Lieu: Trump is ‘essentially an unindicted co-conspirator’ in Cohen case

Rep. Ted LieuTed W. LieuDem lawmakers to open probe into ‘complex web of relationships’ between NRA, Russia Kamala Harris shopping trip stirs Twitter campaign trail debate Newsom endorses Kamala Harris for president MORE (D-Calif.) on Wednesday called President TrumpDonald John TrumpSchiff urges GOP colleagues to share private concerns about Trump publicly US-China trade talks draw criticism for lack of women in pictures Overnight Defense: Trump to leave 200 troops in Syria | Trump, Kim plan one-on-one meeting | Pentagon asks DHS to justify moving funds for border wall MORE an "unindicted co-conspirator" in the case against Trump's former lawyer Michael Cohen, repeating a phrase used by other Democrats when referring to the president's relationship with Cohen.

Lieu made the remarks following Cohen's sentence of three years in federal prison stemming from eight federal charges he pleaded guilty to in August, including campaign finance violations tied to payments made in 2016 to two women alleging affairs with Trump more than a decade ago. 

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Federal prosecutors in a legal filing last week, appearing to refer to Trump as "Individual-1," said Trump directed Cohen to make the payments to the two women. 

"Michael Cohen specifically says that Donald Trump directed him to make these campaign finance payments," Lieu said on CNN. "That means we have a person sitting in the White House right now who is essentially an unindicted co-conspirator." 

Multiple Democrats have referred to Trump by that moniker, a term previously applied to former President Nixon in 1974. 

The term applies when an individual is named in reference to another crime without being indicted for that crime. 

Nixon, who resigned before he could be impeached, was never indicted.

Lieu said Cohen's sentencing marked a good day for the "rule of law" in the U.S.

"We have a rule of law in America," Lieu said. "No one is above it, not the president, not his attorney." 

Trump on Thursday tweeted about Cohen's sentencing saying that he "never directed Michael Cohen to break the law."