President Donald Trump’s former lawyer returned to Capitol Hill on Thursday for hours of closed-door questioning after publicly branding his former boss a racist and a con man.
He said Trump lied about business dealings in Russia and directed him to conceal extramarital relationships.
Concise News reports that Cohen was speaking privately Thursday to the House intelligence committee, the last of three appearances before Congress this week.
Cohen, who pleaded guilty last year to lying to Congress and soon reported to prison for a three-year sentence, gave harsh testimony about Trump on Wednesday.
He said Trump knew in advance that damaging emails about Democrat Hillary Clinton would be released, something the president had denied.
He also accused Trump of lying during the 2016 campaign about a Moscow real estate project.
Cohen also said Trump directed him to arrange a hush money payment to a porn actress who said she had sex with the president a decade earlier. He said the president arranged to reimburse Cohen, and Cohen brought to the hearing a check that he said was proof of the transaction.
Cohen’s matter-of-fact testimony about secret payments and lies unfolded as Trump was thousands of miles away from Washington, meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Trump says Thursday he tried to watch as much of Cohen’s marathon congressional hearing as he could. He slammed the hearing as “fake” and said it was a “terrible thing” for Democrats to hold it during the summit.
He seized on Cohen’s concession that he had no direct evidence that Trump or his aides colluded with Russia to get him elected, the primary question of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. Trump says he was a “little impressed” that Cohen had said that to the House Oversight and Reform Committee.
Cohen, shaking off incessant criticism from Republicans anxious to paint him as a felon and a liar, became the first Trump insider to pull back the curtain on a version of the inner workings of Trump’s political and business operations. He likened the president to a “mobster” who demanded blind loyalty from underlings and expected them to lie on his behalf.
“My loyalty to Mr Trump has cost me everything: my family’s happiness, friendships, my law license, my company, my livelihood, my honour, my reputation and soon my freedom,” Cohen says. “I will not sit back, say nothing and allow him to do the same to the country.”
Michael Cohen was one of many lawyers who represented me (unfortunately). He had other clients also. He was just disbarred by the State Supreme Court for lying & fraud. He did bad things unrelated to Trump. He is lying in order to reduce his prison time. Using Crooked’s lawyer!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 27, 2019
In testimony that cut to the heart of federal investigations encircling the White House, Cohen said he arranged the hush money payment to porn actress Stormy Daniels at Trump’s behest and agreed to lie about it to the public and the first lady.
And he said he was left with the unmistakable impression Trump wanted him to lie to Congress about a Moscow real estate project, though the president never directly told him so.
In one revelation, Cohen said prosecutors in New York were investigating conversations Trump or his advisers had with him after his office and hotel room were raided by the FBI last April. Cohen said he could not discuss that conversation, the last contact he said he has had with the president or anyone acting on his behalf because it remains under investigation.
Watch video below:
“Mr Trump is a racist” – ex-lawyer Michael Cohen tells Congress Donald Trump “told me that ‘black people would never vote for me because they were too stupid'”#CohenTestimony latest: https://t.co/3J9nebR2wm pic.twitter.com/wfEXU3CqYT
— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) February 27, 2019