US Politics: Cohen guilty plea adds further pressure for Trump
A guilty plea by the President's former Lawyer Michael Cohen could land Donald Trump in increasingly hot water in the weeks to come. The Tradefair team brings you all the latest developments in US Politics...
"Cohen's admission of paying hundreds of thousands of dollars in hush money 'at the direction of the candidate' to influence the 2016 election shows the President's claims of ignorance to be far from accurate, and places him in even greater legal jeopardy."
- Nancy Pelosi, Democratic Leader in the House
A former associate to Donald Trump could cause significant upset for the US President, after pleading guilty to violating campaign laws in the run-up to and during the 2016 US election at a Manhattan court this week.
Michael Cohen, the President's former Lawyer, has admitted to acting for the "purpose of influencing the election" and his actions could now reverberate back on to the embattled President in the coming weeks.
Serious allegations to contend with
The allegations surround a series of payments made by Cohen to former adult film star Stormy Daniels and former Playboy playmate Karen McDougal, designed to silence both parties from claiming to have had affairs with the President during the election cycle.
Trump had previously stated he had no knowledge of the payments, but Cohen's admission included testimony that he was working at the "direction of the candidate", while refusing to explicitly name the President at the time.
It was a revelation that came just minutes following the return of a guilty verdict on eight counts of bank and tax fraud for the President's former Aide Paul Manafort, adding further pressure and scrutiny on to the behaviour of the Trump election team.
Following Cohen's guilty plea, Ms Daniels released a statement to NBC News saying: "Michael (Avenatti) and I are vindicated and we look forward to the apologies from the people who claimed we were wrong."
With the stage now firmly set for a showdown in the courts for Cohen, it remains to be seen what impact this latest upset will have on the Trump presidency.
An embattled President in the spotlight
Having worked with the President for more than a decade, the actions of Cohen bring ever-closer scrutiny on to the actions of his election team at a time when serious questions continue to be asked around their conduct.
There is growing concern that the deluge of legal cases against Trump and his former associates is now undermining the legitimacy of his presidency, but up to this point there has been no concrete evidence of specific wrongdoing.
After the announcement of Cohen's statement, the President took to Twitter and responded with the barb:
If anyone is looking for a good lawyer, I would strongly suggest that you don't retain the services of Michael Cohen!? Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) 22 August 2018
It typifies the inflammatory nature of the President's use of social media, but perhaps more worrying for Trump is the fact that this latest revelation could add further credence to calls for his impeachment.
Indeed, responding to the Cohen plea, Democratic Leader in the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi said: "Cohen's admission of paying hundreds of thousands of dollars in hush money 'at the direction of the candidate' to influence the 2016 election shows the President's claims of ignorance to be far from accurate, and places him in even greater legal jeopardy."
Major concerns tempered for investors
Unsettling developments surrounding the conduct of President Trump and his team in the run-up to the 2016 election continue to garner big headlines around the world, with an ongoing impact for investors in a multitude of areas.
That said, the strength of the US economy continues to overshadow any fallout from the President's legal travails, with ongoing support for US markets from a series of strong fundamentals helping to assuage concerns for many.
Both the NASDAQ and Dow Jones remain buoyant despite this latest setback for President Trump, while the US dollar continues to perform well against a raft of major currencies.
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