Cohen willing to cooperate, not interested in presidential pardon, lawyer says

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Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman, was found guilty Tuesday on eight of 18 counts in his federal trial over fraud charges, The New York Times reports.

Cohen's lawyer says his client has information relevant to the official investigation into Russian election interference and alleged collusion between Trump's team and Moscow. In the plea, he said he arranged payment during the 2016 presidential election of so-called "hush money" to two women who said they had affairs with Trump.

"Michael Cohen plead guilty to two counts of campaign finance violations that are not a crime", Trump said, adding "President Obama had a big campaign finance violation and it was easily settled!"

The 51-year-old Cohen said in federal court in NY on Tuesday that he made the payments in co-ordination with Trump, who wasn't named, to influence the election.

Federal investigators began looking into their dealings as part of special counsel Robert Mueller's probe into Russia's intervention in the 2016 election and whether Trump's campaign cooperated with those efforts.

Cohen's illegal campaign contributions involved secret hush payments he made on Trump's behalf during the 2016 campaign to two women who claimed to have had affairs with the Republican candidate.

Cohen's then-lawyer called the use of search warrants "completely inappropriate".

Despite Cohen's admission directly implicating the president in a federal crime, justice department guidelines prevent the president from being indicted.

On Wednesday, the White House said Mr Trump was "not concerned at all" by Cohen co-operating with FBI investigators.

Fox News released excerpts of an interview conducted with Mr Trump on Wednesday in which the President said he knew of the payments "later on" but did not elaborate.

Collins previously said she would not support a Supreme Court nominee who expressed
Collins previously said she would not support a Supreme Court nominee who expressed"hostility towards Roe v. Wade. Reuters

Cohen was to appear in a Manhattan courthouse at 4 pm (2000 GMT), where United States media reported he would admit breaking a slew of campaign, banking, fraud and tax laws.

The search sought bank records, communications with Mr Trump's campaign and information on a $130,000 (€112,000) payment to Ms Daniels and a $150,000 (€130,000) one to Ms McDougal.

The president's legal difficulties could also have political implications.

"'Justice" took a 12-year-old tax case, among other things, applied tremendous pressure on him and, unlike Michael Cohen, he refused to "break" - make up stories in order to get a "deal.' Such respect for a courageous man!"

They did not know the details of the agreement.

Trump did not mention Cohen at a rally in West Virginia hours later.

Michael Cohen and Paul Manafort.

Trump hasn't said much yet, but he did underscore to reporters Tuesday that "this has nothing to do with Russian collusion" and that the special counsel "witch hunt" is a "disgrace". Facing up to five years in prison, the admissions were a dramatic change from Cohen's earlier boasts that he was Trump's "fixer" and would "take a bullet" for the president.

Speaking last night after the convictions Mr Trump said: "Paul Manafort is a good man".

Judge in Manafort Trial Received Threats, Travels With Marshals
Ellis III sealed the names when the trial began, but media outlets have filed a motion seeking to disclose the information. The jury sent a note on Thursday afternoon asking Ellis four questions including one about defining "reasonable doubt ".

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