Trump Argues He "Never Directed" Michael Cohen to Break Law

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President Donald Trump

The president's longtime fixer was sentenced on Wednesday to three years in prison for an array of crimes that included arranging the payment of hush money to two women that he says was done at the direction of Trump.

President Donald Trump is contending he "never directed" longtime lawyer Michael Cohen to break the law. Trump's tweet Thursday comes a day after Cohen was sentenced to prison for crimes including arranging hush money payments to conceal Trump's alleged affairs.

Cohen and federal prosecutors have said the payments were made at Trump's direction to influence the 2016 election.

The president on Thursday tweeted Cohen "was a lawyer and he is supposed to know the law. It is called 'advice of counsel,' and a lawyer has great liability if a mistake is made."

Trump asserted "this was not campaign finance."

The president added in a series of tweets: "Cohen was guilty on many charges unrelated to me, but he plead to two campaign charges which were not criminal and of which he probably was not guilty even on a civil basis. Those charges were just agreed to by him in order to embarrass the president and get a much reduced prison sentence, which he did-including the fact that his family was temporarily let off the hook. As a lawyer, Michael has great liability to me!"

Trump has gone from denying knowledge of the payments to saying they would have been private transactions that weren't illegal. Prosecutors have implicated Trump in a crime, but haven't directly accused him of one.