no takebacks
April 24, 2019

Michael Cohen is soon headed for prison on charges he's now calling "a lie."

Despite spending more than 100 hours cooperating with investigators, President Trump's former fixer still ended up with a prison sentence, and he's pretty darn upset about it. That sentiment — as well as some more frustrations with Trump and a recanting of one of his guilty pleas — was revealed in a recorded conversation with Cohen that actor Tom Arnold gave to The Wall Street Journal.

Cohen pleaded guilty to campaign finance violations and tax and bank fraud last August, and was sentenced to three years in prison in December. But in a conversation with Arnold, which the actor says he recorded with Cohen's knowledge, Cohen said there "is no tax evasion" and that "it's a lie." He went on to decry how prosecutors still served him a prison sentence, saying he hoped they'd realize "this guy's lost everything" including "my family's happiness and my law license ... [all] because Trump, you know, had an affair with a porn star." Trump has denied the alleged affair with Stormy Daniels.

Arnold is an outspoken Trump opposer, and told the Journal he first met Cohen last summer before calling him again for this conversation on March 25. Cohen's lawyer Lanny Davis said that Cohen "meant no offense by his statements" and that he would still "report to prison to serve his sentence," which starts May 6. Read more of Cohen's recorded comments at The Wall Street Journal. Kathryn Krawczyk

May 4, 2018

President Trump's newest attorney, Rudy Giuliani, issued a clarification Friday afternoon after he contradicted the president during an appearance on Hannity on Wednesday. Giuliani had announced on TV that Trump reimbursed his personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, for a $130,000 hush money payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels. Trump had previously told reporters he did not know about the payment, and following Giuliani's remarks, the president said formally that "Mr. Cohen, an attorney, received a monthly retainer, not from the campaign and having nothing to do with the campaign, from which he entered into, through reimbursement, a private contract between two parties, known as a non-disclosure agreement, or NDA."

Giuliani reiterated a similar point Friday. "These are my views," he wrote. "First: There is no campaign violation. The payment [to Daniels] was made to resolve a personal and false allegation in order to protect the president's family." In his second point, Giuliani writes: "My references to timing were not describing my understanding of the president's knowledge, but instead, my understanding of these matters."

Giuliani also has a third point: that Trump's dismissal of former FBI Director James Comey "was clearly within his Article II power." Read the full statement below. Jeva Lange

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