The Biggest Revelations From Michael Cohen's Testimony
Donald Trump's former lawyer Michael Cohen is getting ready to testify before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform today.
Donald Trump's former lawyer Michael Cohentestified before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform on Wednesday about crimes he says Trump committed while in office.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Cohen's testimony before Congress was expected to accuse Trump of breaking the law after he became president. In addition to the allegations of criminal activity, Cohen's testimony ended up painting Trump as the bigot he is.
Cohen came swinging out of the gate with a damning portrayal of Trump’s character, saying that he is “ashamed because I know what Mr. Trump is. He is a racist. He is a conman. He is a cheat.” Cohen repeated the sentiment throughout his testimony.
While no one should be surprised Trump is a racist, Cohen provided anecdotes of times Trump “allegedly questioned the intelligence of African Americans and criticized their lifestyle choices,” per the Washington Post.
“He once asked me if I could name a country run by a black person that wasn't a ‘shithole,’” Cohen said during his testimony, adding, “[Trump] told me black people would never vote for him because they were too stupid.”
The big moments kept coming—and Cohen made sure to keep the receipts in case his credibility came into question. During his testimony, he provided the committee a “copy of a check Mr. Trump wrote from his personal bank account—after he became president—to reimburse me for the hush money payments I made to cover up his affair with an adult film star and prevent damage to his campaign.” The check in question that was for the amount of $35,000, and the adult film star Cohen refers to is Stormy Daniels.
Another big blow came when Cohen confirmed Trump had directed him to lie to Congress about the Moscow Tower Project, whichBuzzFeed News originally reported in January. Trump reportedly instructed Cohen to say negotiations for the Moscow Trump Tower wrapped up earlier than they actually did. At that time, the news was speculative at best, but with Cohen’s account, BuzzFeed’s story holds weight, as he explains that while he lied for Trump, the president didn’t clearly order him to do so. But Cohen said Trump didn’t need to provide specific instructions; since the two had worked so closely together for so long, Cohen knew what he had to do.
Later, GOP Rep. Mark Meadows tried to poke holes in Cohen's assessment that Trump is racist by bringing in a guest to the hearing, Lynne Patton, a high-ranking political official in the Department of Housing and Urban Development, who is black. During Meadows and Cohen's exchange, Meadows alleged Patton doesn't agree that Trump is a bigot since she was hired to work for him. “She says that as a daughter of a man born in Birmingham, Alabama, that there is no way that she would work for an individual who was racist. How do you reconcile the two of those?” Meadows said to Cohen.
Cohen responded that by using Meadows' logic, Cohen also shouldn't work for the President, saying, “And neither should I, as the son of a Holocaust survivor.”
In addition to lying for Trump, Cohen also revealed that Trump “probably” asked him to threaten 500 people and entities over the decade that he worked as the President's personal lawyer. The line of questioning was conducted by Democratic Rep. Jackie Speier, who asked what tactics Cohen used to threaten people, to which he responded, “when you say threaten, I'm talking with litigation or an argument.”
Cohen made threats toward Trump's "high school, his colleges, and the College Board" for Trump's grades and SAT scores not to be released.
In another twist, Cohen testified that Trump ordered him to find a fake bidder to purchase his portrait which was being auctioned at the Art Hamptons Event. Cohen was to instruct the straw bidder to make sure the picture of Trump is the highest-selling potriat at the auction. The plan went smoothly, with the painting selling for $60,000. Then, according to Cohen, Trump paid the bidder back with money from his Trump Foundation charity. And similar to the previously mentioned incidents, Trump left a paper trail of this incident as well. But instead of it being a check, it was a post on his favorite social media site.
Among other discoveries made during the testimony was that Cohen refuses to guarantee he won't sign a book, TV, or movie deal—and claimed Trump inflated his assets in order to be included on the Forbes list of richest people, but deflated his assets to lower his real estate taxes. Cohen also dispelled rumors that Trump hit Melania Trump, and denied that a tape of the alleged incident exists. He added he doesn't believe the President hit the First Lady. The supposed tape is said to be from an elevator, and went up for auction in 2016.
Watch Cohen’s testimony in the video above.