Blow to Trump as Cohen admits illegal campaign contributions

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In what was a double blow to the White House administration, Paul Manafort, the long -time political operative who for months led Donald Trump's winning USA presidential campaign, was yesterday separately found guilty of eight financial crimes in the first trial victory of the special counsel investigation into the president's associates.

Cohen's lawyer has said his client has knowledge of whether Mr Trump knew about the computer hacking which undermined his Democratic presidential opponent, Hillary Clinton.

Cohen's lawyer, Lanny Davis, told NPR's Rachel Martin that his client believes Trump is "both corrupt and a risky person in the Oval Office" and that Cohen would not accept a pardon from Trump.

Appearing in a federal court in Manhattan on Tuesday, August 21, Cohen pleaded guilty to five counts of tax fraud, one bank fraud and two counts in regard to violation of campaign finance laws.

As he waited to go on air, Davis also said that Cohen has information about improprieties in the Trump charitable foundation that would be of interest to the New York Attorney General, who is investigating the foundation.

Paul Manafort, Trump's former campaign chairman, was convicted Tuesday of tax and financial fraud.

Cohen, who was one of Trump's closest associates for more than a decade, said in court that he arranged to make payments "for (the) principal objective of influencing (the) election" at the direction of a candidate for federal office.

Lanny Davis, a lawyer for Cohen, declined to comment.

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Trump was more complimentary of Cohen before his long-time attorney began talking to prosecutors. "It is clear that, as the prosecutor noted, Mr. Cohen's actions reflect a pattern of lies and dishonesty over a significant period of time", Giuliani said in a statement. Regardless, this is still bad news for Trump, as we will soon be able to say "the president's former fixer, who pleaded guilty to crime (s)", which will logically beg a follow-up question: is Trump implicated in any of his fixer's admitted (or unadmitted) crime (s)?

Trump had claimed that he "didn't know anything" about the meeting before it was first reported.

Mr Trump said the Manafort case had nothing to do with the alleged 2016 collusion that Mr Mueller is probing and dismissed Michael Cohen's admissions.

The US president spent much of Tuesday cooped up at the White House, as rainstorms raged outside and two high profile legal cases with profound implications for his presidency reached their coda. He added, "Such respect for a fearless man!"

In April, the Federal Bureau of Investigation raided Cohen's New York City home and office.

"I feel very badly for Paul Manafort and his wonderful family".

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

Manafort was charged with 18 counts of tax evasion, bank fraud and hiding foreign bank accounts in the first case Mueller brought to trial as part of the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 USA election.

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