Michael Cohen arrives for private testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Bloomberg via Getty Images Michael Cohen’s dramatic week of Capitol Hill testimony began Tuesday morning without much drama. The former personal lawyer and “fixer” for Donald Trump testified behind closed doors to the Senate Intelligence Committee, answering questions related to…
Michael Cohen’s dramatic week of Capitol Hill testimony began Tuesday morning without much drama. The former personal lawyer and “fixer” for Donald Trump testified behind closed doors to the Senate Intelligence Committee, answering questions related to the panel’s investigation into Russian interference with the 2016 election. He’ll address the same topic Thursday, also in private, in testimony to the House Intelligence Committee.
On Wednesday though, there should be fireworks. That’s when Cohen is set to appear in a public hearing before the House Oversight and Reform Committee. In a statement last week, committee chairman Elijah Cummings laid out the topics the hearing will cover, including Trump’s compliance with campaign-finance and tax laws, his business practices, and the accuracy of his public statements.
published a copy of Cohen’s introductory remarks, in which Cohen will call the president a “conman” and a “cheat.” “In conversations we had during the campaign, at the same time I was actively negotiating in Russia for him, he would look me in the eye and tell me there’s no business in Russia and then go out and lie to the American people by saying the same thing,” Cohen intends to say, according to a copy of his opening statement obtained by theTimes. “In his way, he was telling me to lie.” one of the reasons he’ll begin serving a three-year prison sentence on May 6 (the others being financial crimes and campaign-finance violations).
To some, Cohen’s record makes him an unreliable witness. But to others, it makes him someone who realizes the consequences of lying to Congress. And this, based on numerous reports, is what he plans to say:
According to the New YorkTimes, Cohen plans to tell lawmakers that Trump initiated the $130,000 hush payment to Stormy Daniels meant to keep her quiet about the affair she says she had with Trump. While Trump has admitted to knowledge of the payments, he says he didn’t tell Cohen to make them. Wall Street Journalis reporting that Cohen will present “evidence of criminal conduct” related to the Daniels payment that occured “since Mr. Trump became president.” It’s unclear if Cohen will address the “catch and kill” deal he orchestrated to keep former Playboy model Karen McDougal quiet about an alleged affair with Trump. The WashingtonPostreports that Cohen is also expected to address a BuzzFeed News story alleging that Trump instructed Cohen to lie to Congress about the Trump Tower Moscow project. Robert Mueller’s office has disputed the BuzzFeed News story, which initially led some to call for Trump’s impeachment, and Cohen has yet to comment on it publicly. According to theTimes, Cohen will provide counter-evidence to BuzzFeed’s reporting, saying, “Mr. Trump did not directly tell me to lie to Congress. That’s not how he operates.”
According to a copy of the opening remarks obtained by theTimes, Cohen will provide a clear picture of the blurry timeline of Roger Stone’s contacts with WikiLeaks. “In July 2016, days before the Democratic convention, I was in Mr. Trump’s office when his secretary announced that Roger Stone was on the phone. Mr. Trump put Mr. Stone on the speakerphone,” the written statement says. “Mr. Stone told Mr. Trump that he had just gotten off the phone with Julian Assange and that Mr. Assange told Mr. Stone that, within a couple of days, there would be a massive dump of emails that would damage Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Mr. Trump responded by stating to the effect of ‘wouldn’t that be great.’” Speaking with reporters, Roger Stone has denied such a conversation took place.
the WashingtonPostreports. “Trump used high numbers for his purposes, such as getting on the top 10 wealthiest people on the Forbes list, and low numbers, when it came time to paying real estate taxes,” a person familiar with Cohen’s expected testimony told the paper.
Cohen also plans to tell lawmakers that Trump made racist comments in front of him, including “questioning the intelligence of African-Americans,”Politicoreports.
In the opening statement provided to theTimeson Tuesday night, Cohen claims Trump “once asked me if I could name a country run by a black person that wasn’t a “shithole.” This was when Barack Obama was President of the United States.”
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Everything to Know About Michael Cohen’s House Testimony