Trump says found out about payments made by Cohen after the fact

WASHINGTON, Aug 22 (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump said on Wednesday he found out only after the fact about payments his then-lawyer Michael Cohen made to silence two women who said they had had affairs with Trump, adding that the money came from him and not his campaign.

"Later on I knew," Trump told Fox News Channel when asked if he knew about the payments. "And they're weren't taken out of campaign finance ... They didn't come out of the campaign; they came from me."

RELATED: All the companies that Michael Cohen approached and their responses

All the companies that Michael Cohen approached and their responses
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All the companies that Michael Cohen approached and their responses

Healthcare giant Novartis paid Cohen $1.2 million in a year.

Novartis, one of the largest pharmaceutical firms in the world, confirmed the payment on Wednesday.

In a series of statements, the Swiss drugmaker clarified that the company had a year-long contract with Essential that paid $100,000 a month and "focused on US healthcare policy matters."

An employee told STAT News that Cohen reached out to Novartis's then-CEO Joe Jimenez promising help gaining access to Trump.

The company determined after meeting with Cohen that the lawyer's assistance was not helpful.

"Following this initial meeting, Novartis determined that Michael Cohen and Essential Consultants would be unable to provide the services that Novartis had anticipated related to US healthcare policy matters and the decision was taken not to engage further," Novartis said in a statement.

(REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann)

South Korean defense company Korea Aerospace Industries paid Cohen $150,000 in November 2017.

The company, which is partly owned by the South Korean government's Export-Import bank,confirmed the payment and claimed the money was for "legal consulting concerning accounting standards on production costs."

It was a one-time payment that came at the end of contact with Essential, the firm said.

Korea Aerospace is currently partnered with Lockheed Martin on a bid to win a US Air Force contract. The contract winner would supply the Air Force with training aircraft and receive up to $16.3 billion.

(REUTERS/Lee Jae-Won)

AT&T paid Cohen at least $200,000 in four installments from late 2017 to early 2018.

The telecom giant confirmed the payment and said Cohen was paid to help AT&T better understand the Trump administration.

"Essential Consulting was one of several firms we engaged in early 2017 to provide insights into understanding the new administration," AT&T said in a statement Tuesday evening. "They did no legal or lobbying work for us, and the contract ended in December 2017."

AT&T is currently in the midst of a legal battle with the Trump administration over a proposed merger with Time Warner.

source told CNBC on Wednesday that AT&T may have paid Cohen up to $600,000, but said it "wasn't to pay for access to the president."

(REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton)

Cohen contacted Uber, but the ride-sharing company rejected the advance.

According to a Wall Street Journal repor t, Cohen repeatedly talked to Uber about a possible relationship, but was rejected.

A person at Uber told the Journal that the ride-hailing firm thought that Cohen's ownership of a New York taxi cab company was a conflict of interest.

The company hasn't issued a formal statement about Cohen.

(REUTERS/Brendan McDermid)

Ford also rejected Cohen's advances.

Ford turned down Cohen in January 2017 after a single phone call from the lawyer, according to the Journal.

The contact between Cohen and Ford is reportedly part of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation and Ziad Ojakli, Ford's head of government affairs, was interviewed by Mueller's team about Cohen's contact.

The company hasn't issued a formal statement about Cohen.

(REUTERS/Hannah McKay)


Cohen, in pleading guilty to eight criminal charges of tax evasion, bank fraud and campaign finance violations, told a federal court on Tuesday that Trump directed him to arrange the payments to influence the 2016 presidential election - a claim at odds with Trump's statement.

"My first question, when I heard about it, was, 'Did they come out of the campaign,' because that could be a little dicey," Trump said in the interview with Fox, which is set to air in its entirety on Wednesday. "And they didn't come out of the campaign, and that's big."

"It's not even a campaign violation," he said, repeating a claim he made earlier in the day on Twitter without evidence, even though both Cohen and prosecutors have agreed it was.

(Reporting by Tim Ahmann Editing by James Dalgleish)

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