Michael Cohen, speaking in an interview with ABC News' George Stephanopoulos following his sentencing, insists that President Trump knew about the hush money he gave to Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal, and that Trump asked Cohen to make the payments to help his 2016 presidential campaign.

The big picture: Trump, who originally denied knowledge of the payments before changing his tune, claims he never directed Cohen to make the payments and never asked him to break the law. But Cohen told Stephanopoulos that "nothing at the Trump organization was ever done unless it was run through Mr. Trump," and that the payments were arranged because Trump was "very concerned about how [the allegations] would affect the election."

Why it matters: If Cohen is right, then Trump also violated campaign finance law.

  • Cohen told Stephanopoulos that despite lying on behalf of Trump for years, he should be believed now because special counsel Robert Mueller's team has "a substantial amount of information ... that corroborates the fact that I am telling the truth."
  • When asked if he believes Trump is telling the truth about things related to the Russia investigation, Cohen responded: "No."
  • Cohen also said he doesn't recognize Trump now that he's president:
"He's a very different individual. I think the pressure of the job is much more than what he thought it was going to be. It's not like the Trump organization ... There's a system here; he doesn't understand the system and it's sad because the country has never been more divisive."
— Cohen on President Trump, to ABC

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Updated 38 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

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In pictures: Storm Zeta churns inland after lashing Louisiana

Debris on the streets as then-Hurricane Zeta passes over in Arabi, Louisiana, on Oct. 28. It's the third hurricane to hit Louisiana in about two months, after Laura and Delta. Photo: Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images

Tropical Storm Zeta has killed at least two people, triggered flooding, downed powerlines and caused widespread outages since making landfall in Louisiana as a Category 2 hurricane on Wednesday.

The big picture: A record 11 named storms have made landfall in the U.S. this year. Zeta is the fifth named storm to do so in Louisiana in 2020, the most ever recorded. It weakened t0 a tropical storm early Thursday, as it continued to lash parts of Alabama and the Florida Panhandle with heavy rains and strong winds.

3 hours ago - World

Taiwan reaches a record 200 days with no local coronavirus cases

Catholics go through containment protocols including body-temperature measurement and hands-sanitisation before entering the Saint Christopher Parish Church, Taipei City, Taiwan, in July. Photo: Ceng Shou Yi/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Taiwan on Thursday marked no locally transmitted coronavirus cases for 200 days, as the island of 23 million people's total number of infections reported stands at 550 and the COVID-19 death toll at seven.

Why it matters: Nowhere else has reached such a milestone. While COVID-19 cases surge across the U.S. and Europe, Taiwan's last locally transmitted case was on April 12. Experts credit tightly regulated travel, early border closure, "rigorous contact tracing, technology-enforced quarantine and universal mask wearing," along with the island state's previous experience with the SARS virus for the achievement, per Bloomberg.

Go deeper: As Taiwan's profile rises, so does risk of conflict with China