WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump said on Wednesday he found out only after the fact about payments his then-lawyer Michael Cohen made to silence two women who said they had had affairs with Trump, adding that the money came from him and not his campaign.
“Later on I knew,” Trump told Fox News Channel when asked if he knew about the payments. “And they’re weren’t taken out of campaign finance ... They didn’t come out of the campaign; they came from me.”
Cohen, in pleading guilty to eight criminal charges of tax evasion, bank fraud and campaign finance violations, told a federal court on Tuesday that Trump directed him to arrange the payments to influence the 2016 presidential election - a claim at odds with Trump’s statement.
“My first question, when I heard about it, was, ‘Did they come out of the campaign,’ because that could be a little dicey,” Trump said in the interview with Fox, which is set to air in its entirety on Wednesday. “And they didn’t come out of the campaign, and that’s big.”
“It’s not even a campaign violation,” he said, repeating a claim he made earlier in the day on Twitter without evidence, even though both Cohen and prosecutors have agreed it was.
Reporting by Tim Ahmann; Editing by James Dalgleish