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The guilty plea was part of a double dose of bad news for Trump: It came at nearly the same moment his former campaign chair, Paul Manafort, was convicted in Alexandria, Virginia, of eight financial crimes in the first trial to come out of special counsel Robert Mueller's sprawling Russian Federation investigation.
Earlier in the morning, Trump broke his silence on the guilty plea by Cohen, writing his a wisecracking tweet that he would not recommend hiring him as a lawyer.
There were dramatic developments in two cases that arose from special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, within minutes of each other.
Cohen's attorney Lanny Davis said his client had information that would be of interest to Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating whether the 2016 Trump campaign conspired with Russian Federation to influence the election.
"Doesn't involve me", Trump told reporters. "And we know he publicly cheered it on, but did he have private information?"
Daniel Petalas, former prosecutor in the Justice Department's public integrity section, said the issue of whether Trump violated the law comes down to whether Trump "tried to influence an election, whether he knew and directed it and whether he knew it was improper".
Trump said he felt "very badly" for Paul Manafort, and a "sad thing that happened", describing him as a "great man".
Cohen did not name Trump in court, but his lawyer, Lanny Davis, said afterward that he was referring to the president.
Meanwhile, Trump's legal team is battening down the hatches.
Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort was found guilty on eight tax- and bank-fraud charges in federal court. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., the Senate minority leader.
It also increases pressure on Trump personally.
Trump has denied the allegation, and Daniels is suing Cohen and Trump to void the non-disclosure agreement.
"Where is the collusion?" The question that Trump's former attorney might be able to answer, Davis said, is "did he also have private information?"
A US grand jury has indicted 12 Russian intelligence officers on charges of hacking the computer networks of Clinton's campaign and the Democratic Party. He did it specifically to help Trump win the election, which is illegal.
"The looming threat is that the potential for more days like the one we just endured is high", said GOP strategist Kevin Madden. However, impeachment by Congress under the United States constitution is possible in principle - although the Democratic Party would probably have to win control of both houses.
President Donald Trump on Wednesday addressed both former associates who are now guilty of various crimes - praising one and lashing out at the other.
It all adds up to a "very big deal", said Neal Katyal, a former US solicitor general. Current Justice Department guidelines state that a sitting president can not be indicted, and that any wrongdoing should be referred to Congress for impeachment proceedings.
The question is now raised as to whether the president himself could face legal action.
In the meantime, Mueller is believed to be preparing a report that Congress could use as the basis for impeachment hearings.
The President responded to the Manafort verdict but had no word on the Cohen guilty plea until Wednesday morning.