornographic film actress Stormy Daniels and former Playboy centerfold model Karen McDougal — were made “for the principal purpose of influencing the election” by preventing either woman from speaking publicly about their affairs with Trump. Cohen pleaded guilty to two campaign finance felony charges in relation to the hush money payments.
In the Fox News interview, as seen in the clip below on the page, Trump claims that though Cohen pleaded guilty, what he did was in fact not a crime because the money did not come from campaign funds, instead coming from him personally, as The Guardian reported. Trump also acknowledged that he knew about the payments, but not until “later on.”
“Did they come out of the campaign? They didn’t come out of the campaign, they came from me,” Trump said in the interview, scheduled to air on Fox News at 6 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time on Thursday. “And I tweeted about it. You know, I put — I don’t know if you know but I tweeted about the payments. But they didn’t come out of campaign.”
Trump’s assertion that he did not know of the payments until “later on” would appear to be contradicted — at least in the McDougal case — by an audio tape released by Cohen on July 24, as Inquisitr reported, of a conversation between Trump and Cohen from 2016. On that recording, Trump is heard instructing Cohen to make the payment to McDougal “in cash.”
In the interview, Trump also refers to what he calls a “massive” campaign finance violation by the campaign of President Barack Obama, but says, “he had a different attorney general and they viewed it a lot differently.” Trump has repeatedly berated Jeff Sessions, the attorney general that he, himself, appointed, over Sessions’ recusal of himself in any matters relating to the possible collusion between the 2016 Trump campaign and Russia, as Politico has noted.
In 2008, the Obama campaign was cited by the Federal Elections Commission for missing a 48-hour reporting deadline on about 1,300 campaign contributions of at least $1,000 each, according to a report by Vox.com. While the Obama campaign was hit with a $375,000 fine, the deadline issue was a civil violation, while Cohen’s violation — in which Trump has now admitted his involvement — “was definitely a crime,” Vox reported.