Hatch walks back remarks that he didn't 'care' if Trump broke the law

GOP Sen. Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchTrump to award racing legend Roger Penske with Presidential Medal of Freedom Trump awards Presidential Medal of Freedom to economist, former Reagan adviser Arthur Laffer Second ex-Senate staffer charged in aiding doxxing of GOP senators MORE (Utah) is walking back comments from earlier this week, when he told CNN he didn’t care about federal prosecutors linking President TrumpDonald John TrumpNew EPA rule would expand Trump officials' powers to reject FOIA requests Democratic senator introduces bill to ban gun silencers Democrats: Ex-Commerce aide said Ross asked him to examine adding census citizenship question MORE to crimes committed during the 2016 campaign by his former lawyer, Michael Cohen.

"Earlier this week in an unplanned hallway interview with CNN, I made comments about allegations against the President that were irresponsible and a poor reflection on my lengthy record of dedication to the rule of law," Hatch, who is retiring in January, said in a statement on Friday

He added that with Americans’ "faith in so many of our institutions is at an all-time low, I regret speaking imprudently." 

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"I don’t believe the President broke the law, but one of the core principles of our country is that no one is above the law. That means anyone who does break the law should face appropriate consequences," Hatch continued.

Asked earlier this week if he was concerned the filings from prosecutors in the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York implicated the president, Hatch told CNN: "I don't care, all I can say is he's doing a good job as president." 

Hatch added that he's not bothered by the filing because he doesn't think Trump was involved in crimes and accused Democrats of trying to "do anything to hurt this president." 

Prosecutors from the Southern District of New York, in court filings released earlier this month, allege that Cohen "acted in coordination with and at the direction of" Trump in steering payments to silence Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal, two women claiming they had affairs with Trump in 2006.

The latest filing does not explicitly name Trump, who has denied the affairs, but makes numerous references to an "Individual-1" who it states in January 2017 "had become the President of the United States" and for whom Cohen worked as a personal attorney.

Hatch added in his statement on Friday that he does not believe Cohen is "any kind of reliable voice in this process" but that he has previously acknowledged that "the campaign finance allegations were 'some serious charges, and they can’t be ignored.'" 

"While I believe the President has succeeded in a number of important policy areas, that success is separate from the validity of these investigations, which I believe should be allowed to run their course," Hatch added.

On Wednesday, Cohen was sentenced to three years in prison, pleading guilty to charges ranging from bank fraud and campaign finance violations to lying to Congress.