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Trump tries to spin Cohen, Manafort filings

After a week of legal filings related to the Russia investigation, President Donald Trump tries to spin the story.

Posted: Dec 10, 2018 7:58 PM
Updated: Dec 10, 2018 8:12 PM

President Donald Trump on Friday was implicated by prosecutors in two crimes committed by his former attorney Michael Cohen.

But Republicans are mostly shrugging their shoulders.

Democrats are suggesting Trump committed an impeachable offense and could be sent to prison in the aftermath of Friday's filing from the US Attorney's office in Manhattan, in which federal prosecutors said for the first time that Trump directed Cohen when Cohen committed crimes by paying women for their silence about alleged affairs. Republicans on Monday, however, downplayed the possible danger for Trump when asked about the new allegations, questioning whether Cohen's story was credible and saying they wanted to reserve judgment until all of the facts come out from special counsel Robert Mueller.

Sen. Orrin Hatch, the retiring Utah Republican and most-senior GOP senator, strongly dismissed the federal government's allegations that Trump committed two crimes by directing Cohen to make the hush money payments.

Asked if he had any concerns that Trump was implicated, Hatch told CNN: "The Democrats will do anything to hurt this President." Informed it was alleged by federal prosecutors in New York, Hatch said: "OK, but I don't care, all I can say is he's doing a good job as President."

Other senators questioned whether the allegations from Cohen that Trump was involved were credible, given the source was a known liar. Trump on Saturday denied that he directed Cohen to make the payments.

"As long as Cohen's a liar, I shouldn't give much credibility to what he says," said outgoing Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley, who will run the Finance Committee next year.

Cohen first made the allegation in court in September that he was directed by Trump to make the payments to the two women. But prosecutors endorsed the allegation in a sentencing document for Cohen on Friday, in which they said Cohen should receive a "substantial sentence" for the crimes he committed, which included campaign finance violations for the payments to the two women, tax fraud and lying to Congress.

Grassley said that the federal prosecutors got their "information from a liar."

Sen. John Kennedy, a Louisiana Republican, questioned both that prosecutors would rely on Cohen's information and also that the allegations had strayed from the original Russia collusion investigation from the special counsel.

"Jesus loves him, but everybody else thinks he's an idiot," Kennedy told reporters. "He's obviously a sleaze-oid grifter. And if I were a prosecutor, I wouldn't base a prosecution on evidence given to me by Mr. Cohen."

"Look I'm not minimizing it, this campaign finance act is important," Kennedy added. "But No. 1, it's a long way from collusion with a foreign agent to influence the election in 2016, which is what I thought this was about. No. 2, Campaign Finance Act violations are, generally, civil matters." He noted sometimes they are also criminal cases, such as the unsuccessful prosecution of former Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards.

South Dakota Sen. John Thune, who will be the No. 2 Senate Republican next year, said it was "premature" to judge how the Cohen developments would impact the broader investigation and Trump.

"I mean, until we know all the details -- it's a sentencing filing," Thune said. "I'm sure there's going to be a lot more come out from the Southern District (of New York) and, at some point, from the Mueller investigation as well. So, it's hard to read too much into it."

Sen. Susan Collins, a Maine Republican who is on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said she needed to wait to see all of Mueller's findings before determining whether the President may have broken the law.

"We have to get all the facts and I'm going to wait until Mr. Mueller concludes his investigation. I've not reviewed the filings that you've referred to," she said of the Cohen sentencing filing.

"I don't know that it changes things much," said Sen. Roy Blunt, who will be the No. 4 Senate Republican next year. "I think you would have to have more than this happen before anything changes much."

Hatch suggested the allegations from Cohen were being blown out of proportion in order to attack Trump.

"I don't think he was involved in crimes but even then, you know, you can make anything a crime under the current laws if you want to, you can blow it way out of proportion, you can do a lot of things," Hatch said. "All I can say is this: President Trump, before he became President, that's another world."

This story has been updated.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 751526

Reported Deaths: 13799
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1033281788
Lake557151010
Allen41710692
St. Joseph36998565
Hamilton36604417
Elkhart29413461
Tippecanoe22914227
Vanderburgh22559400
Porter19359326
Johnson18477389
Hendricks17689317
Clark13228195
Madison13158344
Vigo12625253
LaPorte12420221
Monroe12211176
Delaware10968198
Howard10337225
Kosciusko9630121
Hancock8577147
Bartholomew8172157
Warrick7860156
Floyd7812180
Grant7242179
Wayne7162201
Boone6972103
Morgan6765141
Dubois6221118
Marshall6211116
Cass6017110
Henry5902110
Dearborn589878
Noble581688
Jackson509176
Shelby501796
Lawrence4745122
Gibson445094
Clinton442755
Harrison441775
DeKalb439885
Montgomery438490
Whitley406643
Huntington403181
Steuben400259
Miami395269
Jasper388654
Knox376391
Putnam373260
Wabash362383
Ripley347270
Adams345555
Jefferson336186
White332253
Daviess3033100
Wells295381
Decatur289892
Greene286885
Fayette284864
Posey273835
LaGrange273172
Scott270156
Clay267148
Washington246136
Randolph244783
Jennings235349
Spencer234631
Starke228058
Fountain221048
Sullivan214643
Owen212158
Fulton203042
Jay200932
Carroll193720
Orange188255
Perry187237
Rush175926
Vermillion174844
Franklin170335
Tipton166446
Parke149616
Pike138134
Blackford136232
Pulaski120747
Newton114336
Brown104243
Crawford102516
Benton101914
Martin91715
Warren84015
Switzerland8148
Union72810
Ohio57911
Unassigned0420

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1109025

Reported Deaths: 20166
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1287651467
Cuyahoga1158292211
Hamilton814131250
Montgomery525601043
Summit484401001
Lucas43364820
Butler39021606
Stark33339929
Lorain25679505
Warren24600303
Mahoning22378603
Lake21213388
Clermont20125253
Delaware18860136
Licking16664222
Fairfield16577204
Trumbull16555482
Medina15613271
Greene15284248
Clark14237306
Wood13293200
Portage13251215
Allen11914239
Richland11608211
Miami10850225
Wayne9147223
Columbiana9036230
Muskingum8907135
Pickaway8664122
Tuscarawas8651250
Marion8646138
Erie8057165
Ashtabula7162179
Hancock6999132
Ross6946161
Geauga6841151
Scioto6536106
Belmont6159174
Union584649
Lawrence5734102
Jefferson5680158
Huron5547122
Sandusky5443126
Darke5420129
Seneca5349128
Washington5320109
Athens524360
Auglaize502287
Mercer487385
Shelby476895
Knox4572112
Madison444466
Ashland435797
Putnam4336103
Defiance432399
Fulton432174
Crawford4040110
Brown402461
Logan387677
Preble3856105
Clinton379166
Ottawa373681
Highland359865
Williams348278
Champaign344859
Guernsey325153
Jackson318254
Perry297350
Morrow291840
Fayette285550
Hardin275465
Henry273467
Holmes2703101
Coshocton269060
Van Wert247264
Adams243156
Pike242835
Gallia240850
Wyandot234756
Hocking220563
Carroll197348
Paulding176542
Meigs148540
Monroe136344
Noble136239
Harrison114138
Morgan109624
Vinton85717
Unassigned03
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