President Donald Trump has said that payments to two women who say he had affairs with them did not break election campaign rules.
His comments come after his ex-lawyer, Michael Cohen, pleaded guilty to violating laws during the 2016 presidential election over his handling of the hush money.
Interviewed by Fox & Friends, President Trump said the payments had come from him personally, not from the campaign.
Donald Trump has in the past denied knowing about one of the payments altogether.
He also accused Michael Cohen of making up stories to receive a lighter sentence.
In an excerpt from the Fox & Friends interview, which will be aired in full on August 23, President Trump responded to questions about the hush payments by insisting that they were “not a campaign violation”.
He said: “They came from me. And I tweeted about it. But they did not come out of the campaign.”
President Trump added that he only found out about the payments “later on”.
The president’s comments contradict a statement made earlier by Michael Cohen under oath in which he said Donald Trump had instructed him to make the payments.
Last month, Michael Cohen released audio tapes of him and Donald Trump allegedly discussing one of the payments before the election.
Michael Cohen, who was Donald Trump’s personal lawyer for more than a decade, admitted passing on funds to two women thought to be Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal.
The hush money payments were not reported to the Federal Election Commission during the campaign.
The question is whether the payments were made to protect Donald Trump’s personal reputation or to protect his image as a presidential candidate.
Under US election rules, any payments made with the aim of influencing a vote must be reported.
Michael Cohen acknowledged in court that the aim was indeed to protect Donald Trump’s candidacy, saying he had paid the money “at the direction” of Trump “for the principal purpose of influencing the election”.
If Donald Trump were to be prosecuted over the money – not through the normal courts, because he is the sitting president, but conceivably in Congress, through an impeachment process – investigators would have to prove that he had indeed given the money to Michael Cohen for electoral reasons.
In his first public comments, back in April, about his alleged affair with Stormy Daniels, President Trump denied knowing about the $130,000 payment made to the actress via Michael Cohen.
Stormy Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, alleges that she and Donald Trump had met in a hotel room in 2006.
Asked by a reporter in the press cabin of Air Force One if he had any knowledge about where Michel Cohen had got the money to pay Stormy Daniels, President Trump responded at the time: “I don’t know.”
The following month, the president officially disclosed a payment to Michael Cohen of between $100,001 and $250,000 for expenses incurred in 2016.
Michael Cohen has reached a plea deal with prosecutors, which may see his prison sentence reduced from 65 years to five years and three months.
On the same day that Michael Cohen pleaded guilty, a jury convicted former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort of bank and tax fraud charges.
It was the first criminal trial arising from the justice department probe led by former FBI chief Robert Mueller.
Robert Mueller has been investigating allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election, and whether the Trump campaign conspired with Russia to swing the election in his favor.
Russia has denied claims it interfered in the elections.
There is no confirmation that Michael Cohen will speak to Robert Mueller’s Russia inquiry but his personal lawyer has said his client is happy to talk.