Michael Cohen faces "challenge to convince people that he's credible," says adviser Lanny Davis

/ CBS News

Lanny Davis on Michael Cohen's credibility

Michael Cohen, a longtime member of President Trump's inner circle, received a three-year prison sentence Wednesday after pleading guilty to financial fraud, campaign finance charges and lying to Congress.

Cohen was sentenced after telling investigators that Mr. Trump directed him before the 2016 election to make payments to Karen McDougal and Stormy Daniels, who allegedly had affairs with Mr. Trump several years ago.

In his statement ahead of his sentencing, Cohen – at times close to tears – apologized and said "blind loyalty" to Mr. Trump "led me to choose a path of darkness over light."

Lanny Davis, Cohen's adviser and his former lawyer, told "CBS This Morning" on Thursday that Cohen faces "a challenge to convince people that he's credible."

Cohen's credibility is key to the Russia investigation as he has provided, according to special counsel Robert Mueller, useful information concerning "Russia-related matters core to [the special counsel's] investigation," which he obtained through his regular contact with company executives at the Trump organization.

Davis said he doesn't know the specifics of what that information is, "but I know that when Mr. Mueller uses the expression 'core'… the 'core' word is about the heart of Mr. Mueller's assignment on collusion."

The Justice Department also revealed Wednesday that it has a non-prosecution agreement with American Media, the parent company of the National Enquirer, which paid McDougal $150,000 for the rights to her story. Prosecutors said company CEO David Pecker, a longtime friend of the president, met with Cohen and at least one member of the Trump campaign in 2015, to discuss how to deal with negative stories about the candidate. Prosecutors said AMI admitted paying McDougal "in concert with a candidate's presidential campaign" to "suppress her story, so as to prevent it from influencing the election."

"Now there's corroborating testimony with the AMI and… I would remind everyone that it's about facts, it's not about believing someone, and those facts have to be corroborated," Davis said.

In a statement before his sentencing Wednesday, Cohen took personal responsibility for his actions but said he felt it was his "duty to cover up" Mr. Trump's "dirty deeds" as his lawyer and fixer.

According to Davis, Cohen is "very scared" for both his family and the country under Mr. Trump's leadership.

First published on December 13, 2018

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