- President Donald Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen testified before the House Oversight Committee.
- Cohen was Trump’s personal lawyer and “fixer” for over a decade, at one point saying he would “take a bullet” for Trump. Now, the two have turned against each other.
- In December, Cohen was sentenced to three years in prison after pleading guilty to tax fraud, bank fraud, and campaign-finance violations in the Southern District of New York.
- On November 30, Cohen struck a deal to plead guilty to one count of lying to Congress in exchange for cooperating with special counsel Robert Mueller.
- In his testimony, Cohen accused Trump of being “racist” and “a con man” and said Trump had much more direct knowledge of the Trump campaign’s contacts with Russia than Trump has admitted to.
- Follow along with Cohen’s testimony here.
Michael Cohen testified before the US House Oversight Committee in the US on Wednesday in a high-stakes hearing in which he is expected to reveal several bombshells about President Donald Trump.
Cohen was Trump’s personal lawyer and “fixer” for over a decade, at one point saying he would “take a bullet” for Trump. But in the past few months, as Cohen has publicly reckoned with the weight of the crimes he says he committed at Trump’s behest, he and Trump have turned against each other.
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 buy the silence of two women, Karen McDougal and Stormy Daniels, who say 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 co-conspirator in the case.
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.
Cohen admitted to falsely describing in his September 2017 congressional testimony when the Trump Organisation ended talks about building a Trump Tower in Moscow.
In the hearing, Cohen slammed Trump as a “racist, a cheat, and a con man” and accused him of committing criminal activity both before his presidency and while holding office.
- Cohen said Trump frequently disparaged African Americans, allegedly asking Cohen to name one country run by a black person that “wasn’t a shithole” while Barack Obama was president.
- Trump also claimed that black voters would be “too stupid” to vote for him, according to Cohen.
- Cohen said he “threatened” schools that Trump attended not to release his grades or SAT scores – after Trump repeatedly pressed Obama to release his college academic records.
- Cohen said an IT firm he retained created a Twitter account called @WomenForCohen that praised Cohen as a “strong pitbull” and a “sex symbol” to “have fun during a stressful campaign.”
- In his prepared testimony, Cohen claimed Trump had advance knowledge of his son Donald Trump Jr. meeting with Russian lobbyists promising dirt on Hillary Clinton, which Trump has consistently denied.
- He said Trump frequently told him that Trump Jr. “had the worst judgment of anyone in the world” and “would never set up any meeting of any significance alone” – and “certainly not without checking with his father.”
- In his statement and in response to questioning from Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, Cohen claimed that Trump had advance knowledge of Wikileaks releasing a hacked trove of emails from the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee – which Wasserman-Schultz chaired at the time.
- When asked if it was possible that the Trump campaign and members of the Trump family were “compromised” by Russia,Cohen responded “yes.”
- Cohen said that Trump’s former lawyer Jay Sekulow and Abbe Lowell, counsel to Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump, “reviewed” his false and misleading September 2017 testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee.
- When asked by Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi if Trump had committed any other illegal acts not mentioned in Cohen’s testimony, Cohen said there were, but could not elaborate on them because they are the subject of an ongoing criminal investigation in the Southern District of New York.
- Cohen said he kept recordings of Trump and his other legal clients, some of which he would be willing to turn over to the committee. Cohen has previously represented Fox News host Sean Hannity and GOP donor Eliot Broidy.
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