On top of his claims of President Donald Trump being a racist, a conman and a cheat, Michael D. Cohen gave information during his testimony on Feb. 27 that could potentially implicate Trump through his use of campaign finances, talks with Russia and much more.
Cohen was Trump’s executive vice president, special counsel and then later on, his personal attorney when he became president. On Aug. 21 Cohen pleaded guilty to tax fraud, bank fraud and violating campaign finance laws. On Dec. 12 he was sentenced to three years in prison, forced to forfeit $500,000 worth of assets, and ordered to pay nearly $1.4 million to the IRS. On Nov. 29, he also pleaded guilty to lying to Congress about Trump’s business plans in Moscow, and agreed to cooperate with investigators who were looking into Russian interference in the election.
In his testimony, Cohen admitted that he originally told Congress the Moscow Tower project negotiations ended in Jan. 2016. However, this was false. Cohen revealed that they went on for months afterward and into Trump’s campaign. Cohen said that he lied to make the links between the Trump campaign and Russia seem as minimal as possible during the election.
The nearly seven-and-a-half-hour session on Capitol Hill allowed Cohen to explain to Congress many aspects of what he did while working for Trump, both before and during his presidency. In a 20-page opening statement, Cohen included examples of ways in which Trump indirectly asked him to break the law. Here are some highlights of the documents he provided copies of:
A check Trump wrote from his personal bank account after he became president to reimburse Cohen for the hush money payments he gave to an adult film star;
Financial statements from 2011, 2012 and 2013 that Trump gave to institutions such as Deutsche bank;
An article with Trump’s handwriting on it that reported on the auction from which Trump hired a bidder to buy a portrait of himself, which now hangs in one of his country clubs (Cohen claims the money for the portrait came from his non-profit organization);
Letters Trump ordered Cohen to write to his high school, college and College Board in which he threatened them to ensure that they did not release his grades or SAT scores.
Cohen also stated during the testimony that Trump was in conversation with Roger Stone, known for his opposition research for the Republican Party and who was working with Julian Assange, the director and EIC of WikiLeaks. Cohen claimed that Trump knew beforehand about Wikileaks releasing the Democratic National Committee’s emails.
In regard to how much Cohen implicated Trump, it is unclear. Cohen illustrated in his testimony that the president had a special way of getting what he wanted. While he rarely would directly tell Cohen to lie, he would imply it through his actions, Cohen said. In regards to the Moscow Project, Cohen said Trump would look him in the eye during the campaign and say, “there’s no Russia business,” while Cohen was actively negotiating in Russia for him. Cohen also stated that he does not know of direct evidence that Trump or his campaign colluded with Russia.
If you leave this article with anything, leave with this: If Trump really did once say to Cohen, “Don Jr. has the worst judgment of anyone in the world,” well, just be glad he’s not your dad. Also, how bad did Trump’s grades have to be to have him allegedly order Cohen to threaten his high school, college and College Board? Yikes!