'I am done being loyal to President Trump'

by Dwayne Torres December 15, 2018, 1:18
'I am done being loyal to President Trump'

The sentence was in line with what federal prosecutors asked for.

Court papers submitted in advance of Cohen's sentencing outline some of the information he provided to Mueller's office.

Trump has said there was no collusion with the Kremlin, which denies USA intelligence agencies' findings that it interfered in the election that saw Trump defeat Democrat Hillary Clinton. Cohen said he chose not to enter into a full cooperation agreement because "the sooner I am sentenced, the sooner I can return to my family".

Loyalty has always been a core value for Trump, who has been stung by the behaviour of Cohen and other former associates who have dissociated themselves from the president, intent on saving themselves. I blame myself for the conduct which has brought me here today, and it was my own weakness, and a blind loyalty to this man that led me to choose a path of darkness over light. "I felt it was my duty to cover up his dirty deeds".

Cohen's lawyers had argued for leniency, saying he made a decision to cooperate with investigators rather than hold out for a possible pardon.

The three-year sentence was slightly lower than the four to five years recommended under federal guidelines.

Cohen, 52, pleaded guilty in August to evading $1.4 million in taxes related to his personal businesses.

Donald Trump's former lawyer has again said the president directed him to arrange hush money payments to two women - and said the president knew it was wrong.

Stormy Daniels speaks during a ceremony in West Hollywood, California, May 23, 2018.

Last month, Cohen also pleaded guilty to lying to Congress about Trump's business dealings in Russian Federation. The payments, however, were not reported as campaign donations.

Trump again attacked the "witch hunt" Russian Federation probe overnight, tweeting: "They want to scare everybody into making up stories that are not true by catching them in the smallest of misstatements".

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Trump commented on the case after Cohen was sentenced to three years in prison on Wednesday.

The admissions by Cohen and AMI conflict with Trump's own evolving explanations.

Returning to Washington on Air Force One on April 6, Trump for the first time answered questions about the reports of the Daniels payment, issuing a blanket denial to reporters while saying they would "have to ask Michael Cohen". Whereas Mueller's team credited Cohen with his eventual assistance - while pointing out that he was not initially forthcoming - NY prosecutors recommended that Cohen serve prison time owing in part to his "affirmative decision" not to cooperate fully with the Southern District.

"It's a very risky strategy", said Jennifer Rodgers, a former federal prosecutor in Manhattan.

He called for a sentence that sends a message that "even powerful, privileged individuals can not violate these laws with impunity".

The president is not disputing that he directed Cohen to make the payments, but he's insisting that he didn't know it was illegal, so therefore it wasn't illegal (???).

Prosecutors announced Wednesday that AMI acknowledged making one of those payments "in concert" with the Trump campaign to protect him from a story that could have hurt his candidacy.

In July, Cohen's lawyer, Lanny Davis, released a secret audio recording in which Trump was seemingly heard admitting to knowledge of a hush-money payment made to former Playboy model Karen McDougal, who claimed to have had an affair with him.

Cohen told ABC that's wrong.

Cohen said the McDougal agreement was between Trump and David Pecker, the CEO of American Media Inc., publisher of the National Enquirer and a longtime friend of the president.

Daniels was paid $US130,000 to silence her about an alleged decade-old dalliance with Trump. Federal law prohibits foreign contributions to federal campaigns, political action committees and inaugural funds.

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