Embattled Trump hits back after being implicated in federal crime

Media playback is unsupported on your device                  Media captionCNN reporter asks Mr Trump about Michael Cohen back in July

Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionCNN reporter asks Mr Trump about Michael Cohen back in July

Trump was apparently referring to a fine levied on the former president's 2008 campaign over missing and delayed disclosure of high-dollar donors in the final days of that race.

In practice, an indictment is highly unlikely: the Justice Department position since 2000 has been that a sitting president is "immune from indictment as well as from further criminal process".

"If anyone is looking for a good lawyer, I would strongly suggest that you don't retain the services of Michael Cohen!" he wrote on Twitter, a message that belied a dour mood and weeks-long resentment at the betrayal by his onetime fixer.

First, Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort was found guilty on eight counts of fraud.

While in West Virginia, Trump offered brief comments on Manafort, whose case was unrelated to special counsel Robert Mueller's probe of Russian Federation interference in the 2016 election. "There are many, many steps that need to be taken before the president is in legal jeopardy". Cohen also said in court Tuesday that then-candidate Trump directed him to make the illegal payments. This relates to the $130,000 payment to porn actress Stormy Daniels to keep her affair allegation silent.

"If you look at President Obama, he had a massive campaign violation but he had a different attorney general and they viewed it a lot differently", Trump said. Legal experts said there could be multiple reasons for government lawyers' more cautious statements.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders later said Trump was not anxious that Cohen might implicate the president if he cooperates with Russian Federation probe special counsel Robert Mueller.

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They include "knowledge about the computer crime of hacking and whether or not Mr. Trump knew ahead of time about that crime and even cheered it on", Davis told MSNBC's Rachel Maddow.

Speaking of the special counsel, Davis had nothing but praise for Mueller and the way he has conducted his investigation. As to whether Trump had lied previously to the American people about his knowledge of the payments, Sanders said that was a "ridiculous accusation".

CNN reported at the time that Cohen described it as "a private transaction" and said he "used my own personal funds", and that "neither the Trump Organization nor the Trump campaign was a party to the transaction". It made him question the president's loyalty. "If he were not president, he clearly would be indicted and jailed for that crime".

Trump's lawyers have said that Mueller plans to adhere to that guidance, though Mueller's office has never independently confirmed that. There would presumably be no bar against charging a president after he or she departs the White House. But he said: "Obviously it's not good for Trump". Ms Daniels has alleged that she had a relationship with Mr Trump. Outside allies of the White House said they had received little guidance on how to respond to the events in their appearances on cable news. "But it leads him closer to ultimate impeachment proceedings, particularly if the Democrats take back the House".

Cohen and Manafort played prominent roles in Trump's political rise in 2016. It was handled by prosecutors in NY.

While placing the President in direct legal jeopardy over the hush money payments, Cohen also served notice he is willing to cooperate with Mueller on the Russian Federation investigation. Arpaio had been convicted of criminal contempt after defying a judge's order to stop detaining immigrants because they lacked legal status.

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer of NY was even more vague in his warning to the president, who has shown no aversion to issuing politically charged pardons and claimed last July he had the power to pardon even himself.

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