- President Donald Trump’s former lawyer and self-described fixer, Michael Cohen, on Thursday confirmed a Wall Street Journal report indicating he once paid a technology firm to try to rig online polls in favour of Trump.
- He also implicated Trump, saying Thursday that he regretted what he called his “blind loyalty to a man who doesn’t deserve it.”
- Cohen on December 12 was sentenced to three years in federal prison after pleading guilty to tax fraud, bank fraud, campaign-finance violations, and lying to Congress.
President Donald Trump’s former lawyer and self-described fixer, Michael Cohen, on Thursday confirmed a Wall Street Journal report indicating he once paid a small technology firm to try to rig online polls in favour of Trump ahead of the 2016 campaign.
“As for the @WSJ article on poll rigging, what I did was at the direction of and for the sole benefit of @realDonaldTrump @POTUS,” Cohen posted to his Twitter account. “I truly regret my blind loyalty to a man who doesn’t deserve it.”
The Journal’s report said that Cohen gave a firm called RedFinch Solutions between $US12,000 and $US13,000 in cash – Cohen apparently denied that, telling The Journal it was by check – as well as a boxing glove in a Walmart bag to try to boost Trump’s standing in a 2014 CNBC online poll ranking the US’s top business leaders and a 2015 Drudge Report poll of possible Republican presidential candidates.
The attempts to artificially inflate Trump’s performance in the two polls were unsuccessful, The Journal said. Cohen also had the firm create a Twitter account called @WomenForCohen, which describes Cohen as a “strong” “pit bull” and “sex symbol.”
The Journal said Cohen received a $US50,000 reimbursement from the Trump Organisation for the services, which the paper said came largely Trump’s personal accounts.
In August, Cohen pleaded guilty to tax fraud, bank fraud, and campaign-finance violations in the Southern District of New York. The violations were related to payments to secure the silence of two women, Karen McDougal and the porn star known as Stormy Daniels, who said they had affairs with Trump.
Federal prosecutors said in their sentencing memo for Cohen that he made the payments “in coordination with and at the direction of” Trump, establishing the president as an unindicted coconspirator in the case. Trump has denied having affairs with both women.
On November 30, Cohen struck a deal to plead guilty to one count of lying to Congress in exchange for cooperating with Robert Mueller, the special counsel leading the investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 US presidential election and whether the Trump campaign colluded with Moscow.
On December 12, Cohen was sentenced to 36 months in federal prison. At his sentencing, Cohen said he acted out of “blind loyalty” to Trump, adding that “time and time again I felt it was my duty to cover up his dirty deeds.”
“I have been living in a personal and mental incarceration ever since the day that I accepted the offer to work for a real-estate mogul whose business acumen that I deeply admired,” he said. Cohen is scheduled to testify before the House oversight committee on February 7.
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