The US President's former lawyer and 'fixer' Michael Cohen has told Congress Trump asked him to lie about a property deal in Moscow.
Cohen made the claim to the House Oversight Committee in congressional testimony. He also said Trump was a “racist” and “conman” and had knowledge of emails to Hillary Clinton being released.
Likening his former boss to a “mobster”, Cohen painted Trump as a habitual liar who has no qualms about covering up his illegal activity.
Cohen also said he had no “direct evidence” of collusion between Trump’s camp and Russia during the 2016 election campaign but he did reveal that prosecutors are investigating a meeting between Trump and his advisors after the FBI raided his hotel room for documents in April 2018.
In another revelation, he said Trump once said black voters would be “too stupid” to support him and that his racism was “even worse” behind closed doors.
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
Trump outraged by Cohen’s allegations
Trump, who is currently in Vietnam to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, hit out at Cohen on Twitter, saying that he had been disbarred for fraud and “is lying in order to reduce his prison time”.
Responding to questioning from Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Cohen said that Trump had improperly inflated and devalued assets for tax reasons.
He also named Donald Trump Jr. and the former CFO of the Trump Organization as being responsible for signing hush money checks to Stormy Daniels.
Republicans on the committee sought to discredit Cohen’s testimony, saying he had already pleaded guilty to lying to Congress. They also sought to shut down the hearing on procedural grounds and said it was politically motivated.
Congressman Jim Jordan of Ohio said Cohen was a “fraudster” and “convicted felon”.
“I fear that if he loses the election in 2020 that there will never be a peaceful transition of power,” Cohen says of Trump during his closing remarks pic.twitter.com/Jzx8rPi2EU
— TicToc by Bloomberg (@tictoc) February 27, 2019
Cohen says his loyalty to Trump had been “misplaced”
Cohen had once said he would “take a bullet” for Trump but told Congress he now regretted many of his actions.
“I am ashamed of my weakness and misplaced loyalty, of the things I did for Mr. Trump in an effort to protect and promote him,” he said.
“I am ashamed that I chose to take part in concealing Mr. Trump’s illicit acts rather than listening to my own conscience. I am ashamed because I know what Mr. Trump is.”
He also said that he feared there “will never be a peaceful transition of power” if Trump loses the 2020 election.
In his closing remarks, Cohen criticised his former boss over the government shutdown, skipping a World War I commemoration because it was raining, the controversial policy of separating migrant children from their parents and more.
Cohen concluded by saying, “I pray the country doesn’t make the same mistakes that I have made or pay the heavy price that my family and I are paying.”
Michael Cohen's admissions are "a big, big problem" for @realDonaldTrump and his lawyer now says he has information of interest to Robert Mueller's investigation. #Trump #US #politics #newshttps://t.co/H3xUmj9iij
— The CEO Magazine (@CEOMagazineAU) August 23, 2018
Trump’s former lawyer was sentenced to jail last year
In December 2018, Cohen was sentenced to three years in prison for lying to Congress when questioned by special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Rusian interference in the 2016 presidential election, making false statements to a financial authority and tax evasion.
Cohen will start his jail term in May for the offences, which included paying hush money to Stormy Daniels, a porn star who allegedly had an affair with Trump.