President Trump claimed in a Thursday morning tweet that he never directed his personal attorney Michael Cohen to break campaign finance law, and that even if Cohen did break the law, it would be a civil — not criminal — violation.
"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. ... As a lawyer, Michael has great liability to me!"
The big picture: Time and time again, Trump has shifted the goalposts when it comes to explaining his role in paying hush money during the 2016 campaign to two women who alleged having affairs with him. While he has previously denied knowing about the payments to Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal, Trump has more recently claimed that they were part of a private transaction that did not amount to a campaign contribution, and that Cohen lied to prosecutors to get a lighter sentence.