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Trump was at August 2015 meeting about hush money payments, source says

Donald Trump attended an August 2015 meeting that federal prosecutors believe was central to a criminal sche...

Posted: Dec 14, 2018 9:45 AM
Updated: Dec 14, 2018 9:46 AM

Donald Trump attended an August 2015 meeting that federal prosecutors believe was central to a criminal scheme to violate campaign finance laws to help Trump win the presidency, according to a source familiar with the matter.

According to court filings, Trump was joined by Michael Cohen, who was his attorney at the time, and David Pecker, the chairman of American Media Inc., parent company of the National Enquirer.

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During the meeting, the group discussed a plan to shield Trump from potentially damaging stories. Prosecutors say this amounted to illegal donations to Trump's campaign.

Trump's attendance was first reported by the Wall Street Journal in a November article. The meeting returned to the spotlight Wednesday when federal prosecutors announced that they agreed not to prosecute AMI for campaign finance violations in exchange for its cooperation.

The newspaper reported that Trump asked Pecker what he could do to help his presidential campaign.

Federal prosecutors in Manhattan mentioned the meeting when they charged Cohen over the summer with two campaign finance violations. Those crimes related to hush-money payments to two women who alleged affairs with Trump. For his part, Trump has denied the affairs.

Prosecutors also described the meeting in the AMI agreement, which became public Wednesday.

That document said Cohen, Pecker, and "one or more members of the campaign" met in August 2015. At that meeting, "Pecker offered to help deal with negative stories about that presidential candidate's relationships with women by, among other things, assisting the campaign in identifying such stories so they could be purchased, and their publication avoided."

AMI now admits that after that meeting, Pecker agreed to "keep Cohen appraised" of negative stories about Trump. The tabloid played a role in facilitating the hush-money payments against the women, Karen McDougal and Stormy Daniels, in the months leading up to the 2016 election.

Pecker and AMI haven't been charged with any crimes. Trump denies involvement in the scheme, and said Thursday that the "did nothing wrong with respect to campaign finance laws."

But Cohen has pleaded guilty the campaign finance violations, and seven unrelated crimes. He said in court that the hush-money payments were made at Trump's direction, and that the goal of the payments was to stop the women from telling their stories before the election.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 261167

Reported Deaths: 5713
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto17561191
Hinds16687329
Harrison14050202
Rankin11102217
Jackson10729188
Lee9014143
Madison8495168
Jones6607114
Forrest6135122
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Tate279062
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Holmes171368
Clay164237
Tallahatchie155635
Stone149525
Clarke144762
Calhoun139922
Smith127725
Yalobusha121134
Walthall114037
Greene112929
Noxubee112225
Montgomery111236
Carroll106422
Lawrence105617
Perry104031
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Webster95424
Tunica88221
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Jefferson Davis87727
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Humphreys84224
Kemper80020
Quitman7049
Franklin69617
Choctaw62513
Wilkinson59625
Jefferson56520
Sharkey44817
Issaquena1606
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 436087

Reported Deaths: 6486
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson63969994
Mobile31211565
Madison27851208
Tuscaloosa21233271
Montgomery19698326
Shelby19093130
Baldwin16981188
Lee13036105
Morgan12526134
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Talladega6394111
Walker6002177
Jackson594644
Colbert545276
Blount543986
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Coffee456762
Dale406883
Franklin372448
Russell349212
Chilton342873
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Escambia330144
Dallas312096
Tallapoosa3120107
Chambers301170
Clarke293336
Pike261131
Marion251558
Lawrence250752
Winston232742
Bibb221248
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Pickens199031
Hale182742
Barbour179337
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Cherokee164330
Henry158224
Monroe151320
Randolph144336
Washington140127
Clay129146
Crenshaw122944
Macon120937
Cleburne120724
Lamar119721
Lowndes113736
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Coosa63215
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