Trump Discussed Quashing Stories about Affairs

Drew Angerer  Getty Images FILE

Cohen, 52, pleaded guilty previous year to campaign finance violations and implicated Trump in the wrongdoing, acknowledging as part of an agreement with prosecutors that he paid off two women to keep their stories of alleged affairs with Trump from becoming public before Election Day, in coordination with Trump.

During closed-door testimony to the House Judiciary Committee last month, Hicks denied being present for any conversations between Cohen and Trump involving Daniels.

For days, Cohen negotiated with Daniels's lawyer to craft a settlement that would buy her silence, according to the court documents.

Calls between the Trump campaign, AMI and Cohen continued through the evening.

Avenatti said Thursday at a press conference that members of Trump's 2016 campaign, including former campaign manager Kellyanne Conway, former campaign press secretary Hope Hicks, Trump's son Donald Jr. - as well as AMI CEO David Pecker and Chief Content Officer Dylan Howard - engaged in "criminal conduct at the highest level" in the "stealing of a presidential election".

A judge has unsealed search warrant documents, revealing new details about what the Federal Bureau of Investigation knew before it conducted its raids on former Trump lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen.

That's according to two people who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

The documents detailing calls and text messages were made public as federal prosecutors closed their investigation into the payoff - and a similar payment to Playboy model Karen McDougal - with no plans to charge anyone in the scandal beyond Trump's former lawyer and fixer, Michael Cohen. Trump has denied these claims.

"I believe that Trump joined the call between Cohen and Hicks based on my review of toll records".

"At least some of these communications concerned the need to prevent Clifford from going public", the affidavit said. The documents show Cohen spoke with Trump on the phone at least twice amid a flurry of calls the Federal Bureau of Investigation believes were used to arrange them.

He began serving the sentence in May, saying at the time it was an injustice that he was going to prison for crimes that benefited Trump.

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According to Smith, the payments can't be counted as campaign contributions.

The investigation was examining Trump and his private business, the Trump Organization.

Referring to court documents, legal experts said at the time of Cohen's December 2018 sentencing that campaign-finance violations had factored minimally towards Cohen's three-year prison term.

"The campaign finance violations discussed in the materials are a matter of national importance", Judge Pauley wrote.

In the documents, an Federal Bureau of Investigation agent claims there were communications between the aforementioned individuals following the release of the Access Hollywood video, in which Trump could be heard joking about groping women with Billy Bush, who, at that time, worked for the Today show.

U.S. District Judge William Pauley ordered the materials unsealed this week after prosecutors said they had concluded their investigation into a scheme meant to protect Trump's reputation as he ran for president.

Donald Trump, left, directed then-lawyer Michael Cohen, center, to help arrange payments to Stormy Daniels, right, and another woman, to silence them about alleged sexual relationships with Trump.

Now, though, prosecutors have informed the court in a sealed filing that they've concluded the investigation, clearing the way for the release of documents related to the case. Cohen admitted he lied to Congress about the extent of contacts between Trump and Russians during the campaign.

The negotiations continued with Cohen communicating multiple times on October 26 with Daniels' lawyer and the two AMI executives, Pecker and Howard, the documents showed.

Cohen said, in what officials understood to be a reference to Trump: "He's pissed". An attorney for the company declined to comment. "I can't speak for them but as a former fed prosecutor, I would indict Trump", Glenn Kirschner tweeted.

On Wednesday, after Pauley suggested the government's probe had concluded, the president's attorney, Jay Sekulow, appeared to celebrate the end of the "investigation surrounding these ridiculous campaign finance allegations".

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