Cohen was hesitant to implicate Trump and the campaign. At the time, Cohen was being scrutinized over hush money payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal in the final days before the 2016 election. In August 2018, Cohen pleaded guilty to eight counts, including campaign finance violations.
At that point, Cuomo appeared to coach Cohen through a hypothetical interview.
“You will be asked that and you can say, ‘I did it for [Donald Trump]. My relationship has always been for him. I’ve always said I don’t speak for the campaign. I speak for him as his attorney,'” Cuomo told Cohen. “And to the question of motive … the response would have to be, ‘You can speculate as to why you think I did it all day long, but the only answer is my answer and I just told you why I did it. You don’t get to speculate because if you can’t prove that I got paid back by Trump or the campaign, it is slander and defamation for you to say that I did.'”