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tv   Inside Politics  CNN  February 27, 2019 9:00am-10:00am PST

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that reason that i spent the last week searching boxes in order to find the information that i did so that you don't have to take my word for it. i don't want you to. i want you to look at the documents. i want you to make your own decision sorry, sir. >> that's okay. let me just say i don't think my colleagues on the other side of the aisle are afraid that you're going to lie. i think they're afraid you're going to tell the truth. >> thank you, sir. >> i yield back the balance of my time. >> thank you very much. >> the gentleman from ohio is recognized. i appreciate the gentleman for yielding. i want to respond to mr. lynch. i want you to think about this. when have you seen this happen, lied three times under oath lying under investigation as we speak. jim baker fbi counsel demoted and currently under investigation by the u.s. attorney's office, lisa page demoted and then left and the counterintelligence, demoted and
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then fired. that's what happened. that's what we're concerned about and today we actually asked for rod rosenstein, oh, by the way, we now know three people have told us rod rosenstein actually was contemplating using the 25th amendment to remove the guy from presidency who the american people put there, and we asked for him to be a witness today and the chairman said no and instead we get 30 minutes from a guy who is going to prison -- going to prison in two months for lying to congress. mr. cohen, i've got two quick questions before i yield back to my colleague. mr. hice asked you who all you talked to. you spoke to mr. schiff and obviously you spoke to mr. cummings and you are here today and you will be in front of mr. schiff tomorrow. have you spoken to chairman nadler or anyone on his staff ors have your attorneys spoken to mr. nadler. >> i don't know -- i have not spoken to congressman nadler and i am not -- sir, i am not aware if my attorneys. i can ask them. >> you can turn around and ask
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them. >> the answer, sir, is no. >> okay. and you said at this present time mr. davis is not getting paid. are you anticipating him receiving some kind of compensation in the future? >> when i start to earn a living. >> he's going to wait three years? wow! >> the answer -- that's a first. i've never known a lawyer to wait three years to get paid. >> i guess he thinks it's important. >> all right. with that i yield to the gentleman of arizona. >> you are a disgraced lawyer. we've been disbarred. i'm sure you remember, maybe you don't remember, duty of loyalty, duty of confidentiality, attorney-client privilege. i think the gentleman over your right side actually understands that very, very well and would aren't do what you are doing here today. so let's go back at this credibility. you want us to make sure that we think of you as a real philanthropic icon, that you're about justice that you're the person that someone would call
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at 3:00 in the morning. no, they wouldn't. not at all. we saw mr. cohen dissect you right in front of this committee you conflicted your testimony, sir. you're a pathological liar. you don't know truth from falsehood. >> sir, i'm sorry. are you referring to me or the president? >> hey, this is my time. >> are you referring to me, sir or the president? >> when i ask a question i'll ask for an answer. >> are you familiar with the federal rules of criminal procedures? >> i am now. >> oh! so you understand that you've been in contact with the southern district of new york, is that true? >> i am in constant contact with the southern district of new york regarding ongoing investigations. >> and part of that application is to reduce sentencing time, is it not? >> there is a possibility -- >> yes. >> the answer is yes. >> it's not. >> so testimony here can
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actually help you out in getting your sentence lessened, isn't that true? >> i'm not sure how my appearance here today is providing substantial information that the southern district can use for the creation of a case. now, if there is something that this group can do for me i would gladly welcome it. >> well, i've got to tell you. america's watching you. i've been getting texts right and left and say how can anyone listen to this pathological person. he has a problem and he doesn't know fact from fiction and that's what's sad here. you didn't do this for donald trump to protect donald trump. you did it for you. this is all about you. this is all about you and this is all about this twitter feed. let me re-run those. another one. women who love and support michael cohen, strong, pitbull, sex symbol, no nonsense. >> 1,000 followers? >> ready to make a difference against the law. that's pretty sad.
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over and over again, we wanted to have trust. it's built on the premise that we're truthful that we come forward, but there's no truth with you whatsoever and that's why that's important to you to look up here and look at the old adage that our moms taught us, liar, liar, pants on fire. no one should ever listen to you and give you credibility. it's sad. it's sad that we have come. in fact, i want to quote the chairman's very words. this is a real -- hold on. the gentleman's time has expired. >> a sad day. >> mr. cohen, several times in your testimony you state the bad things that you did for mr. trump, and at some point you apparently changed your course of action as a recurring refrain in your testimony that says, and
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yet i continued to work for him, but at some point you changed. what was the breaking point at which you decided to start telling the truth? >> there are several factors. my psyche, charlottesville, watching the daily destruction of our civility to one another, putting up silly things like this. >> that's silly. >> really unbecoming of congress. it's that sort of behavior that i'm responsible for. i'm responsible for your silliness because i did the same thing that you're doing now for ten years. i protected mr. trump for ten years and the fact that you pull up a news articel that has no value to it and you want to use that as the premise for discrediting me, that i'm not
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the person that people called at 3:00 in the morning would make you inaccurate. in actuality, it would make you a liar which puts you into the same position that i am in, and i can only warn people the more people that follow mr. trump as i did blindly are going to suffer the same consequences that i'm suffering. >> what warning would you give young people who are tempted as you were, would you encourage them not to wait ten years to see the light? what advice would you give young people, in particular young lawyers, so they do not abuse their bar license as you did. >> look at what's happened to me? i had a wonderful life. i have a beautiful wife. i have two amazing children. i -- i achieved financial success by the age of 39. i didn't go to work for mr. trump because i had to. i went to work for him because i wanted to, and i've lost it all.
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so if i'm not a picture-perfect -- that's the picture that should be up there. if i'm not a picture-perfect example of what not to do that's the example that i'm trying to set for my children. you make mistakes in life and i've owned them and i've taken responsibility for them, and i'm paying a huge price as is my family. so if that in and of itself isn't enough to dissuade somebody from acting in the callous manner that i did i'm not sure that person has any chance very much like i'm in right now. >> a recurring theme in your testimony is concern for your family's safety. what, specifically, are you most concerned about? >> well, the president, unlike my cohen for trump that has 1,000 followers, he's got over 60 million people and when mr. trump turned around early in the campaign and said i can shoot somebody on fifth avenue and get away with it, i want to be very
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clear. he's not joking. he's telling you the truth. you don't know him. i do. i've sat next to this man for ten years, and i watched his back. i'm the one who started the campaign, and i'm the one who continued in 2015 to promote him. there were so many things i thought that he can do that are great and he can and is doing things that are great, but the destruction of our civility to one another is out of control and when he goes on twitter and he starts bringing in my in-laws, my parents, my wife, what does he think is going to happen? he's causing -- he's sending out the same message that he can do whatever he wants. this is his country. he's becoming an autocrat and hopefully something bad will happen to me or my children or my wife so that i will not be here and testify. that's what his hope was, was to intimidate me, and again, i thanked everybody who joined and
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said that this is just not right. >> have you ever seen mr. trump personally threaten people with physical harm? >> no. he would use others. >> he would hire other people to do that? >> i'm not so that he had to hire them. they were already working there. everybody's job at the trump organization is to protect mr. trump. every day most of us knew we were coming in and we were going to lie for him on something, and that became the norm and that's exactly what's happening right now in this country and it's exactly what's happening here in government, sir. >> thank you, mr. chairman. my time has expired. >> mr. armstrong? >> thank you. >> mr. chairman, can we take a break? >> not right now. >> okay. >> all right.
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[ inaudible ] >> i did, sir. >> that's okay. thank you, sir. [ inaudible ] >> thank you. >> all right. it's been going on now for more than two hours. a very, very explosive hearing before the house oversight committee. we've been hearing from michael cohen, jake. this is as expected, the republicans are ganging up on him. he's trying to defend himself. the democrats seem to be defending him. this is going to continue. it's very explosive. i suspect it's going to become even more explosive. >> yeah. the democrats, not surprisingly, are using this as a way to try to attack president trump, taking largely, i would say, his testimony at face value and assuming it's true even though as has been pointed out several times from across the aisle michael cohen has pleaded guilty and is going to prison partly
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because he lied to congress previously and democrats are focusing on trump and the republicans almost exclusively using their time to attack michael cohen and attacking his credibility, specifically because of the lies. of course, michael cohen got in a shot at president trump. somebody said something to him about all of the lies and he said are you talking about me or president trump? president trump has long been established by many fact checkers, not exactly allegiant to the truth himself and as far as i know never convicted of lying to the fbi or congress. >> some very, very explosive charges he's leveling against the president of the united states. >> effectively bank fraud by saying to deutsche bank that his net worth is more than according to michael cohen who says he knows these things and it was fraud against just generally against the american people. maybe fraud is the wrong word.
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i'll let jeffrey to be toobin and the lawyers over there, as aggressive as michael cohen has tried to be in saying mea culpa. i realize i'm not the perfect messenger, the republicans have continued to help him with that in an even more aggressive manner and the one potential problem that i thought michael cohen has is when he was asked if he wanted a job in the white house, and he said no. our reporting, i know, pam you have been told and i have been told by people in and around the process real time, he very much wanted a job in the white house. very much and i will say one other thing -- >> let me interrupt you for one second to show that clip that i think a lot of us here raised our eyebrows because we knew it to not be true. take a listen. >> how long did you work in the white house? >> i never worked in the white house. >> that's the point, isn't it, mr. cohen? >> no, sir. >> yes, it is.
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>> no, sir. you wanted to work in the white house and you didn't get brought to the dance. >> i was extremely proud to be personal attorney of the united states of america. i did not want to go to the white house. i was offered jobs. i can tell you a story of mr. trump reaming out reince priebus because i had not taken a job where mr. trump wanted me to which was working with don mcgahn at the white house general counsel. >> i think the issue there is that one sentence. i did not want to go to the white house. all of our reporting suggests that's not true. >> after he said that i reached out to reince priebus and his comment was no comment. he said i'm not getting involved in this and we of course, witnessed this real time that this president probably more than any other, if you want somebody in the white house they're there. you know, reince priebus and john kelly probably didn't want omarosa to be oworking in the
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white house, but they were there because the president wanted it to be so. so if michael cohen and the president wanted it to happen, more importantly the president it would have happened and he wanted it. >> jeffrey? >> i am struck by the breathtaking incompetence of the questioning and this endless bloviating and not actually getting any information out of the witness. a couple of times there were some facts disclosed. i thought it was very interesting that he talked a little bit about how the stormy daniels payment took shape and he mentioned that allen weisselberg was deeply involved in that. >> the cfo. >> the cfo of the trump organization, and of course, that the president was involved at every step in that process, which of course, the president has denied. the other thing i thought was interesting, congressman clay, it came up, that he says he submitted knowingly false financial statements to deutsche bank in order to get a loan to buy the buffalo bills. that loan was never given.
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they never bought the buffalo bills, but if he did. >> right. >> -- knowingly submit a financial statement that was false that's a crime in and of itself so that, i'll bet, pricked up the ears of prosecutors out and about. >> speaking of questions that i wish had been followed up and there were several, i found it striking that i think it was congresswoman maloney, but i might be mistaken asked about any other hush money payments made to any other individuals and cohen said something along the lines of i'd have to think about that which i find a little hard to believe given that this has been his life and i'm sure he's been thinking about it for quite some time and she kind of just let that go. okay, thanks. >> that's the answer i would have liked to hear, as well. the other answers i kept thinking about is what exactly did he answer under oath to mueller and how does that line up with some of these questions because i think for the legal jeopardy for the president, those are the only sworn statements he made so i'm
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curious. >> do you think cohen knows what trump said under oath to muler? >> i think probably not. it's hard to get at. overall the tenor here is using the old strategy of use a thief to catch a thief and that's what's going on here and both sides are using that strategy. >> so much of what was so incredible heading into today was we knew that michael cohen in large part was going to be restating things that have already been reported on particularly on an issue like the stormy daniels payments and the hush payments. this has been so thoroughly reported and the incredible thing today is we are seeing him say these things in public for the first time. >> and the check. >> right and he very much went into the details of the inner workings of the trump organization and all of you know very well, there is a theory in washington among people who know president trump very well that the thing that keeps him up at night more than anything else, perhaps maybe even more than the
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russia investigation is the scrutiny on his business and the trump organization. there was one point that was so fascinating where michael cohen described in great detail the conversations that he had with alan weisselberg, the cfo of the trump organization, and he said at one point he said why don't you pay for it and weisselberg said no, i don't want to use my money and so they brainstormed different ways of using the business including if seeing if someone wants to host a party at one of the trump clubs and using that as a hush payment or seeing if someone wants a membership at the golf club. that raises a lot of questions about the trump organization. >> i want to bring in another congressional witness testifying against the president except it was quite some time ago, but john dean, the former white house counsel for president nixon and cnn contributor joins us now, and probably there is nobody more expert on commenting on michael cohen and how he's doing, his credibility or lack thereof than you, mr. dean.
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what have you made of it so far? >> well, i think he's been very forthright. he has been taken a lot of contrition and his mea culpa has been excellent. i would have opted that he, after ten years, might have had a longer prepared statement and could have laid out some of the facts, but i think those will come out during the course of the day if the members keep probing. i find him a good witness at this point. >> what do you make of how partisan it has been especially compared to when you testified before the house and the quality of the questions? >> i -- i testified before both the house and the senate. the senate watergate committee was the first to launch and it was very interesting. they were seen very unpartisan when the cameras were up, but yet it was a cat fight when the cameras were off. so they -- the republicans did
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their fighting to try to mess it up as best they could behind closed doors and them they all agreed that we were going to go forward because they were outvoted. i was not surprised at what happened this morning. i'm sure michael was not surprised. they obviously are not happy with this witness. this is a witness that can cause the president trouble and they want to try to do everything they can to discredit him and discredit the proceedings. >> listen, john. this is wolf blitzer. listen to this exchange that occurred earlier. listen to this. >> because mr. dean, last night on a cable news network actually made it all very evident. john dean and i'll quote, mr. chairman, he said as a former committee counsel in the house judiciary committee and then a long term witness sitting alone at the table is important.
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quote, holding your statement as long as you can so the other side can't chew it up is important as well, closed quote, and so it was advice that our witness got for this particular body and mr. chairman, when you were in the minority you wouldn't have stood for it and i can tell you that we should not stand for it as a body. >> all right, john. that was mark meadow, the republican congressman from north carolina, the head of the tea party. what's your reaction to what he said? >> wolf, i think i gave pretty good gratuitous advice. michael can hold the statement as long as he could so they couldn't chew it up and sit alone at the table otherwise they probably would have had lanny davis under oath right now. they've done a lot of focusing on him and this isn't the day to do that. this is a day for michael to put his statement out and they can do that another time. those are just the normal pyrotechnics of a minority,
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desperate -- i'll accept the hearing. >> have you been consulting with michael cohen and lanny davis over the course of these past several months? >> i've never spoken with michael. i've known lanny for many, many years. we first met when we were anchor buddies during the clinton impeachment proceedings. >> john dean, thank you very much for calling in. we appreciate your expertise. let's go to capitol hill and talk to our capitol hill reporter manu raju. tell us what we're not seeing on camera. tell us how the members of congress are interacting. >> well, the republicans are essentially trying to troll michael cohen and they've put several posters in the room to show those women for cohen tweets, putting up there essentially making fun of him of sorts saying that people view
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him as those tweets that, of course, are praising him and those, of course, became a part of the back and forth. the republicans have been very eager to try to go after michael cohen who is frustrated by the chairman's decision to -- they were saying limit the testimony to not focus on other issues beyond the ones that he laid out in his initial scope of his hearing and interesting in the beginning of this hearing is elija cummings that said virtually all of the topics can be discussed and the russia investigation and the like, but nevertheless the republicans were eager to try to criticize cummings and also go after cohen's credibility, but coming out of this building democrats feel pretty good about where things stand right now and they expect a lot more fireworks for the rest of the course of this day. >> michael cohen is back in this hearing room. you see lanny davis, his lawyer,
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right in front of him and the chairman of the house oversight committee getting ready to convene this session. it's been going since 10:00 this morning, about a third, i'm guessing -- about a third of the 42 members of the house oversight committee have already had a chance to ask questions. this will continue now for several, several more hours. >> and while we wait for it to gavel back in, john king, let me just ask you quickly. you've heard republicans take shots at -- never mind. let's listen in. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. cohen, you have admitted to lying on your taxes. according to federal prosecutors in the southern district of new york you also lied to banks to get loans and the prosecutors wrote, quote, to secure loans cohen falsely understated the amount of debt he was carrying and omitted information for his
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personal financial statements to induce a bank to lend based on incomplete information, end quote, is that correct? >> that's correct. you lied on financial documents. so you lied to financial institutions in order to secure loans. so we established that you lied on your taxes, you lied to banks and you have been convicted of lying to congress. it seems to me that there's not much that you won't lie about when you stand to gain from it. in fact, the prosecutors for the southern district of new york noted that each of your crime, quote, there are common sense characteristics that are each involving deception and being motivated by your personal greed and ambition. is your appearance here today motivated by your desire to remain in the spotlight for your personal benefit? >> no, ma'am. >> you have sought out ways to rehabilitate your image from tax evader, bank swindler and all-around liar to an honorable, truthful man by appearing before cable news.
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i am concerned you could be using your story and this congressional platform for your personal benefit such as the desire to make money from book deals. so can you commit under oath that you have not and will not pursue a book or movie deal based on your experiences working for the president? >> no. >> you cannot commit to making money off of a book or movie deal based on your work? >> no. what i just -- there are two parts to your question. the first part of your question you asked me whether or not i had spoken to people regarding a possible book deal, and i have, and i've spoken to people who have sought me out regarding a movie deal. >> i didn't ask you -- >> that was the first part. >> i said can you commit under oath that you will not -- that you have not and will not pursue
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a book deal. >> and i would not do that, no. >> okay. can you commit under oath that you will not pursue opportunities to provide commentary for a major news network based on your experience in working for the president? >> no. >> can you commit under oath that you cannot pursue political office in the state of new york? >> no. >> so you don't commit to changing your ways, basically, because you want to continue to use your background as a liar, a cheater, a convicted liar to make money? that's what you want to do. >> and that's going to get me a book deal and a movie deal and a television and a spot on television? i don't think so. >> well, it appears that it will. i yield the remainder of my time, mr. chairman. >> i thank the gentle lady for yielding. mr. cohen, in your sentencing
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statement in the court of december of last year i want to arc apologize to the people of the united states. you deserve to know the truth. a month later buzz feed news ran a story that was the story in the country for a couple of days. buzz feed story ran january 17, 2019, on january 18th, your counsel went on tv and wouldn't confirm or deny the story. the next day the special counsel's office did something that's never happened, never happened. they said the description of specific statements to the special counsel's office and the characterization of documents and testimony obtained by this office regarding michael cohen's congressional testimony are not accurate. why didn't your lawyer the day that he's on tv when this story is the biggest thing in the news in the country, why didn't he deny the buzz feed story? >> because i didn't think it was his responsibility to do that. we are not the fact checkers for buzz feed. >> he's on tv to talk about the very story. you committed to the court. when you were trying to get your sentence reduced that the american people deserved to know the truth, you had the golden
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opportunity to give them the truth on a false story, the buzz feed story and your lawyer didn't say a thing. actually, he said this. i can't confirm. i can't deny. you had an opportunity to do exactly what you told the judge you were going to do one month after you said it and you didn't do it. why not? >> again, it wasn't our responsibility to be the fact checker for the news agency. >> this is the biggest story in the country. >> sir, let me, please -- the president says so far -- >> let me say one thing -- >> i have eight seconds. i'll let you finish. >> chairman, may i please finish? >> something they've never done. they said that story was false now you can respond. >> okay. >> my response. the president has told something over 9,000 dollars to date, do i ask mr. davis and mr. monaco and do i go on television in order to correct his mistakes? the answer -- sir, the answer is no. >> i would like --
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>> the gentleman's -- listen up. the gentleman's time has expired. you may finish answering the question and then we're going to go to mr. connelly. >> all i wanted to say is i just find it interesting, sir, that between yourself and your colleagues that not one question so far since i'm here has been asked about president trump. that's actually why i thought i was coming today. not to confess the mistakes that i've made. i've already done that and i'll do it every time you ask me about taxes and mistakes. yes, i've made mistakes and i'll say it now again and i'll pay the ultimate price and i am not here today and the american people don't care about my taxes. they want to know what it is that i know about mr. trump and not one question so far has been asked about mr. trump. >> mr. connelly? >> thank you, mr. chairman. well, mr. cohen, based on your testimony and your ten-year
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experience, i think you can recognize the behavior you're being subjected to on the other side of the aisle. disgranted, slander, use any trick in the book to prevent your testimony from sticking. the idea that a witness would come to us who is flawed and you certainly are flawed, means they can never tell the truth and there is no validity whatsoever to a single word they say would discredit every single criminal trial of organized crime in the history of the united states because all of them on someone who has turned. it would make rico null and void. we couldn't use it anymore. this congress, historically has relied on all kinds of shady figures who turned. one of the most famous who led to the decapitation of organized crime families in america joe
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valonti, congressional hearing and he was a witness and he committed a lot worse crimes than you're convicted of, mr. cohen. so don't be fooled by what my friends on the other side of the aisle are trying to do today. it is do everything, but focus the principle known as individual number 1 in the super district of new york as i recall, is that correct, mr. cohen? >> that is correct. >> mr. cohen, i want to ask you about something that's not in your testimony and so far has not been made public. in our committee staff search of documents provided by the white house that were otherwise redacted or already in the public and i guess the white house thought that was funny, they made one mistake, the white house. there was an e-mail from a special assistant to the president to a deputy white house counsel and the e-mail is dated may 16, 2017, and it says and i quote, potus, meaning the president, requested a meeting
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on thursday with michael cohen and jay sekulow. any idea what this might be about? end quote. do you recall being asked to come to the white house on or around that time? with mr. sekulow? may of 2017. >> off the top of my head, sir, i don't. i recall being in the white house with jay sekulow and it was in regard to the documents -- the document production as well as my appearance before the house select intel, but i'm not sure if that's specifically what you're referring to, but what i will do is i will check all my records and i'm more than happy to provide you with any documentation or a response to this question. >> well, you sort of touched on the presumably the purpose of the discussion at least among
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others. this occurred -- this meeting occurred just before your testimony before the select committee and intelligence here in the house, is that correct? >> i believe so, yes. >> was that a topic of conversation with the president himself? >> if this is the specific instance that i was there with mr. sekulow, yes. >> so you had a conversation with the president of the united states about your impending testimony before the house intelligence committee, is that correct? >> that's correct. >> what was the nature of that conversation? >> he wanted me to cooperate. he also wanted just to ensure by making the statement and i said it in my statement, there is no russia, there is no collusion. there is no, um, there is no deal. he goes, it's all a witch hunt and he goes, this stuff has to end. >> did you take those comments
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to be suggestive of what might flavor your testimony? >> sir, he's been saying that to me for many, many months and at the end of the day i knew exactly when he wanted me to say. >> and why was mr. sekulow in the meeting? >> because he was going to be representing mr. trump going forward as one of his personal attorneys in this manner. >> sort of a handoff meeting? >> correct. >> in any way, final question. did the president in any way from your point of view coach you in terms of how to respond to questions or the content of your testimony before the house committee? >> again, it's difficult to answer because he doesn't tell you what he wants. what he does is, again, michael there's no russia. there's no collusion. there's no involvement. there's no interference. i know what he means because i've been around him for so long. so if you're asking me whether
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or not that's the message that's staying on point and that's the party line that he created that so many others are now touting, yes, that's the message that he wanted to reinforce. >> the gentleman's time has expired. mr. massey? >> thank you. >> mr. cohen, can you just clarify. did you say that at times you would do what mr. trump wanted you to do and not specifically what he told you to do? >> at times, yes. >> so you just went on your intuition? >> i don't know if i would call it intuition as much as i would just say my knowledge of what he wanted because it happened before, and i knew what he had wanted. >> does a lawyer have a duty to provide his client with good legal advice? >> yes. >> were you a good lawyer to mr. trump? >> i believe so. >> when you arranged a payment to miss clifford you say in your testimony and i will quote from your testimony that you did so,
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quote, without bothering to consider whether that was improper, much less whether it was the right thing to do. you said that, end quote. that's your testimony today. you said you didn't even consider whether it was legal. how could you give your client legal advice when you are not even considering whether it's legal? >> i did what i knew mr. trump wanted. this conversation with mr. trump started -- >> i didn't ask whether you were a good fixer. i asked whether you were a good lawyer. >> sometimes you have to meld both together. i needed to at that time ensure and protect mr. trump, and if i put my -- which i'm clearly, clearly suffering the penalty of, i clearly -- erred on the side of wrong. >> so you feel like by without bothering to consider whether it was proper, much less whether it was the right thing to do by ignoring any conscience, if you
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have one, that you were protecting mr. trump? >> i'm sorry, sir i don't understand the question. >> did you feel that was how to protect -- as his lawyer you feel that you did a good job. you said you were a good lawyer, right? >> that's correct. >> was that being a good lawyer to not even consider whether it's legal or not? >> i didn't work for the campaign. i was working, and i was trying to protect mr. trump. i sat with mr. trump and this goes back all of the way to 2011. this wasn't the first scenario with miss daniels. so -- >> let's go back then. >> my point is this is -- this was an ongoing situation. it didn't just start in -- please, you have to let me finish. it started -- it didn't start in october. it started many years earlier. >> when were you disbarred? >> yesterday from what i read in the paper. >> yesterday. >> when should you have been disbarred based on the legal counsel you were giving your
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client? >> i don't have an answer for your question, sir? >> how long were you counsel for mr. trump? >> since 2007. >> when is the first time you gave him bad legal advice or failed to inform him of his legal obligations as you testified today you did in the case of the payment to miss clifford. when was the first time you did that? would that qualify you for disbarment? >> i don't -- i don't know, sir. i'm not the bar association. >> i think you should consult with them occasionally. >> no point now. i lost my law license. >> has anybody else promised to pay mr. davis for representing you? >> no. >> nobody has? >> no. are you offering? >> question, quickly. you said and this is also in your testimony and in the days before the democratic convention? you became privy to a conversation that some of hillary clinton's e-mails would
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be leaked, is that correct? >> correct. >> okay. that was in -- you said late july. do you know the exact day? >> i believe it was either the 18th or the 19th and i would ask that it would be on the 19th. >> but it was definitely july. >> i believe so, yes. do you know that was public knowledge in june and this was mr. assange and i would like to submit this to the record. >> without objection. >> mr. assange reported to the media on june 12th that those e-mails would be leaked. so i'm not saying you have fake news and i'm saying you have old news and there's not much to that. i would like to yield the remainder of my time to mr. higgins. >> thank you, sir. mr. cohen, i am quoting you close. i spent last week looking through boxes to find documents to support your accusations. where are those boxes? are they in your garage? >> they're in a storage.
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>> are these not boxes that should have been turned over to investigative authorities during the many criminal investigations you've been subject to? >> sir, these are the boxes that were returned to me after the raid. >> did they include data pertinent to crimes that you committed should they not be turned over or remanded to authority? did mr. lanny davis know of these bockes? >> i don't understand his question. >> very well. >> mr. cohen, good morning. thank you, chairman cummings for convening this hearing and thank you, mr. cohen, for voluntarily testifying this morning. mr. cohen, you were the executive vice president and special counsel for the trump organization, correct? >> i was the executive vice president special counsel to donald j. trump. >> and special counsel means you were the attorney for him, is that right? >> just means i was there in order to handle matters that he felt were significant and important to him individually.
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>> and those included legal matters? >> yes, sir. >> sir, as a former attorney you are familiar with legal documents known as nondisclosure ement g agreements or ndas, correct? >> yes. >> ndas properly written in scope can be reasonable in business contacts and they can also be abused to create a chilling effect to silence people as we've seen in the me too movement and other places, isn't that right, mr. cohen? >> yes. >> and mr. cohen, the trump organization used ndas extensively, isn't that right? >> that's correct. >> mr. cohen, i'm reading from a recent washington post article regarding the language in one of these types of ndas where the terms were described as very broad. for instance, the terms confidential information was defined to be anything that, quote, mr. trump insists remain private or confidential including, but not limited to
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any information with respect to the personal life, political affairs and/or business affairs of mr. trump or any family member, closed quote. do those terms sound familiar to you? >> i've seen that document. >> in fact, there is a class action lawsuit filed this month by former trump campaign worker jessica denison that this nda language is illegal because it is too broad, too vague and would be used to retaliate against employees who complain of illegality or wrongdoing. would you agree that in the use of these types of ndas with this type of language and later when donald trump sought to enforce them that he intended to prevent people from coming forward with claims of wrongdoing? >> yes. >> would you agree that the effect and use of the ndas and enforcement was to have a chilling effect on people or
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silence them from coming forward? >> if you want to define chilling? >> just this he would, in using these ndas or trying to enforce them would basically try to keep people silent. >> that was the goal. >> and nothing at the trump organization was ever done unless it was run through president donald trump, right? >> that's 100% certain. >> okay. mr. cohen, do you believe that there are people out there today either from the president's business or personal life who are not coming forward to tell their stories of wrongdoing because of the president's use of ndas against them? >> i am sorry, sir. i don't know the answer to that question. >> okay. sir, i have a couple of other questions for you. when was the last communication with president trump or someone acting on his behalf? >> i don't have the specific date, but it was a while ago.
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>> okay. do you have a general timeframe? i would suspect it was within two months post the raid of my home and hotel. >> early fall of last year generally? >> generally. what did he or his agent communicate to you? >> 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. >> fair enough. is there any other wrongdoing or illegal act that you are aware of regarding donald trump that we haven't yet discussed today? >> yes, and again, those are part of the investigation that's currently being looked at by the super district of new york. sir, congressman cooper asked
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you about whether you were aware of any physical violence committed by president trump. i just have a couple of quick questions. do you have any knowledge of president trump abusing any controlled substances? >> i'm wanot aware of that. no. >> do you have knowledge of president trump being blink wdet of child care payments? >> i'm on not aware of that. >> do you have of procedures for women not in his family? >> i'm not aware of that. >> i yield back. thank you. >> mr. cloud? >> thank you, chairman. mr. cohen, can you tell me the significance of may 6? in terms of -- >> a couple of months from now. >> that's the day i need to surrender to federal prison. >> could you, for the record state what you've been convicted of?
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>> i've been convicted of five counts of tax evasion. there's one count of misrepresentation of documents to a bank. there's two counts, one dealing with campaign finance for karen mcdougal, one count of campaign finance violation for stormy daniels as well as lying to congress. >> thank you. can you state what your official title with the campaign was? >> i did not have a campaign title. >> and your position in the trump administration? >> i did not have one. >> in today's testimony you said that you were not looking to work in the white house. the sentencing memo says this, cohen's criminal violations was stirred, like others, stirred by his own ambition and greed. cohen privately told friends, colleagues and including seized text messages that he expected to be given a prominent role in
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the administration. when that did not materialize cohen found a way to monetize his relationship in access with the president. were they lying or are you lying today? >> i'm not saying it's a lie. i'm just saying it's not accurate. i did not want to go to the white house. i retained -- and i brought in an attorney and i sat with mr. trump with him for well over an hour explaining the importance of having a personal attorney that every president has had one in order to handle matters like the matters i was dealing with which included some reserves for stormy daniels. >> i ask for unanimous consent -- excuse me, this is my time. thank you. i ask for unanimous consent to submit the sentencing memo from the southern district of new york for the record. >> without objection so ordered. >> i'll give that to you in a
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second. this memo says you committed four distinct crimes over several years. you repeatedly used your power to influence for deceptive ends. it goes on to say that you were -- that they each involved and they were distinct in their harms and bear a common set of characteristics and they involve deception and were by personal greed and ambition. there is a lot we don't know in regard to the investigation. here is what we do know. you were expecting a job at the white house and didn't get it. you made millions lying about the close access to the president and you have a history of lying for personal gain including banks about your accountant, to law enforcement, your family, the congress, the american people. the southern district of new york, you've said that you did all of this out of blind loyalty to mr. trump and your sentencing memo states this. this was not an act out of blind loyalty as cohen suggests. cohen was driven by a desire to
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further ingratiate himself. now we are in a search for truth and i don't know, chairman, how we are supposed to ascertain the truth in the quagmire of a hearing when the best witness has been convicted of lying before us, and what's sad is the american people have seen this play out before. we've had people in prominent positions fail and then a couple of years later they get a book deal. you are set to go to jail for a couple of years, and you come out with a multimillion book deal, that's not bad living, and so my question is is will you today -- will you today commit to donate any further proceeds to book deals, to film reviews to charity? >> no. >> thank you. >> will the gentleman yield? >> now, if -- may i finish? >> would the gentleman yield?
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>> yield to mr. meadows. >> chairman -- >> may i finish -- >> mr. cohen, he's yielded to me. my response. >> listen -- i'm asking the chairman, mr. chairman, may i finish my response? >> i will, but answer his question. i am concerned about your lies today. under your testimony just a few minutes ago to me you indicated that you had contracts with foreign entities and we have a truth and testimony disclosure form that requires you to list those foreign contracts for the last two years and you put n/a on there and it's a criminal offense to not have that accurately. so when were you lying either in the testimony to me earlier today or when you filled out the form? >> the gentleman's time has expired. mr. cohen, you may answer his question and whatever you wanted
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to say on the other. >> his question -- i don't have an answer for his question, but as -- >> no, no, no, no. mr. chairman! >> as it relates -- >> the gentleman is out of order. he said he does not have an answer. >> mr. chairman, when we were in the majority, with all due respect, mr. chairman, hold on. >> the gentleman has just said he doesn't have an answer and you have gone over your time. >> he is under oath to tell the truth. one of them is not accurate, mr. chairman. >> you will have time to answer the question. >> just a question, mr. chairman. just a question. >> mr. raskin. >> mr. cohen, thank you for your composure today. our colleagues are not upset because you lied to congress for the president. they're upset because you stopped lying to congress for the president. now you've described the trump campaign as a once in a lifetime moneymaking opportunity, the
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greatest infomercial of all time and this may be the observation of your own testimony, did you ever see when it stopped making money for the president, his family and his organization? >> yes. >> when did it stop being that? >> when he won the election. >> what did it become about at that point? >> then it had to be about figuring out what to do here in washington. >> can you carefully explain to america how the hush money payments to karen mcdougal and stormy daniels worked? can you carefully explain what catch and kill is? >> sure. i received a phone call regarding both karen mcdougal as well as stormy daniels. obviously, at different times, stating that there were issues that were going to be damaging to mr. trump. with the stormy daniels it started in 2011 when she wanted to have something removed from a website and that was the first
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time i met -- i spoke with keith davidson, her then acting attorney, and we were successful in having it taken down from the website. it wasn't until years later by around the time of the campaign did they come back and they ask what -- what are you going to do now because she's back on the trail trying to sell the story, at which point in time david pecker, on behalf of the national enquirer, reached out to her and her attorney in order to go take a look at the lie detector test that would prove that she's telling the truth. they then contacted me and told me that she was telling the truth, at which point -- >> she took a lie detector test. >> she allegedly took a lie detector test and was seen as an employee of the national enquirer, at which point in time i went to mr. trump's office and explained why this time it was different than another time.
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>> when you say another time. were there other women paid by the trump organization or hush money payment? >> no. >> you're not aware of any other case. >> i'm not of any other case which mr. trump paid. which brings us to karen mcdougal. he was supposed to pay. he was supposed to pay $125,000 for the life story of karen mcdougal. for whatever the reason may be, he elected not to pay it. david pecker was very angry because there was also other monies that david had expended on his behalf. unfortunately, david never got paid back for that either. >> so david pecker had done this in other cases of other mistresses or women? >> other circumstances, yes. >> okay. >> not all of them had to do with women. >> are you aware of anything that the president has done at home or abroad that may have subjected him to or may subject him to extortion or blackmail? >> i am not, no.
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>> okay. are you aware of any videotapes that may be the subject of extortion or blackmail? >> i've heard about these tapes for a long time. i've had many people contact me over the years. i have no reason to believe that that tape exists. >> in december 2015 donald trump was asked about his relationship with felix sader, a convicted felon and real estate developer and he replied, felix sader, boy, i'd have to think about it. i'm not that familiar with him. why did trump endeavor to hide his relationship with felix sader and what was the relationship? >> he certainly had a relationship and felix was with a company called bayrock that was in the deal of the trump soho hotel and the trump fort lauderdale project. why did he want to distance himself? that's what mr. trump does. he distances himself when things go bad for someone and at that
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point in time it was going bad for mr. sader. >> you said you lied to congress about trump's negotiations to build his moscow tower because he'd made it clear to you that he wanted you to lie. one of the represents you knew this is because, quote, mr. trump's personal lawyers reviewed and edited my statement to congress about the timing of the moscow tower negotiations before i gave it. so this is a pretty breathtaking claim, and i just want to get to the facts here. which specific lawyers reviewed and edited your statement to congress on the moscow tower negotiations and did they make changes made? >> there were changes made and additions. jay sekulow, for one. >> were there issues about the question? >> the gentleman's time has expired. you may answer. >> there were several changes made including how we were going to handle that message which was -- >> will you finish? >> yes. the message, of course, being the length of time that the
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trump tower moscow project stayed and remained alive. >> that was one of the changes? >> yes. >> first of all, i'd like to clear up something. just all of a sudden it bothers me. you started off your testimony and you said in response to some question that president trump never expected to win. i just want to clarify that i dealt with president trump several tiles as he was trying to get wisconsin. he was always confident and he was working very hard and this idea that he was just running to raise his profile for some future venture, at least in my experience is preposterous. i find it offensive when anti-trump people imply that he did this on a lark and didn't expect to win, but be that as it may. my first question concerns your relationship with the court. do you expect -- i mean, right now you're sentenced to three years, correct?
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>> that's correct. >> do you expect any time using this testimony or other testimony after you get done doing whatever you're going to do this week? do you ever expect to go back and ask for any sort of reduction? sentence? >> yes. there are ongoing investigations currently being conducted that have nothing to do with this committee or congress that i am assisting in and it is for the benefit of a rule 35 motion, yes. >> so you expect and perhaps what you testify here today will affect going back and reducing this what we think is a relatively three-year sentence and you expect to go back and ask for a further reduction. >> based on my appearance here today? >> well, based upon whatever you do -- >> the rule 35 motion is in the complete hands of the southern district of new york, and the way the rule 35 motion works is what you're supposed to do is
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provide them with information that leads to ongoing investigations. i am currently working with them right now on several other issues of investigation that concerns them that they're looking at. if those investigations become fruitful then there is a possibility for a rule 35 motion, and i don't know what the benefit in terms of time would be, but this congressional hearing today is not going to be the basis of a rule 35 motion. i wish it was, but it's not. >> i'd like to yield some time to congressman jordan. i yield to the gentleman. >> mr. cohen, i'm going to come back to the question i asked before with regards to your false statement that you submitted to congress. on here it was very clear that it asked for contracts with foreign entities over the last two years. have you had any foreign contract with foreign entities whether

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