President Donald Trump said during an interview Thursday that he "never directed" his former attorney Michael Cohen "to do anything wrong."
"I never directed him to do anything wrong. Whatever he did he did on his own," Trump told Fox News' Harris Faulkner. "He's a lawyer. A lawyer who represents a client is supposed to do the right thing. That's why you pay them a lot of money, etc., etc. He is a lawyer. He represents a client. I never directed him to do anything incorrect or wrong, and he understands that."
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Trump said Cohen made a deal with prosecutors to embarrass him and receive a shorter sentence.
"He did some bad things unrelated to me, may be related to his other clients. I wasn't his only client; he had other clients. He did some bad things: income tax evasion, I heard about taxicab medallions – I heard about a lot of things. I'm not reading about any of that stuff because what he did is he made a deal to embarrass me. In order to embarrass me, they cut his term down. Pretty terrible stuff," Trump said.
Cohen was sentenced Wednesday to three years in prison for financial crimes and lying to Congress. Cohen's crimes included "tax violations, lying to a bank and, during the 2016 campaign, buying the silence of women who claimed that they once had affairs with the future president," The Washington Post reported.
Cohen told investigators Trump directed him to commit campaign finance violations, although the president told Reuters on Tuesday that payments intended to buy silence from women did not violate campaign finance laws.
Trump also talked about American Media Inc.'s non-prosecution agreement with federal prosecutors in New York.
"I don't think – I have to go check – I don't think they even paid any money to that tabloid. Okay? I don't think we made a payment to that tabloid," Trump said.
Prior to the 2016 election, AMI paid $150,000 to one of the women alleging an affair with Trump, claiming it made the payment "in concert" with Trump's campaign to "suppress the women’s story so as to prevent it from influencing the election."