These Michael Cohen Quotes From His Testimony To Congress Will Floor You
Michael Cohen accused President Donald Trump of racism, cheating, and more in his testimony before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform on Wednesday morning. A copy of his opening statement was released before the session even began, revealing the first of many shocking Michael Cohen quotes from his testimony.
Wednesday's public testimony followed a Tuesday closed-door session in which Cohen spoke to the Senate Intelligence Committee. Senators said afterward that they had aggressively interrogated the lawyer but shared few details about what he said, according to ABC. While leaving Capitol Hill, Cohen said he was eager to address the public the following day.
"I really appreciate the opportunity that was given to me to clear the record and to tell the truth," Cohen told reporters, per The Hill. "I look forward to tomorrow, to being able to use my voice to tell the American people my story."
Cohen is set to head to prison on May 6. A federal judge gave him a three-year sentence in December for crimes that include tax evasion, campaign finance violations, and lying to Congress. If it's proven that Trump was involved in those crimes, the president could face legal repercussions of his own. Bustle has reached out to the White House for comment.
Here are the most notable parts of Cohen's testimony.
Cohen Alleged That Trump Knew The WikiLeaks Dump Was Coming
"Mr. Trump responded by stating to the effect of 'wouldn’t that be great,'" Cohen said in his opening statement that was obtained before the hearing by The New York Times.
One of the most significant parts of Cohen's testimony was his assertion that Trump knew in advance that WikiLeaks planned to publish leaked emails that could hurt Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign. Whether or not Trump knew beforehand has reportedly been a major line of inquiry for Robert Mueller's investigation.
He Alleged That Trump Insulted Countries Run By Black People
"He once asked me if I could name a country run by a black person that wasn't a 'sh*thole.' This was when Barack Obama was President of the United States," Cohen said in his opening statement.
Cohen previously alluded to this in a November interview with Vanity Fair, but was more explicit on Wednesday.
Cohen Flat Out Called Trump "A Racist"
"Mr. Trump is a racist," he said in his opening statement.
In that same Vanity Fair conversation last year, Cohen recalled a number of quotes from Trump that the interviewer labeled as "racist," but the lawyer didn't use that word himself. Now he's more explicitly accused the president of racism.
He Alleged That Trump Wanted Him To Lie To Congress
"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. In his way, he was telling me to lie," Cohen said.
Last month, BuzzFeed published a bombshell report that said Trump allegedly told Cohen to lie to Congress about the Moscow project. Robert Mueller quickly refuted the report; now it seems that the disagreement may have been over whether or not Trump explicitly told Cohen to be dishonest. In his testimony on Wednesday, the lawyer said that Trump made it clear he wanted him to lie but didn't directly say so.
Trump's Attorneys Allegedly Signed Off On His Lies, Too
"You need to know that Mr. Trump's personal lawyers reviewed and edited my statement to Congress about the timing of the Moscow Tower negotiations before I gave it," Cohen said.
Cohen has been convicted of lying to Congress over the timing of negotiations for a Trump Tower project in Moscow. While he originally swore under oath that efforts to build the tower had stopped in January 2016, Cohen later admitted that they continued until June 2016. Now he's also alleged that the president's attorneys approved his lies beforehand.
Why Trump Allegedly Lied About The Moscow Project
"To be clear: Mr. Trump knew of and directed the Trump Moscow negotiations throughout the campaign and lied about it," Cohen said. "He lied about it because he never expected to win the election. He also lied about it because he stood to make hundreds of millions of dollars on the Moscow real estate project."
There have been previous reports that Trump didn't actually believe he would win the 2016 presidential election, including Michael Wolff's 2018 book Fire and Fury.
Trump Allegedly Insulted His Own Son
Cohen said Wednesday that "Mr. Trump had frequently told me and others that his son Don Jr. had the worst judgment of anyone in the world."
The two have a complicated relationship: Don Jr. has admitted to wanting his father's approval, but his dad seems loathe to give it to him.
Cohen Said Trump Tried To Hide His Test Scores
"I'm talking about a man who declares himself brilliant but directed me to threaten his high school, his colleges, and the College Board to never release his grades or SAT scores," Cohen said of Trump.
Cohen also said he was providing Congress with copies of letters Trump ordered him to write that contained those alleged threats.
There Were Also Claims About Trump's Vietnam Draft Deferment
"Mr. Trump tasked me to handle the negative press surrounding his medical deferment from the Vietnam draft. Mr. Trump claimed it was because of a bone spur, but when I asked for medical records, he gave me none and said there was no surgery," Cohen told Congress. "He finished the conversation with the following comment. 'You think I’m stupid, I wasn't going to Vietnam.'"
According to The Hill, Trump received five draft deferments during the Vietnam War: four for educational purposes and one for a bone spurs diagnosis that, according to some reports, was deliberately falsified by a doctor. Cohen seemed to allege as much on Wednesday when he said that Trump told him he'd never had surgery for bone spurs.
Cohen Seemed To Suggest That There Could Be More Women That Trump Paid Off
When questioned about how many women Cohen paid to sign nondisclosure agreements for Trump, he did not say that it was definitively just Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal.
"It's certainly the two that we know about," Cohen said.
There May Be Even More Investigations Into Trump's Actions
"Unfortunately, this topic is something that's being investigated right now by the Southern District of New York, and I've been asked by them not to discuss and not to talk about these issues," Cohen said.
When Cohen was asked about the last time he spoke to Trump, he wasn't able to give a full answer because he said that the Southern District of New York is investigating the topic.
Overall, Wednesday's hearing was full of shocking statements and allegations about the Trump family.