Michael Cohen in testimony plans to call Trump a 'racist,' a 'cheat' and a 'con man' - Southern Business Review


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Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Michael Cohen in testimony plans to call Trump a 'racist,' a 'cheat' and a 'con man'

President Donald Trump's former personal lawyer Michael Cohen plans to deliver explosive testimony before House lawmakers on Wednesday, according to a draft copy of his opening remarks.

Trump's former fixer, who once said he would take a bullet for the president, is set to say he is remorseful about his "misplaced loyalty" to Trump.

"I am ashamed that I chose to take part in concealing Mr. Trump's illicit acts rather than listening to my own conscience," Cohen plans to say on Wednesday.

"I am ashamed because I know what Mr. Trump is. He is a racist. He is a con man. He is a cheat."

Cohen's testimony says he will show "a copy of a check Mr. Trump wrote from his personal bank account – after he became president - to reimburse me for the hush money payments I made to cover up his affair with an adult film star and prevent damage to his campaign."

Trump, Cohen says, personally signed the check, dated August 2017, while he was president.

Another check presented as evidence shows a March 2017 payment co-signed by Donald Trump Jr. and Allen Weisselberg, the CFO of the Trump Organization.

Cohen's public testimony before the House Oversight Committee is expected to include a series of remarkable allegations about the presidential campaign.

In the text of his planned statement, obtained by NBC News, Cohen will say Trump was told by Roger Stone that WikiLeaks would publish emails stolen from the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton's campaign.

"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," Cohen is expected to say.

"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,'" Cohen's prepared remarks state.

Cohen, who is scheduled to report to federal prison May 6, will also testify in a closed-door hearing with the House Intelligence Committee on Thursday.

The White House has pre-emptively trashed Cohen's testimony, calling him a "disgraced felon."

"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," Trump said in a tweet on Wednesday.

"He did bad things unrelated to Trump. He is lying in order to reduce his prison time. Using Crooked's lawyer!" he added.

Cohen pleaded guilty to several charges last year in cases brought by the Southern District of New York and special counsel Robert Mueller's office, including financial crimes, lying to Congress and campaign-finance violations linked to hush-money payments given to two women who claimed they had sexual encounters with Trump.

Cohen implicated Trump in his campaign-finance confession. Trump has denied the affairs and all wrongdoing.

— CNBC's Terri Cullen and Mike Calia contributed to this report.