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And Trump's former personal lawyer Michael Cohen and his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort were brought down not by evidence of Russian collusion, but by a series of tax, banking and campaign finance violations.

Cohen also said he worked with a "popular national tabloid" to identify negative stories about Trump's alleged extramarital affairs and quash them, according to court documents.

"Criminals can get away in the white-collar world with wrongdoing as long as they don't get too greedy", he added.

Prosecutors said that Cohen concealed various sources of income from the IRS and an accountant. And it was not clear the West Wing was assembling any kind of coordinated response. Emeritus Alan Dershowitz explained, "Violation of election laws are regarded as kind of jaywalking in the realm of things about elections and there are so many of them".

Cohen pleaded guilty Tuesday to illegal campaign-finance charges over hush money paid to a porn actress and a former Playboy model - all but naming Trump as having ordered him to do it. Cohen admitted he had arranged payments to two women, alleging he had done so at the behest of "the candidate", for the "principal goal of influencing (the) election".

The White House denied the president had lied, with Sanders calling the assertion "ridiculous". Donald Trump had long claimed that the meeting was about Russian adoptions but recently admitted that his campaign team met in the interest of getting dirt on Clinton.

As Trump vented his frustration, White House aides sought to project a sense of calm.

And in a Virginia courtroom Tuesday, onetime Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort has been convicted of financial crimes. Manafort faces separate charges in September in the District of Columbia that include acting as a foreign agent. Trump did not mention Manafort or Cohen during the rally, complaining only briefly about the "witch hunt", his favored term for Mueller's investigation into Russian interference.

"Paul Manafort's a good man", Trump told reporters.




"I know that Mr. Cohen would never accept a pardon from a man that he considers to be both corrupt and a risky person in the Oval Office, and he has flatly authorized me to say under no circumstances would he accept a pardon from Mr. Trump", Davis said.

While Cohen did not name Mr Trump in court on Tuesday, referring to him as "the candidate", Mr Davis on Wednesday accused the President of being directly involved.

"Here they're trying to elevate this into an impeachable offense or a felony against the president", Dershowitz said, adding that Cohen's plea deal is "not almost as deadly lethal" to Trump as "some have portrayed it as being".

And he sought to discredit Cohen - contrasting his actions with those of Manafort, whom he called "such a fearless man".

Shortly after Cohen's guilty pleas, Daniels and her lawyer Michael Avenatti said they were "vindicated".

Among Trump allies, the back-to-back blows were a harbinger of dark days to come for the president.

The two findings of guilt ratchet up the political pressure for Trump and fellow Republicans ahead of November's congressional elections in which Democrats are seeking to regain control of Congress. "And they didn't come out of the campaign, and that's big".

Republicans have been near-silent on Trump's legal travails, but many seemed anxious about the impact on the elections.

It's thought criminal charges are unlikely while he is president.


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