Donald Trump responded to the sentencing of Michael Cohen Thursday, saying his former personal attorney and “fixer” should have known better than to break the law.
In a trio of posts, Trump said he “never directed Michael Cohen to break the law,” and that as a lawyer, Cohen “is supposed to know the law...That is why they get paid.”
Trump said he was innocent of any campaign finance violations — despite both Cohen and AMI, the publisher of the National Enquirer, implicating the president in hush payments to former lovers.
“Cohen was guilty on many charges unrelated to me, but he plead to two campaign charges which were not criminal and of which he probably was not guilty,” Trump said.
Cohen pleaded guilty to facilitating the payments of $150,000 to former Playboy model Karen McDougal and $130,000 to adult film star Stormy Daniels.
Trump initially denied all knowledge of the payments, before dismissing them as a “simple private transaction.”
The government contends that the payments unfairly influenced the outcome of the election, and in a sentencing memo filed last week, the Department of Justice made it clear that Trump — or “individual #1” as he is known in the documents — personally directed the payments.
The president repeated the claim Thursday that Cohen only implicated him in order to win leniency from the judge.
“Those charges were just agreed to by him in order to embarrass the president and get a much reduced prison sentence, which he did-including the fact that his family was temporarily let off the hook. As a lawyer, Michael has great liability to me,” Trump said.
Cohen was slapped with a three-year jail sentence Wednesday by a judge in a Manhattan court for nine felonies, including a criminal scheme to help Trump win the 2016 election.
The president and his administration, however, are likely to be concerned about what else Cohen is willing to reveal about his time inside Trump’s inner circle.
Speaking through his attorneys after the sentencing, Cohen said he plans to tell the world everything he knows about Trump — but only after the Russia probe being conducted by Robert Mueller is finished.
Speaking about Trump in court on Wednesday, an emotional Cohen, said: “I have been living in a personal and mental incarceration ever since the day that I accepted the offer to work for a real estate mogul whose business acumen I deeply admired.”
“Today is one of the most meaningful days of my life,” Cohen continued. ”The irony is that today I get my freedom back.”
Cover image: Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump's former personal attorney and fixer, arrives at federal court for his sentencing hearing, December 12, 2018 in New York City. (Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images)