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U.S. President Donald Trump's former lawyer, Michael Cohen, leaves the Daniel Patrick Moynihan United States Court House in lower Manhattan, New York City, U.S. August 21, 2018. Photo by Mike Segar/Reuters

Trump blames Michael Cohen for hush money ‘liability’

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump is defending the hush money payments made by his former lawyer to two women during his 2016 campaign as “a simple private transaction.” He tweeted Monday that if there was wrongdoing, it’s lawyer Michael Cohen’s “liability” and not his.

Federal prosecutors said in a court filing Friday that Cohen “acted with the intent to influence the 2016 presidential election” and at the direction of Trump when he brokered deals to stop women from going public about their alleged affairs with Trump.

Trump has argued that the payments — which he first denied knowledge of — weren’t campaign contributions because his own money and not campaign funds were used for the payments.

But federal law requires disclosure of payments made “for the purposes of influencing” an election.

MORE: Read Michael Cohen sentencing recommendations from Mueller and federal prosecutors

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