Cohen Plea Deal Exposes Repeated False Claims

For many months, President Donald Trump, his White House staff and his personal attorneys, Michael Cohen and Rudy Giuliani, repeatedly made false, misleading and contradictory statements about illegal payments that were made during the 2016 campaign to silence two women who claimed to have extramarital affairs with Trump.

The string of falsehoods and misrepresentations was exposed on Aug. 21, when Cohen admitted that he arranged — “at the direction of” Trump — payments totaling $280,000 to the women.

Cohen admitted to paying $130,000 in hush money to porn star Stormy Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, and to receiving $420,000 from the Trump Organization to reimburse him for the payment, plus expenses and a bonus.

In addition, Cohen admitted to “causing” another corporation — believed to be American Media Inc., owner of the National Enquirer — to pay $150,000 to Playboy model Karen McDougal. In exchange, AMI received the rights to her story of an extramarital affair with Trump with the express purpose of killing McDougal’s story and preventing it from influencing the election, according to the plea agreement.

Cohen pleaded guilty to two campaign finance law violations. Under federal law, individuals such as Cohen cannot make a contribution that exceeds $2,700 per election, and corporations, such as the Trump Organization and AMI, cannot make campaign contributions.

Below are two timelines that record the false, misleading and contradictory statements made by Trump, Cohen, Giuliani and others about the payments to Daniels and McDougal.

The timelines show, for example:

  • Trump denied knowing anything about the payment to Daniels, answering “no, no – what else?” when asked on April 5 if he knew about the $130,000 payment to Daniels.
  • Cohen lied when, on Feb. 13, he claimed he paid Daniels using his own funds and was not reimbursed. He falsely said, “Neither the Trump Organization nor the Trump campaign was a party to the transaction with Ms. Clifford,” Daniels’ real name.
  • Trump and Giuliani falsely claimed that Cohen was reimbursed by Trump, not the Trump Organizationthat 

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