This summer, the White House experienced a self-inflicted firestorm over its immigration policy, which has led to thousands of family divisions at the border; Questions about why Mr. Trump had stood with Scott Pruitt, the former administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, who had more than a dozen inquiries into his spending and management practices before finally resigning in July; and Mr. Trump's Cozy, Widely Criticized Press Conference with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia in Helsinki, Finland
On Wednesday, several helpers dismissed the news of Mr. Cohen as another bad headline without the silver bullet they say the Special Adviser would have to prove that the president conspires with Russian officials.
"I do not know if you know," Mr. Trump said during the interview, "but I tweeted about the payments, but they did not come out of the campaign." Campaign funding laws still prohibit Mr. Trump from making unreported payments in the context of the campaign, no matter where they come from. None of the payments were announced to the Federal Election Commission.
At Air Force One on Tuesday night, on the way back from a rally in West Virginia, Mr. Trump repeatedly minimized the news, aides told that legal developments were not about him, but about Mr. Manafort and Mr. Cohen. He also scolded the appearance of the rally and told a person close to him that the crowd seemed flat and that some of the chairs were empty.
On Wednesday, Mr Trump's lawyers argued in private conversation about Mr Cohen's admission and confession of guilty to violate the laws of campaign finance, was a shock but not a knockout strike, and they examined the possibilities they had to defend themselves. They emphasized that Mr. Cohen had repeatedly stated in previous reports that Mr. Trump was unaware of his payment to Mrs. Clifford, known as Stormy Daniels.