WH: Michael Cohen’s Plea Deal Doesn’t Implicate Trump

By Melanie Arter | August 22, 2018 | 8:15pm EDT
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders (Screenshot)

(CNSNews.com) - The White House reacted Wednesday to the plea deal that President Donald Trump’s former attorney Michael Cohen took for violating campaign finance laws, saying it doesn’t mean that the president was implicated.

When asked whether Trump committed a crime, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said, “As the president said, and we've stated many times, he did nothing wrong. There are no charges against him, and we've commented on this extensively.”

“Then why not report these payments?” ABC White House Correspondent Cecilia Vega asked.

“Again, I'm not going to get into the back-and-forth details. I can tell you, as the president has stated on numerous occasions, he did nothing wrong. There are no charges against him in this, and just because Michael Cohen made a plea deal doesn’t mean that that implicates the president on anything,” Sanders said.

“Can you stand here today and say the president has never lied to the American people? Because so many people now look back at that tape of him on Air Force One, saying he knew nothing about these payments, when, in fact, we now know he knew everything about these payments. So has he lied?” Vega asked.

“Look, again, I think that's a ridiculous accusation. The president, in this matter, has done nothing wrong, and there are no charges against him,” Sanders said.

“The president has said to Fox News, in an interview with Ainsley Earhardt this morning, that this could not have been an illegal campaign contribution because he paid the money. He put more than $60 million of his own money into the campaign. So how do you draw the line between -- I mean, maybe this didn’t flow through the campaign, but how do you draw the line between what was a campaign contribution and what might have been a payment to somebody for other purposes?” Fox News White House Correspondent John Roberts asked.

“Look, I'm not going to get into the back-and-forths of the legal part of this. I would refer you to the president's outside counsel on that. As I told Cecilia, what I can tell you is what the president has stated a number of times: He did nothing wrong. There are no charges against him. Just because Michael Cohen has made a deal doesn’t mean anything with regards to the president,” Sanders said.

Sanders was asked Wednesday whether the president plans to pardon former Trump campaign Chairman Paul Manafort, who was convicted this week of five counts of tax fraud, two counts of bank fraud and one count of failure to disclose a foreign bank account.

“The Manafort case doesn’t have anything to do with the president, doesn’t have anything to do with his campaign, and it doesn’t have anything to do with the White House,” the press secretary said.

When asked if pardoning Manafort is something that Trump has begun discussing, Sanders said, “I'm not aware of any conversations regarding that at all.”

“Other than, actually, when he was asked by a news outlet earlier this week, and he said that he hadn’t been thinking about that at all,” Sanders added.

 

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