Home FOREIGN Trump: Hush payments came from me but were not a campaign violation

Trump: Hush payments came from me but were not a campaign violation

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Donald Trump

US President Donald Trump has strongly denied using election campaign finances to make payments to two women who say he had affairs with them.

It comes after his ex-lawyer, Michael Cohen, pleaded guilty to violating laws during the 2016 presidential election over his handling of the hush money.

In a TV interview with Fox & Friends, Mr. Trump said the payments came from him personally, not from the campaign.

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Earlier he accused Cohen of making up stories to receive a lighter sentence.

In an excerpt from the Fox & Friends interview, which will be aired in full on Thursday, Mr. Trump responded to questions about the hush payments by insisting that they were “not a campaign violation.”

“They came from me. And I tweeted about it. But they did not come out of the campaign,” he says, adding that he only found out about the payments “later on.”

His comments contradict a statement made earlier by Cohen under oath in which he said the president had instructed him to make the payments.

In July, Cohen released audio tapes of him and Mr. Trump allegedly discussing one of the payments before the election.

In his first public comments, back in April, about an alleged affair with porn star Stormy Daniels, Mr. Trump denied knowing about a $130,000 (£100,000) payment made to the actress via his lawyer, Cohen.

Ms. Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, alleges that she and Mr. Trump had sex in a hotel room in 2006.

Asked by a reporter in the press cabin of Air Force One if he had any knowledge about where Cohen got the money to pay Ms. Daniels, the president responded at the time: “I don’t know.”

The following month, Mr. Trump officially disclosed a payment to Cohen of between $100,001 and $250,000 for expenses incurred in 2016.

Undisclosed payments to bury embarrassing stories about a political candidate can be treated as a violation of US campaign finance laws.

Both prosecutors and Cohen agree that Cohen violated campaign finance laws by handling the payments.

Cohen, who was Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer for more than a decade, has admitted to passing on funds to two women – thought to be Ms. Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal.

On Tuesday, he pleaded guilty to eight criminal charges, including tax evasion, bank fraud and campaign finance violations.

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