Trump says ex-lawyer’s hush payments ‘not even a campaign violation’
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Trump says ex-lawyer’s hush payments ‘not even a campaign violation’

US president tells ‘Fox and Friends’ funds ‘didn’t come out of the campaign, they came from me and I tweeted about it’

US President Donald Trump arrives for a political rally at Charleston Civic Center in Charleston, West Virginia, on August 21, 2018. (AFP/Mandel Ngan)
US President Donald Trump arrives for a political rally at Charleston Civic Center in Charleston, West Virginia, on August 21, 2018. (AFP/Mandel Ngan)

WASHINGTON — US President Donald Trump claimed on Wednesday that hush payments made by his former lawyer before the 2016 election did not breach campaign finance rules.

Trump’s once-close associate Michael Cohen pleaded guilty in federal court Tuesday to six counts of fraud, and two counts of violating campaign finance laws — by making payments to silence women who alleged affairs with Trump.

But in an interview with news show “Fox and Friends” about the payments, Trump insisted: “It’s not even a campaign violation.”

“They didn’t come out of the campaign, they came from me and I tweeted about it,” Trump said.

In a serious blow to the president, Cohen detailed in court how he made the payments — believed to be porn star Stormy Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougal — and claimed he was acting at his boss’s request.

Michael Cohen, former lawyer to US President Donald Trump, exits the Federal Courthouse on August 21, 2018 in New York City. (Yana Paskova/Getty Images/AFP)

Trump has repeatedly denied having any knowledge of the payments at the time, while accepting they were made using his funds — to which Cohen had access.

“Later on I knew,” Trump reiterated in the interview.

Trump went on to highlight a campaign reporting violation settled by his predecessor for $375,000 after the 2008 election.

“If you look at President Obama, he had a massive campaign violation but he had a different attorney general and they viewed it a lot differently,” Trump said.

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