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Michael Cohen Admits to Federal Court That Trump Directed Him to Violate Campaign Finance Laws

"Paul Manafort—found guilty. Michael Cohen—pleads guilty, implicates Donald Trump. Donald Trump has nominated a Supreme Court justice who believes he can't be indicted. Not a coincidence. Not a witch hunt."

Michael Cohen, former personal lawyer and confidante for President Donald Trump, exits the United States District Court Southern District of New York on May 30, 2018 in New York City. (Photo: Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump's former personal attorney Michael Cohen on Tuesday pleaded guilty to eight criminal counts on Tuesday and admitted to a federal court that he violated campaign finance law "at the direction" of then-candidate Trump "for the principal purpose of influencing the election."

"Cohen's guilty plea directly implicates President Trump," Common Cause president Karen Hobert Flynn said in a statement. "Michael Cohen has learned that no American is above the law, even when his client is the President of the United States. Cohen's actions on behalf of Donald Trump are reflective of a presidential administration, and campaign that preceded it, that has repeatedly conducted itself as if it is somehow about the law and ethical responsibilities."

Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) indicated the development should prompt the FBI to investigate the matter further:

Cohen's two campaign finance violations relate to the hush-payments he made to adult film actress Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal to prevent them from going public with their claims that they had affairs with Trump.

As the New York Times reports, the plea deal "does not call for Mr. Cohen to cooperate with federal prosecutors in Manhattan, but it does not preclude him from providing information to the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, who is examining the Trump campaign's possible involvement in Russia’s interference in the 2016 campaign."

Responding to the Cohen guilty plea as well as the eight guilty verdicts for Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort, Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) wrote, "Paul Manafort—found guilty. Michael Cohen—pleads guilty, implicates Donald Trump. Donald Trump has nominated a Supreme Court justice who believes he can't be indicted. Not a coincidence. Not a witch hunt."

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