In his first interview following Michael Cohen’s three-year prison sentence (along with $500,000 in restitution), the President told Fox Thursday that he never instructed Cohen to break the law, and that Cohen (and/or the prosecution) only agreed to guilty pleas on some charges to embarrass Trump.

He took to Twitter in the a.m. with this:

“I never directed Michael Cohen to break the law. He was a lawyer and he is supposed to know the law. It is called ‘advice of counsel,’ and a lawyer has great liability if a mistake is made. That is why they get paid. Despite that many campaign finance lawyers have strongly stated that I did nothing wrong with respect to campaign finance laws, if they even apply, because this was not campaign finance. Cohen was guilty on many charges unrelated to me, but he plead to two campaign charges which were not criminal and of which he probably was not guilty even on a civil basis. Those charges were just agreed to by him in order to embarrass the president and get a much reduced prison sentence, which he did-including the fact that his family was temporarily let off the hook. As a lawyer, Michael has great liability to me!”

Speaking to Harris Faulkner on Fox’s Outnumbered Overtime, he echoed the sentiment:

“I never directed him to do anything wrong. Whatever he did, he did on his own.”

Trump also protested the scrutiny over his 2016 campaign:

“Nobody — except for me — would be looked at like this. Nobody. What about Congress, where they have a slush fund, and million and millions of dollars is paid out each year? … They don’t talk about ‘campaign finance’ anything.”

Cohen was sentenced in New York on Wednesday, having pleaded guilty to, among other crimes, tax evasion and campaign-finance violations. His improprieties had to do with hush-money during the 2016 campaign, paid to two women claiming past affairs with Trump.

In the Fox interview, the President claimed Cohen made a plea deal with prosecutors to “embarrass me.” He also claimed that Cohen’s payments were “not a campaign finance violation”:

“Number 1…It’s not a campaign finance violation. Number 2: If it was, it’s not even a violation. Number 3: It’s a civil matter. … I’m the only one that this happens to.”

Trump also admitted that it was a mistake to have hired Cohen as his attorney more than a decade ago:

“I hire usually good people but it just happened.”

Another Trump associate, former national security advisor Michael Flynn, is currently looking down the barrel of an impending sentence.

Donald said the FBI “convinced” Flynn he lied, so he would plead guilty to making false statements concerning his connection with the Russian ambassador.

“Maybe they scared him enough that he’ll make up a story but I have a feeling that maybe he didn’t. He’s a tougher kind of a guy than Cohen.”

The President also commented on replacing John Kelly for White House Chief of Staff:

“I want somebody that’s strong but I want somebody that thinks like I do. It’s my vision. It is my vision. After all, at the same time, I’m open to ideas.”

Some people may look at Trump’s hiring and firing as the signs of a man out of control. But I see it as the opposite: He saw the state of the nation and its government, and he decided to do something about it. Since having taken office, he’s tried to right perceived wrongs. As part of that process, he’s tried and tested personnel, as he works his way to a Dream Team. In the meantime, the Man in Charge seems unworried about Cohen and Flynn, even if he may have reason to be.

Donald Trump is focused. That’s how he defied the odds in 2016. I believe he’ll continue to do so. No matter what Cohen or Flynn — or anyone on the Left — has to say.

Watch the great interview below.

-Alex

 

See 3 more pieces from me: Amal Clooney on the most important thing in the world, Lois Lane & the most important thing in the world, and CNN as the goofiest thing in the world.

Find all my RedState work here.

And please follow Alex Parker on Twitter and Facebook.

Thank you for reading! Please sound off in the Comments section below. For iPhone instructions, see the bottom of this page.

 

 

If you have an iPhone and want to comment, select the box with the upward arrow at the bottom of your screen; swipe left and choose “Request Desktop Site.” You may have to do this several times before the page reloads. Scroll down to the red horizontal bar that says “Show Comments.”