During Wednesday’s press briefing, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders insisted that President Trump “did nothing wrong” in the wake of his former attorney Michael Cohen’s guilty plea to campaign finance violations. This claim comes only a day after Cohen pled guilty to sending hush money payments to both Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal in order to conceal the alleged affairs they had with Trump from public knowledge prior the 2016 presidential election.
According to CNN, Sanders said, “As the president has said and we’ve stated many times, he did nothing wrong. There are no charges against him and we’ve commented on it extensively.”
“Just because Michael Cohen made a plea deal,” she added, “doesn’t implicate the president on anything.”
Sanders refused to answer any further questions about the extent of President Trump’s knowledge of the situation. When asked if Trump lied about not knowing about the hush money payments, however, Sanders interjected, “I think that’s a ridiculous accusation. The president, in this matter, has done nothing wrong and there have been no charges filed against him.”
Sanders also fielded and shut down any questions about the president’s Wednesday morning tweets about Cohen, in which he warned his followers never to seek Cohen’s legal advice by saying that the tweets were self-explanatory.
Proceeding to address the speculation that Trump might consider pardoning former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, who was recently convicted for tax fraud and bank fraud, Sarah claimed that she was unaware of the president’s intent, adding that “the Manafort case doesn’t have anything to do with the president, it doesn’t have anything to do with his campaign, doesn’t have anything to do with the White House.”
Throughout the remainder of the press briefing, Sanders continually insisted upon the president’s innocence, despite being questioned about Trump’s recent interview on Fox News in which he openly admitted to knowing about the hush money payment well in advance of his previous denial in April. During the interview, which is scheduled to air Thursday morning, Trump revealed that the funds for the hush money payments “weren’t taken out of campaign finance, that’s the big thing. That’s a much bigger thing. Did they come out of the campaign? They didn’t come out of the campaign; they came from me.”
A couple things:
1) Trump emphasizes that the money didn't come out of the campaign, as though that would exonerate him. It doesn't. In fact, it's a central part of the violation.
2) He says he knew about the payment. Yet, in April, he said he had no knowledge of the payment. pic.twitter.com/Qmv40lJ5li
— Robert Maguire (@RobertMaguire_) August 22, 2018
“We’ve addressed this a number of times,” Sanders continued. “The president did nothing wrong, there are no charges against him, there is no collusion.”