- Michael Cohen testified on Wednesday that President Donald Trump directed him to threaten people more than 500 times during the decade that Cohen worked as Trump’s personal attorney and fixer.
- In 2015, Cohen was recorded threatening to sue a Daily Beast reporter, warning him to “tread very f—king lightly,” over a story about Ivana Trump’s claims that Trump “violated” her during sex.
- Follow our live coverage of Cohen’s testimony here.
Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s longtime former lawyer and fixer, said during his Wednesday congressional testimony that Trump asked him to threaten critics with litigation 500 times during the decade that Cohen worked for Trump.
“How many times did Mr. Trump ask you to threaten an individual or entity on his behalf?” Rep. Jackie Speier, a California Democrat, asked Cohen during the House Oversight Committee hearing.
Cohen replied “quite a few times” before settling on about 500.
“And when you say threaten, I mean with litigation or with an argument with a nasty reporter that is writing an article,” Cohen said.
Rep. Speier: How many times did Trump ask you to threaten someone on his behalf?
Cohen: “Quite a few times”
Speier: “50 times?”
Speier: “100 times?”
Speier: “200 times?”
Speier: “500 times?”
Cohen: “Probably” https://t.co/L5Jil3RyHD pic.twitter.com/oo0w0aP6NF
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) February 27, 2019
There is public evidence of some of the threats Cohen allegedly made on Trump’s behalf.
In May 2018, NPR released the audio recording of a conversation Cohen had in 2015 with reporter Tim Mak, during which Cohen lashed out at Mak over his reporting for the Daily Beast on Ivana Trump’s claim that Trump had “violated” her during sex.
Cohen threatened to sue Mak after falsely arguing that “you can’t rape your spouse.”
“I will make sure that you and I meet one day while we’re in the courthouse. And I will take you for every penny you still don’t have. And I will come after your Daily Beast and everybody else that you possibly know,” Cohen told Mak, according to the audio. “So I’m warning you, tread very f–king lightly, because what I’m going to do to you is going to be f–king disgusting. You understand me?”
Cohen apologised for his tirade later in 2015, calling his comments “inarticulate.”
The Trump campaign attempted to discredit Cohen in a statement on Wednesday, calling Trump’s former confidant “a felon, a disbarred lawyer, and a convicted perjurer.”
- Read more:
- ‘He is capable of behaving kindly, but he is not kind’: Michael Cohen says he was ‘mesmerised’ by Trump
- ‘I am ashamed because I know what Mr. Trump is’: Michael Cohen’s bombshell opening statement before the House Oversight Committee drops hours before he is scheduled to testify
- ‘Shame on you, Mr. Jordan’: Michael Cohen snaps at Trump loyalist Jim Jordan during heated Congressional testimony
- Fox News hosts accuse Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of ‘admitting to civilizational suicide’ after the congresswomen asks if it’s ‘ok to still have children’ with the threat of climate change
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