Trump says he never directed his former lawyer Michael Cohen to 'break the law'

President Trump, in a new interview with Fox News, said that he never directed his former fixer to do "anything incorrect or wrong."
19:51 | 12/13/18

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Transcript for Trump says he never directed his former lawyer Michael Cohen to 'break the law'
In afternoon here watching ABC news the briefing room I'm Mary Alice parks and join my my colleagues Johns and Chichi. And Lana Zack. So despite the fact that not one but two parties have now admitted. To a planned an illegal plan to keep very salacious stories from the American voters in the lead up to the presidential election. AM despite the fact that not one but now two parties have told the court that they did not is not very plan in coordination with the trump campaign. Despite all of that guys we saw the president today in an interview with Fox News digging it. Excepting no blame and instead denying any possible wrongdoing sending we should break apart. That interview that he gave just a few hours ago go bit by bit. First president trump said he. He himself and his organization. Never paid any hush money let's listen to some and an iridium. Let me just say yes it has Lester I don't think and I have to go check I don't think they even paid any money to that tablet can I don't think we meta payment of that tablet. I was asking the question let's I don't think we say we made a payment. And then. You have the other situations. And every lawyer look. Trump didn't violate campaign finance those and neither did the president trump makes a. The U she was sort of the point you have this challenge saying that there was a very sophisticated planning and sent up so that the money was hidden and moved around an unlawful way. So that there wasn't a direct payment they're what do you what do you make. So I mean I think we have to break this down to the folks at home so we're talking about two very separate cases here is everyone thinks of stormy Daniels think of Karen me to rule this story that this is about this is about Karen make do in the business dealings with AMR I. American Media ink the publishers of the national inquirer. So in this situation what the judge in his filings we saw yes you were talking about. Is that in 20152016. They're conversations between Michael Cullen presents for personal lawyer who. Pled guilty and is now sentenced three years in jail and David Pecker. The CEO of AMR and media to catch and kill to take that story of Karen McDoogle woman who claims she had almost a year long affair what Donald Trump and his businessman. 2006. And Barry. So what happened is that am I bought mcdougal's story and eventually. The trump the Trump Organization we're not sure whom agreed to pay them back. The money never changed hands though however as we all know this happened during the election and thus could be seen as campaign finance pilot. And let's go to the documents right here in. And that the United States. A you know I think attorney got the southern district of New York court that. And graphic it says isn't live that's AMI admitted that it made 150000. Dollar payment in concert with the candidates presidential campaign. In my further admitted that its principal purpose in making the payment. Was to suppress the woman's story so as to prevent it from influencing the election. And when you current the president say to go in chat it wasn't actually the denial of somebody who says and this is out of luck be internal what you're talking about which is actually. What we heard him say things on hot dry on an on air force I'm. In this case he's like. You can look at the ledger and see if we actually reimburse that. What we know from these documents from these report documents is that the president's. Personal attorney Michael calling out. And a MIA the publishers of national enquirer said in fact that they made these payments to these women. In coordination with that campaign. To try and help president Donald Trump Felix. Thank you so let's let's keep linger into the president's fascinating and yet even though we have court documents and black and white with two parties saying that the president's campaign was involved. We of the president pointing fingers totally. At his former attorney saying it was all Michael Cullen spot. Atlanta Michael Collins pled guilty to something you know not even a crime wouldn't diesel campaign nobody except for me. Would be looked at like this nobody what about congressman they have a slush fund and millions and millions of dollars is paid out each you'd have a slush fund. Maybe you don't talk about campaign finance and I think have you ever heard of campaign finance was have they listed that on the campaign finance she's. So here is picketing first from saying that. He wasn't his father's arm Michael Cohen and you know anything about it and making a whole other argument as well saying that. No matter what happened he doesn't think it was a crime. And yet I was struck by the same court documents that same very plainly it was a crime and that everyone involved knew it was a crime. The times right now the questions gonna become. Does this come back to the present right because if his argument is out there that I did not know about this. I trusted my lawyers. Does that cover and now US Rudy Giuliani is the evening at street us was. I feel sorry for Michael Carly he's a pathological liar he screwed this up had nothing to do with Donald Trump downtime to me know about that. So now we need to figure out where these two stories are going to mesh and we should also mentioned that. You know in that court hearings that we shore earlier this week we've Michael Cohen. We have to separate jurisdictions here they've dealt with and we have Muller's team which said he was great. He there's so much wonderful information to sell helpful he always told us the truth. He flip over to the southern district New York which Lana was quoting from the complete opposite. Did not help that running life do like eating and does anybody want Burmese and we couldn't trust or has information. And that is why Donald Trump's legal team what the legal team for the Trump Organization. That is what they're gonna seize on right now the credibility. Of Michael Collins if if any of this moves follow. And we heard the president compacts say that the financial crime and that the southern district is really coming at him at Michael Cohen four have nothing to do with the price and that is tax invasion that nine that's and that's him trying to avoid paying. His fair share up to the at into the pot that. Feeds all the American public so that have nothing to do with the present he's right on on that fact. The other thing that the president is also saying in his defense is this is my attorney and this I'm not expected to know the stuff that's why I'm hire a lawyer to tell me these things that he told me it was buying so I try. Yeah and I don't think there was was really amazing that this whole story to me the end of the day is that. You know Donald Trump can separate himself from Michael Cohen as much as he wants. This person was the closest to Donald Trump 126 floor trump tower his office was from here to that wall over there. They were always talking were always you know in light on facts to think suddenly you know he's not my guy he's not my guy this is a person city took a bullet for Donald Trump. Well now he's gonna go to jail for antisense cleaning up the president's dirty deeds but I want to turn now to another major headline out of Washington. Maria good Tina that LeBron James you drastic correctly you're out of Norman bracket. But that Russian national who's been in the headlines all. Over the papers who wasn't whining and dining and schmoozing with top tier Republicans even some Republican presidential candidate. Well she is now pled guilty to federal prosecutors for conspiring to act as a foreign agent. You know this story just feels totally out of Hollywood is amazing. How involved she was and how many Republican contacts she had. What you make of how how cloak she was able to get to numbers the party. It's eighteen seen I mean Susie last Donald Trump the question when he was on the campaign for oral early on I mean what we have to remember here so that this story which is so. Amazing in so many ways first of all she looks just like Anna Chapman from ten years of the other Russian Asia and we were focused and always having let me just look at how much she change in the book. Photo and now when she'd. Outlining. Infiltrated several top donors to Republican Party but also really I stuck her heels into the NRA. I'm Angie is even trying to develop as we first reported. A TV series would Vladimir Putin on the Outdoor Channel because her name he likes to do. But really this is gonna come down to how far we she able to infiltrate the Republican Party. And specifically one major donor Paul Erickson. Now he's mentioned in these court filings he is not cooperating yet in any way shape and form he's been living out in South Dakota as far as we know that you were actually planning to move out there together if they were able to keep on their relationship but. It's a real. Interesting story anywhere ever on first saw this it was like. What is going. And here. Or still. I know why should people care about a starring Annie in what is it saying about the relationship between. The GOP and the Republicans and new relationship that they weren't even. A winner was being held I don't think that this is necessary I don't understand this big scale I heard one political party she Smart in cream exclusively Sheila Sheila I think that Russians know. In this case yeah what have taken any opportunity to infiltrate any party I agree on end and it in her case I think part of why his cell interest in you see her there. Holding her guy and working. On behalf of the Russian government we later learned but and working at rue the NR OK yeah and there's actually. The Mary Kay and then he's a red flare out of the Hollywood aspect of it that I think it makes it fascinating and and for the Russian government today to call her a political prisoner I think is. Yeah that's. Thinks your point on I think it's just all the different ways. On that you can intersection of politics right so for Republicans the NRA we know how much in lock step there are. Here she immunity gate weighing in she found it and that she pulled it off just got caught. Until jackpot com that no we're gonna and it also to Capitol Hill. Because they're about fourteen more stories we're tracking for up there I want to bring our colleague John Parkinson who has been racing around the halls of congress. As per usual for him. What vote taking place right now dealing with those resolutions in the senate is trying to pass a series of amendments really the senate. Taking the White House to task over foreign policy the relationship with Saudi Arabia. And Saudi Arabia's influence ends and work in that conflicts in Yemen. John what do you tell us about what the is resolutions. Say about the senators think about the White House is foreign policy. That's right Mary Alice this is a bipartisan smack down really of the president's foreign policy and his administration's foreign policy. Just a couple of minutes he'll before we came on the air the senate did approved two resolutions. The first one would be in order to limit. The war powers the president and really they're looking at the refueling missions that have been going on in Yemen. On behalf of Saudi Arabia those that ended last month. But this resolution would hamstring the Pentagon from. Attention every once those and then there was a second resolution to that condemned MBS directly. Four responsibility for the Jamal can show you murder. And and I think that's really right there. You talk about how the senators are reacting to this Bob Corker says if you brought MBS into a courtroom here in the US could be convicted in thirty minutes. But we still have the administration saying by strongly with Saudi Arabia and they look at Saudi Arabia is hindering partner over there in the region. I want to bring in Allison on whose married at the White House now after covering some presidents of the president's an anti thousand Niger here now we. We're just talking about the senators really. Delay a strong message to the White House is calling out. The dead. Will rule meant that crown prince there's Saudi Arabia played in the death of his show me. Taking action and delivering words of the present self was unwilling to do what I think of the White House correspond to this resolution from the senate. I mean if it's any indication the president's reaction to all the so far. It's that the president will be unmoved by this is senior administration officials from secretary Pompeo. To Bolton ambassador Bolton were headed up to the hill. A multiple times over the past several weeks trying to press senators to not take this move saint you'll be counterproductive to the administration's attempts. To a counter Iran's role destabilizing the region. That's kind of the crux of all of this for this administration is that removing any support for the saudis. In Yemen would be basically. Would allow Iran to gain a foothold in the Middle East in a region where it where would be severely detrimental to US. And Middle Eastern interest for our allies there so I really don't think that. The administration will be moved by this you still have the house that it will have to take this up and they've essentially taken that off the table. Through the rest of the year. You know we're also seeing congress and the White House obviously go Tony tell over government spending we are just one week and one day. Away from a partial government shut down and looks like both sides are digging in. We saw the president tweeting again about his wall and besides Nancy Pelosi really almost teasing the president's idea net Mexico would. Pay for the while she was asked questions about that again during a press conference today let's listen to Nancy Pelosi and her response the president. It's really unfortunate that the president has decided that he would shut down government at a time. When the markets. In a mood where people are losing their jobs and some industries he auto industry for one. Where there's uncertainty and the district's insurance that the national security of America's working families. And it holiday season that the president would say he would shut down government. John where you think are they any closer to a deal. You know is that that news conference and I think that we have not really gotten any closer to a deal over the last forty hours since that Oval Office meeting. I just talked to. The incoming house majority leader who's the whip now Steny Hoyer and he told me that they really believe right now that they've got Republicans boxed in over this issue on the wall. I'm they're gonna hold steadfast on their commitment to oppose the present with everything they've got. They see it as you know the president was there in the Oval Office and claimed ownership of a potential shut down over the wall and so they're happy to let him take the credit for that. Hey John it's lying here you know since we did hear the president say that he would own the shut down over that the closure of the border while and we also know that whenever. Somebody is blamed for shutting down the government it hurts them politically. Did not give any disincentive. To end Democrats to really make a deal before Christmas. Well I'm not really sure I mean I think that in the lame duck you're gonna see a lot of members that are leaving congress anyway is that they don't want to you know. How their last both views shut down the government or anything. But looking ahead to the next congress when the new majority comes in that's also going to be a problem to just negotiate this from square one again right like. If you go into new congress everything has to start over and a lot of these appropriation bills they may be close to cutting deal on six out of seven of the remaining appropriation bills. But if the dynamics change in the votes change how second look if Republicans they find open up government again it's it's on you now that you're in the majority. Especially if we have a massive shutdown or on Christmas. And John we heard the president say that he had the votes to pass the spending bill in the house is that true. Police they he had the votes to pass five billion dollars for four wall. You know the Republican leadership played with the idea of bringing up. That measure for a vote I did pastor committee earlier this year. But they have not brought into a full floor vote and Republican leaders signaled a hesitancy to bring that up this week saying that they had too many members that were absent. It didn't come back this week to cast votes. We saw on the house representatives finish up all their legislative business early this afternoon. And not even coming back until really late on Wednesday so most lawmakers won't be here until Wednesday evening to cast those next votes. So in some ways she's sort of called. His block on that one Alice is there any feeling from the White House that they may be overplaying their hand the president went a little too far saying he would own that shut down. Now now I had think that the president's probably unmoved again by what Pelosi saying basically daring. House Republicans to take of that five billion dollar measure the president believes I think we saw in that meeting. He wholeheartedly believes that house Republicans. Can pass a five billion dollar fund funding for the wall. Lebanon he just said that they would get voted down the senate so even as the polo C did dare Republicans to take this up. And it passed the house it would only be a really symbolic victory because. The president is correct it would anything that would pass and turned a five billion fill wall in the house would get roundly rejected. I'm in the senate but the president I think stands by you know hit his. Acceptance of the blame he said in an interview after that Oval Office meeting he that he's fine. Taking ownership of it if you talk to maybe a week into a partial government shutdown. I'm not even sure his tone will be changed and because he did it it would be only a partial government shutdown. The military wouldn't be affected the post office wouldn't be affected so I think it lets you really get to the story is of of how would be hurting. Every day Americans unless it's something that would put genuine political pressure on the president I'm not sure that we've seen something that would indicate that it would. We don't even right before he took ownership of it he was starting to call it the Pelosi shut down in that actual meeting so. I think it also definitely you say depends on how the political winds are blowing in weather and on it looks like it's an. Hurting I'm regular American. It does seem like Nancy Pelosi has been helped by this week. Not only did she seem to fare pretty well not Oval Office meeting but she locked up the last few boats and it looks like she will need to secure. Speakership. I wouldn't it wouldn't let Tierra Y announcing that deal overnight to a deal with some of those who were saying they would not vote for her. But she agreed to term limits and they are now on board. Turning a narco yes 04 more years for Nancy Pelosi assuming. That they continue to to win the house in the next mid term elections that she would be out in 20/20. Shields a traded some powerful. Roles within the different committees and some. Legislative. Legislative agenda items to some of her fellow Democrat to try and lock that deal up and now looks pretty at four. So she's looking forward to coming back but obviously not all members of congress will be coming back in the new year center Jeff flake. Who is sort of have a long goodbye from Washington gave a very formal goodbye on the senate floor today we menu and finish our show with. Senator flakes words of goodbye and you are watching. The breathing room you can listen Jeff flake here and we'll be back. Tomorrow. We are of course testing the institution of American liberty in ways that none of us ever imagined we would. And in ways that we probably never should again. My colleagues to say that our politics is not healthy. Is somewhat of an understatement. I believe that we all know well that this is not a normal time. And that the threats to our democracy from within and without our real. And none of us can say with confidence how the situation that we now find ourselves and we'll turnout.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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