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President Trump's former personal attorney Michael Cohen. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

President Trump’s legal team claimed victory after a federal judge in Manhattan said Wednesday that an investigation into hush-money payments arranged by his former personal lawyer Michael Cohen — which Cohen claims Trump directed — had concluded.

Details: U.S. District Judge William Pauley made the remarks in a court order directing the release of documents by 11am Thursday relating to 2 women who said they had sexual encounters with Trump. The president denies their claims and Cohen's. Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow said in a statement he's "pleased" the probe into "these ridiculous campaign finance allegations" is closed," per Reuters.

We have maintained from the outset that the president never engaged in any campaign finance violation."
— Statement by Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow

The big picture: Cohen is serving a 3-year prison sentence after being convicted of charges involving campaign finance violations, tax evasion and lying to Congress. He entered into a plea deal with prosecutors in the Southern District of New York and also the Mueller investigation in the case.

What they're saying: Lanny J. Davis, an attorney for Cohen, issued a statement after the judge made the order concerning the investigation into payments to Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal.

"Case closed? Why is Michael Cohen — after all his voluntary cooperation and testimony that Mr. Mueller said was credible and went to 'core issues' and all the information and documents he voluntarily provided to prosecutors and to congress — the only member of the Trump company to be prosecuted and imprisoned? Especially since prosecutors found that virtually all of Michael’s admitted crimes were done at the direction of and for the benefit of Donald Trump? Why?"
— Lanny J. Davis, attorney for Michael Cohen

The big picture: Where the Trump investigations stand

Go deeper

Scoop: FDA chief called to West Wing

Stephen Hahn. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows has summoned FDA commissioner Stephen Hahn to the West Wing for a 9:30am meeting Tuesday to explain why he hasn't moved faster to approve the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine, two senior administration officials told Axios.

Why it matters: The meeting is shaping up to be tense, with Hahn using what the White House will likely view as kamikaze language in a preemptive statement to Axios: "Let me be clear — our career scientists have to make the decision and they will take the time that’s needed to make the right call on this important decision."

Scoop: Schumer's regrets

Photo illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images   

Chuck Schumer told party donors during recent calls that the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the fact that Cal Cunningham "couldn't keep his zipper up" crushed Democrats' chances of regaining the Senate, sources with direct knowledge of the conversations tell Axios.

Why it matters: Democrats are hoping for a 50-50 split by winning two upcoming special elections in Georgia. But their best chance for an outright Senate majority ended when Cunningham lost in North Carolina and Sen. Susan Collins won in Maine.

Trump's coronavirus adviser Scott Atlas resigns

Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty

Scott Atlas, a controversial member of the White House coronavirus task force, handed in his resignation on Monday, according to three administration officials who discussed Atlas' resignation with Axios.

Why it matters: President Trump brought in Atlas as a counterpoint to NIAID director Anthony Fauci, whose warnings about the pandemic were dismissed by the Trump administration. With Trump now fixated on election fraud conspiracy theories, Atlas' detail comes to a natural end.