Michael Cohen, the former personal lawyer of US President Donald Trump has testified under oath that Trump had directed him pay two women namely the adult film actor Stormy Daniels and a former model for Playboy Karen McDougal a sum of $130,000 and $150,000 to silence them ahead of the 2016 Presidential elections. The women had claimed they had an affair with Trump. The payments were made, as Cohen testified, with the primary aim of influencing the elections.
Cohen also pleaded guilty to other charges including bank fraud, tax evasion and even gross violations of campaign finance. The testimony was a sea-change from the earlier words of Cohen who bragged himself to be the ‘fixer’ of the President and would ‘take a bullet’ for him.
The revelations made by Cohen have tremenduously increased political pressure on Trump ahead of the mid-term polls scheduled in November. Lanny Davis, Cohen’s lawyer said in a statement that if the payments were a crime for Cohen, they should be a crime for the President as well.
President Trump has always denied any affairs with the women and his lawyer Rudy Guiliani has defended his stance by stating that the payments were made to save Trump’s family from embarrassment and they had no connection with the campaign. Guiliani also accused Cohen of being a habitual liar and called him a “devious little rat”.
As per US law, any contributions for election campaign or any valuables which are exchanged with an outcome to influence the election has to be disclosed. Payments in this case, made to silence the women of having affairs with Trump, just before the election come under the category of campaign contribution which has a limit of $2700 per person in each election.
Experts state that the recent events have increased the possibility of Democrat win in the mid-term elections and that they will begin the impeachment investigation against the President.