BBC:- US President Donald Trump has responded to speculation that he might be impeached by warning that any such move would damage the economy.

“If I ever got impeached, I think the market would crash,” he said in an interview with Fox & Friends.

He was speaking after Michael Cohen, his ex-lawyer, pleaded guilty to violating election laws, and said he had been directed to do so by Mr Trump.

Mr Trump has rarely spoken about the prospect of being impeached.

Correspondents say it is unlikely Mr Trump’s opponents would try to impeach him before November’s mid-term elections.

Cohen says he handled hush money payments to two women during the 2016 presidential campaign.

The two women, thought to be porn star Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal, both claimed they had affairs with Mr Trump,

Cohen said he had paid the money “at the direction” of Mr Trump, “for the principal purpose of influencing the election”.

However, Mr Trump said the two payments had not broken election campaign rules.

He said that the payments had come from him personally, not from the campaign, but he had not known about them until “later on”.

The president also accused Cohen of making up stories to receive a lighter sentence.

“I think everybody would be very poor,” Mr Trump told Fox and Friends.

Pointing to his head, he explained: “Without this thinking you would see, you would see numbers that you wouldn’t believe in reverse.”

Mr Trump defended the payments to the two women, and said he had not known about the payments at the time.

His comments contradict a statement made earlier by Cohen under oath, in which he said the president had instructed him to make the payments.

In July, Cohen released audio tapes of him and Mr Trump allegedly discussing one of the payments before the election.

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 Mr 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.