Trump argues he 'never directed' longtime fixer to break law

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump is contending he "never directed" longtime lawyer Michael Cohen to break the law. Trump's tweet Thursday comes a day after Cohen was sentenced to prison for crimes including arranging hush money payments to conceal Trump's alleged affairs.

Cohen and federal prosecutors have said the payments were made at Trump's direction to influence the 2016 election.

Trump tweeted Cohen "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."

Trump asserted "this was not campaign finance."

Trump has gone from denying knowledge of the payments to saying they would have been private transactions that weren't illegal. Prosecutors have implicated Trump in a crime, but haven't directly accused him of one.

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Trump's former lawyer, Michael Cohen pleads guilty
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Trump's former lawyer, Michael Cohen pleads guilty
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 21: Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump's former personal attorney and fixer, exits federal court, August 21, 2018 in New York City. Cohen reached an agreement with prosecutors, pleading guilty to charges involving bank fraud, tax fraud and campaign finance violations. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
U.S. Deputy Attorney Robert Khuzami speaks to the media outside the the Daniel Patrick Moynihan United States Court House after U.S. President Donald Trump's former lawyer, Michael Cohen plead guilty to eight criminal counts in lower Manhattan, New York City, U.S. August 21, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
Michael Cohen, former personal lawyer to U.S. President Donald Trump, center, exits from federal court in New York, U.S., on Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2018. Trump's longtime lawyer and fixer�Michael Cohen�appeared in federal court Tuesday pleading guilty to federal charges stemming from hush payments to women who claimed to have had affairs with the president. Photograph: Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg via Getty Images
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 21: A crowd gathers before Michael Cohen, former lawyer to U.S. President Donald Trump, exits the Federal Courthouse on August 21, 2018 in New York City. Cohen admitted to violating federal campaign finance laws at the direction fo then-Presidential candidate Trump. (Photo by Yana Paskova/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 21: A woman seen inside the Federal Courthouse before Michael Cohen, former lawyer to U.S. President Donald Trump, exits the Federal Courthouse on August 21, 2018 in New York City. Cohen admitted to violating federal campaign finance laws at the direction fo then-Presidential candidate Trump. (Photo by Yana Paskova/Getty Images)
U.S. President Donald Trump's former lawyer, Michael Cohen, leaves the Daniel Patrick Moynihan United States Court House in lower Manhattan, New York City, U.S. August 21, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Segar
U.S. Deputy Attorney Robert Khuzami walks to speak to the media outside the the Daniel Patrick Moynihan United States Court House after U.S. President Donald Trump's former lawyer, Michael Cohen plead guilty to eight criminal counts in lower Manhattan, New York City, U.S. August 21, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Segar
U.S. President Donald Trump's former lawyer, Michael Cohen, leaves the Daniel Patrick Moynihan United States Court House in lower Manhattan, New York City, U.S. August 21, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Segar
U.S. Deputy Attorney Robert Khuzami speaks to the media outside the the Daniel Patrick Moynihan United States Court House after U.S. President Donald Trump's former lawyer, Michael Cohen plead guilty to eight criminal counts in lower Manhattan, New York City, U.S. August 21, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Segar
U.S. President Donald Trump's former lawyer, Michael Cohen, leaves the Daniel Patrick Moynihan United States Court House in lower Manhattan, New York City, U.S. August 21, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
U.S. President Donald Trump's former lawyer, Michael Cohen, leaves the Daniel Patrick Moynihan United States Court House in lower Manhattan, New York City, U.S. August 21, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Segar
U.S. President Donald Trump's former lawyer, Michael Cohen, arrives to his apartment building after attending the federal court in New York City, U.S. August 21, 2018. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz
Robert Khuzami (R), Deputy US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, speaks to the press outside federal court on August 21, 2018 in New York, after Michael Cohen, Donald Trump's longtime personal lawyer and fixer, pleaded guilty to eight counts, including fraud and campaign finance violations. (Photo by Don Emmert / AFP) (Photo credit should read DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 21: Michael Cohen, former lawyer to U.S. President Donald Trump, exits the Federal Courthouse on August 21, 2018 in New York City. Cohen reached an agreement with prosecutors, pleading guilty to charges involving bank fraud, tax fraud and campaign finance violations.(Photo by Yana Paskova/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 21: Michael Cohen, former lawyer to U.S. President Donald Trump, exits the Federal Courthouse on August 21, 2018 in New York City. Cohen reached an agreement with prosecutors, pleading guilty to charges involving bank fraud, tax fraud and campaign finance violations.(Photo by Yana Paskova/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 21: Police gather before Michael Cohen, former lawyer to U.S. President Donald Trump, exits the Federal Courthouse on August 21, 2018 in New York City. Cohen reached an agreement with prosecutors, pleading guilty to charges involving bank fraud, tax fraud and campaign finance violations. (Photo by Yana Paskova/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 21: Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump's former personal attorney and fixer, exits federal court, August 21, 2018 in New York City. Cohen reached an agreement with prosecutors, pleading guilty to charges involving bank fraud, tax fraud and campaign finance violations. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Michael Cohen, former personal lawyer to U.S. President Donald Trump, exits from federal court in New York, U.S., on Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2018. Trump's longtime lawyer and fixer�Michael Cohen�appeared in federal court Tuesday pleading guilty to federal charges stemming from hush payments to women who claimed to have had affairs with the president. Photograph: Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg via Getty Images
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