Administration

White House: 'The president did nothing wrong'

The White House on Wednesday said President Trump "did nothing wrong" in his dealings with Michael Cohen, pushing back on his onetime lawyer's claim that Trump conspired with him to violate campaign-finance law.

"He did nothing wrong. There are no charges against him," White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters.

She repeated the refrain multiple times when asked about Cohen, who implied that Trump directed him to arrange hush-money payments to women who say they slept with the president in order to help his 2016 campaign. Cohen acknowledged the payments while pleading guilty to bank fraud, tax fraud and campaign-finance violations in a Manhattan courthouse.

"I have addressed this a number of times. Just because you continue to ask the same questions over and over, I'm not going to give you a different answer," Sanders said, referring questions to Trump's outside legal counsel.

"The president has done nothing wrong, there are no charges against him, there is no collusion," she added. "That's what I can tell you about this."

Trump claimed on Wednesday that the hush-money payments did not break the law, and denied he had knowledge of them at the time they were made.

Sanders declined to answer when asked if Trump is considering a pardon for former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who was convicted on eight counts of bank and tax fraud within minutes of Cohen's guilty plea on Tuesday.

She said the Manafort conviction has "nothing to do with the president."

Pressed on if Manafort is a candidate for a pardon, Sanders said she's "not aware of any conversations regarding that."

Trump has praised Manafort as a "good man" in the wake of the verdict, and attacked special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation as a "witch hunt."

"I feel very badly for Paul Manafort and his wonderful family," Trump tweeted Wednesday, calling his ex-campaign chairman a "brave man" for refusing to cooperate with investigators.

Trump's warm rhetoric toward Manafort has raised speculation the president may consider a pardon for his former associate.

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle warned against such action on Wednesday.

--This report was updated at 2:51 p.m.

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