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Trump Defends 'Simple Private Transaction'

Refers to payments to women, as prosecutors focus on his family business
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 10, 2018 8:23 AM CST
Updated Dec 10, 2018 8:50 AM CST
In this Nov. 29 photo, President Trump talks with reporters on the South Lawn of the White House.   (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

(Newser) – Michael Cohen will be sentenced Wednesday, largely bringing an end to his personal involvement in the Robert Mueller investigation. But as the New York Times reports, the cooperation he provided will likely continue to mean trouble for the president's family business, the Trump Organization. For example, the newspaper says Cohen told prosecutors that the company's chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg, also was involved in discussions for hush-money payments to two women who alleged affairs with Trump. Cohen already has implicated Trump in the payments, which might run afoul of felony campaign finance rules, and investigators are continuing to investigate the role of other Trump Organization employees in the payments.

On Monday, Trump made reference to the "private transaction," saying the focus on it is a desperate ploy by Democrats because they can't turn up evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. “That's because there was NO COLLUSION," he wrote. "So now the Dems go to a simple private transaction, wrongly call it a campaign contribution, which it was not ... but even if it was, it is only a CIVIL CASE," he wrote. "Lawyer’s liability if he made a mistake, not me." Meanwhile, Forbes takes note of a nugget in the Mueller filing about the unsuccessful bid of Trump's company to land a deal in Moscow leading up to the election. “If the project was completed,” Mueller wrote, “the company could have received hundreds of millions of dollars from Russian sources in licensing fees and other revenues.” (Read more Robert Mueller stories.)

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