CNN’s Toobin: Trump lied ‘extravagantly’ about Cohen payments ‘from beginning to end’

CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin on Thursday said President TrumpDonald John TrumpImpeachment? Not so fast without missing element of criminal intent Feds say marijuana ties could prevent immigrants from getting US citizenship Trump approval drops to 2019 low after Mueller report's release: poll MORE lied "extravagantly" about the nondisclosure payments made by his former lawyer, Michael Cohen, "from beginning to end." 

"If you just want to keep track of how much the president has lied about that, he said he didn’t know about the payment," Toobin said on CNN's "New Day." "I know it’s hard to keep track of all this stuff, the disclosures come bit by bit, but I mean come on, he lied so extravagantly about this story from beginning to end." 

Cohen on Wednesday was sentenced to three years in federal prison stemming from eight federal charges he pleaded guilty to in August, including campaign finance violations tied to a scheme to pay off two women alleging affairs with Trump more than a decade ago. Those women have been identified as adult-film star and director Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal.

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Trump initially denied knowledge of the payments, later claiming they were a "private transaction" and saying it is wrong to call them "a campaign contribution." 

"It’s also worth remembering that on the eve of the election, if the American public had known that Donald Trump had had an affair with Stormy Daniels, an affair with Karen McDougal, and that he had paid or arranged for all this hush money, that might well have swung this election," Toobin said on CNN.

Trump on Thursday tweeted, "I never directed Michael Cohen to break the law. He was a lawyer and he is supposed to know the law. It is called 'advice of counsel,' and a lawyer has great liability if a mistake is made. That is why they get paid." 

American Media Inc., the parent company of the National Enquirer, on Wednesday said that it paid $150,000 to a woman "in concert with" Trump's campaign "in order to ensure that the woman did not publicize damaging allegations about the candidate before the 2016 presidential election." That woman has been identified as McDougal. 

In a sentencing memo released last Friday, prosecutors with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York said for the first time that Cohen acted “in coordination with and at the direction” of Trump when he organized payments to Daniels and McDougal. Trump has denied the alleged affairs.