Ex-Trump lawyer Michael Cohen jailed for three years

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President Donald Trump offered a simple defense Thursday to accusations he broke campaign finance law by directing attorney Michael Cohen to orchestrate hush-money payments to hide Trump's alleged affairs: He was following awful advice from a bad lawyer.

The advice-of-counsel defense is "for a client who says, 'I want to make sure I'm in compliance with the law here, '" Rodgers said. He tweets: "If anyone is looking for a good lawyer, I would strongly suggest that you don't retain the services of Michael Cohen!".

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

President Trump said in an interview with Fox News Thursday that he "never directed (Cohen) to do anything wrong". "He was a lawyer and he is supposed to know the law", Trump tweeted.

Trump questioned the charges against Cohen, arguing that prosecutors were just trying to get to him.

In his first public reaction since the sentencing, Trump said he was the victim of the attorney's malpractice.

"I'm done with the lying, I'm done with being loyal to president Trump".

"He knows the truth, I know the truth", Michael Cohen told ABC's George Stephanopoulos this morning, "many people know the truth". In fact, I now know that there is little to be admired.

Perhaps the biggest bombshell was his answer to George Stephanopoulos asking, "The special counsel did say that you are doing your best to tell the truth about everything related to the investigation, everything related to Russian Federation. He directed me to become involved in these matters", Cohen told ABC News.

What else did Cohen say? These are the people whom Mueller - and the American people - will need to call on to reveal the truth about our President.

"The man doesn't tell the truth".

"I have been living in a personal and mental incarceration ever since the day that I accepted the offer to work for a real estate mogul whose business acumen I deeply admired", Cohen said. He says Trump was well aware of his actions to arrange payoffs to adult film star Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal, both of whom said they had affairs with Trump and were paid to keep quiet.

On another front, a NY state judge last month rejected Trump's request to dismiss a lawsuit in which New York's attorney general accused him of misusing his namesake foundation to advance his 2016 campaign and his businesses.

Neal Katyal, former Acting Solicitor General makes an important distinction between settled law, the DoJ guidance and the torrent of Trump dirt that's spewing from the sentencing memos and where all these paths meet.

The Justice Department, in opinions issued by its Office of Legal Counsel, has said a sitting president can not be indicted because a criminal case would interfere with the duties of the commander in chief.

Cohen also insisted that the president has been lying when it comes to associations with Russian Federation, and he suggested that his former boss is afraid of Cohen's testimony - that, he said, explains why the president keeps attacking him on Twitter.

The payment to McDougal was funnelled through American Media Inc, publisher of the National Enquirer, and prosecutors announced following Cohen's sentencing that AMI had been granted immunity from prosecution in exchange for its cooperation.

As part of the sentence, the judge ordered Cohen to forfeit$500,000 and pay restitution of almost $1.4 million. Months later, the Federal Bureau of Investigation seized secret recordings made by Cohen where the two purportedly discussed the payment regarding McDougal, who had sold the story of her affair to American tabloid The National Enquirer.

Trump has derided Cohen for co-operating with prosecutors and turning state's evidence, which is a staple of the criminal justice system.

Cohen, who pleaded guilty to all the charges against him, told the court that he had felt it was his "duty to cover up".

Asked why he made the payments, Cohen said it was out of his "blind loyalty" to Trump and to "help [Trump] and his campaign".

In the interview, though, Cohen denied that.