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Trump falsely says Michael Cohen's actions 'weren't crimes'

President Donald Trump maintained the felony counts Michael Cohen admitted to were not actual crimes in an i...

Posted: Aug 23, 2018 3:18 PM
Updated: Aug 23, 2018 3:19 PM

President Donald Trump maintained the felony counts Michael Cohen admitted to were not actual crimes in an interview aired Thursday.

"What Michael Cohen pled to weren't crimes," Trump told Fox News.

Crime, law enforcement and corrections

Criminal offenses

Donald Trump

Michael Cohen

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Political Figures - US

Campaign finance

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Government and public administration

Politics

Barack Obama

Federal Election Commission

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Cohen, Trump's longtime personal attorney, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to two felony campaign finance violations -- making an excessive campaign contribution and causing an unlawful corporate contribution. Those are crimes. And he confessed to them under oath, saying he willfully violated those laws at Trump's direction.

"He made a great deal. He was in another business totally unrelated to me where I guess there was fraud involved," Trump said, suggesting Cohen accepted a plea deal on the campaign finance violations because the other crimes he admitted to were more serious.

"A lot of lawyers on television and lawyers I have say they aren't crimes," Trump said on the campaign finance violations. "He makes a better deal when he uses me."

Violations of campaign finance laws can be handled as a civil matter with the Federal Election Commission or as a criminal matter by the Justice Department. The violations become a criminal matter when those laws are broken in a "knowing and willful" manner, said Larry Noble, the former general counsel of the FEC who is now senior director at the Campaign Legal Center.

The President also argued that President Barack Obama's 2008 campaign too had campaign finance violations.

"If you look at President Obama, he had a massive campaign violation, but he had a different attorney general and they viewed it a lot differently," Trump said. "So Obama had it, other people have it. Almost everybody that runs for office has campaign violations."

Obama's campaign was fined $375,000 by the FEC -- one of the largest fines levied against a presidential campaign -- for missing reporting deadlines on $1.8 million in contributions. The violation did not rise to the level of a criminal violation because there was no indication the misreporting was willful and the fine was assessed as part of a conciliation agreement with the FEC.

"There's no comparison," Noble told CNN. "There's no presidential campaign that I'm aware of that hasn't had campaign finance violations. A lot of money flows through them and they almost all have some violations."

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 454989

Reported Deaths: 6163
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin943781502
Ramsey40624748
Dakota33540354
Anoka31357368
Washington20533237
Stearns18091190
St. Louis13970250
Scott1217799
Wright11791107
Olmsted1078075
Sherburne829669
Carver704439
Clay658884
Rice624274
Kandiyohi558072
Blue Earth548033
Crow Wing490478
Otter Tail464268
Chisago459538
Benton423688
Winona394548
Douglas379366
Nobles374647
Mower373729
Goodhue356863
Polk330760
McLeod328147
Beltrami315748
Morrison314545
Lyon305539
Becker288939
Itasca287343
Isanti285643
Carlton284043
Steele278910
Pine270315
Freeborn254123
Todd233730
Nicollet229438
Brown218034
Mille Lacs215645
Le Sueur214216
Cass210724
Meeker201333
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Martin171926
Roseau166417
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Houston140014
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Chippewa133032
Cottonwood129018
Fillmore12698
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Rock112012
Aitkin111433
Sibley10997
Faribault109416
Watonwan10688
Pennington101016
Kanabec99618
Pipestone96823
Yellow Medicine94916
Murray9117
Jackson87310
Swift84518
Pope7475
Stevens7078
Marshall70315
Clearwater68814
Lake66315
Lac qui Parle66116
Wilkin6339
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Lincoln4912
Unassigned47369
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Grant4388
Norman4258
Mahnomen4167
Kittson37420
Red Lake3204
Traverse2613
Lake of the Woods1961
Cook1160

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Reported Deaths: 4433
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk46841465
Linn18065279
Scott15872172
Black Hawk14090243
Woodbury13129181
Johnson1230052
Dubuque11625159
Pottawattamie9166115
Dallas908972
Story881038
Cerro Gordo473572
Webster472477
Sioux459757
Warren459339
Clinton458168
Marshall431162
Buena Vista396330
Muscatine396178
Des Moines395143
Plymouth353270
Wapello350798
Jasper332859
Lee324632
Marion309353
Jones274950
Henry267131
Carroll258434
Bremer250148
Crawford234724
Boone222917
Washington222933
Benton213650
Mahaska197937
Jackson195032
Tama190259
Dickinson188829
Kossuth180644
Delaware176236
Clay172521
Wright167124
Fayette166024
Hamilton162330
Buchanan162224
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Hardin157931
Cedar155619
Clayton153849
Butler151724
Page147115
Floyd141636
Cherokee140127
Mills138517
Lyon137533
Poweshiek135224
Hancock131924
Allamakee130930
Iowa127722
Madison123910
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Jefferson122125
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Monona68518
Lucas66710
Osceola64711
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Ringgold45111
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