tv Michael Cohen Testifies Before House Oversight Committee - Part 1 CSPAN February 27, 2019 8:00pm-10:14pm EST
don't cuddle up to our adversaries at the expense of our allies. finally, you don't shut down the government before christmas and new year's just so simply apiece your base. this behavior denigrates the office of the president and it's simply unamerican. and it's not you. so to those who support the president and his rhetoric as i once did, i pray the country doesn't make the same mistakes >> you been watching highlights from today's testimony by michael cohen. video now available at c-span.org. we will show you the house oversight community -- committee in its entirety, beginning with committee chair elijah cummings.
the committee will come to order. without objection, the kmar is authorized to declare a recess. full committee hearing -- hearing the testimony of michael cohen. former attorney to president donald trump. >> mr. chairman i have a point of order. >> you will state your point of order rule 9 f of the committee
rules say that any testimony from your witness needs to be here 24 hours in advance. the committee, the chairman knows well that at 10:08 we received the written testimony -- and then we received evidence this morning at 7:54. now, if this was just an oversight, mr. chairman, i could look beyond it. but it was an intentional effort by this witness and his advisers to once again show his disgain for this body. and that with i move that we postpone this hearing. >> i want to thank the gentlemen. >> let me say that this we go the the testimony late last night. we did. and we got it to you all pretty
much the same time that we got it. i want to move forward with this hearing. >> mr. chairman, with all due respect, mr. chairman, this is a violation of the rule. and -- and if it was not intentional i would -- i would not have a problem. i'm not saying it was intentional on your part. i'm saying it's intentional on his part, because mr. dean last night on a cable news network actually made it all very evident. john dean. i'll quote, mr. chairman. he said, as a former committee counsel in the house judiciary and then a long-term witness sitting alone at the table is important. quote, holding your statement as long as you can so the other side can't chew it up is important as well. close quote. and so -- 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. i can tell that you we we should not stand for it as a body, mr. chairman. >> let me say this. >> mr. chairman. mr. chairman. >> yes. >> i move to table. >> mr. chairman. >> just a zbleekd mr. chairman. mr. chairman i was asked to be recognized before the motion. >> the vote is so in tabling the motion to postpone. >> you know to had to hear this cnn had it before it we did. cnn had it before i want to be recognized. >> well, the vote is on tabling the motion to postpone. all in favor say ayep all poplawskied say no. no. >> the ay e. >> i appeal the ruling of the chair. >> yes i -- i can i assure you it's in the rules. i appeal the ruling of the chairs. >> do the rules matter, mr. chairman. >> move to table. >> move to waive the rules. >> there is a explosion. >> move to table.
>> the vote is -- the vote. >> she made two motions what's the motion. >> the vote is on tabling. >> i move to table the appeal to the ruling of the chair. >> the vote is on that. all in favor say ayee. >> all opposed say no. >> the ayes. >> ask for a recorded vote, mr. chairman. >> very well, the clerk will call the role. >> mr. cummings. >> yes. >> mr. cummings votes yes. miss maloney. >> yes. >> miss maloney votes yes. miss norton miss norton votes yes. mr. clay. mr. clay votes yes. mr. lynch >> ay e zblchlt mr. keeper votes
yes plp connolly. >> ip ay zbleechlt mr. chris krishnamoorthi. mr. raskin. mr. rafiqness voits yes. >> rouda. >> mr. roud aif vets owe. miss hill. >> miss hill votes yes. mr. wasserman schultz. >> miss wasserman schultz voeltz yes. mr. sarbanes jets yes. mr. welsch mr. welch votes yes process place spooe yets voe mr. kelly. yay. >> mittsdy sawn yeses votes yes. place lawrence miss lawrence voits yes. >> plaskett. votes yes. mr. cona mr. kahna votes yes mr. gomez. mr. gomez votes yes. miss ocasio-cortez votes yes. miss pressley miss pressley the votes yes. miscellaneous dlab. votes yes. mr. jordan. mr. jordan joets no.
>> mr. the amash votes know mr. gosar. mr. gosar vets no miss foxx. >> no. >> miss foxx votes know. >> massey mr. massey votes no mr. meadows no. >> no mr. meadows votes know. >> hice votes know. >> grothman. >> no. >> mr. grothman votes no. >> comer. >> mr. come he were votes no. >> cloud no. >> mr. cloud votesio. >> gibbs fwl gibbs votes no mr. higgins mr. norman no. >> mr. hirmen votes no. >> mr. roy votes no have miss miller. >> no. >> miss miller votes know. >> green. >> mr. green votes know. >> mr. armstrong votes no. mr. steube vets no. >> on this vote we have 24 yes,
17 nos. >> the motion to table is agreed to. the let me say this. you made it clear that did you not want the american people to haerp what mr. cohen has to say. but the american people have a right to hear him. so we're going to proceed. the merp people can judge his credibility for themselves. now. >> mr. chairman. >> yes. >> we did not say that we said we wanted to follow the rules. we didn't say stop the hearing just postpone it so we can get his testimony and exhibits when we were supposed to get them according to the rules of the committee. that's all we said we didn't say we wanted to hear from the. >> guy. >> le claiming the time i recognize myself for five minutes to give an opening statement. today the committee will hear
the testimony of michael cohen. president donald trump's longtime personal attorney and one of his closest and most trusted advisers over the last decade. the on august 231st mr. cohen appeared in federal court and admitted to arranging secret payoffs of hundreds of thousands of dollars on the eve of the election to silence women alleging affairs with donald trump. mr. cohen admitted to violating campaign finance laws and other laws. he admitted to committing these felonies, quote, in coordination with and at the direction of, unquote, president trump. and he admitted -- he admitted
to lying about his actions to protect the president. some will certainly ask if mr. cohen was lying then, why should we believe him now? >> in is a legitimate question. as a trial lawyer for many years, i faced this situation over and over again. and i ask the same question. here is how i view our role. every one of us in this room has a duty to serve as an independent check on the executive branch. ladies and gentlemen, we are in search of the truth. the president has made many statements of his own. and now the american people have a right to hear the other side.
they can watch mr. cohen's testimony and make their own judgment. we received a copy of mr. cohen's wrip statement late last night, including not only person eye witness accounts of meetings with donald trump as president inside the oval office, but it also includes documents and other corroborating evidence for some of mr. cohen's statements. for example, mr. cohen has provided a cup of a check sent while president trump was in office with donald trump's signature on it to reimburse mr. cohen for the hush money payment to stormy daniels. this is new -- this is new evidence raises a host of
troubling legal and ethical concerns about the president's actions in the white house and before. would you all close that door, please. thank you. this check is dated august 1st, 2017. six months later in april of 2018 the president denied anything about it. in april of 2018 president trump was flying on air force one when a reporter asked him the question, did you know about $130,000 payment to stormy daniels? the answer was, quote, no. a month after that, the president admitted to making payments to mr. cohen but
claimed they were part of a, quote, a monthly retainer, unquote, for legal services. in claim fell apart in august when federal prosecutors concluded -- and i quote, in truth, and in fact, there was no such retainer agreement, end of quote. today, we also hear mr. cohen's account of a meeting in 2016 in donald trump's office during which roger stone said, over speaker phone, that he had just spoken with julianne assange, who said there would be a quote, massive dump of emails that would damage hillary clinton's campaign, end of quote. according to cohen, mr. trump applied, quote, wouldn't that be great. end of quote. the testimony that michael cohen
will provide today, ladies and gentlemen, is deeply disturbing. and it should be troubling to all americans. we will all have to make our own evaluation about the evidence and mr. cohen's credibility. as he admits, he has repeatedly lied in the past. i agree with ranking member jordan, that this is an important factor we need to weigh. but we must weigh it and we must hear from him. but where i disagree fundamentally with the ranking member involves his efforts to prevent the american people from hearing from mr. cohen. mr. cohen's testimony raises grave questions about the
legality of president trump's conduct and the truthfulness of statements while he was president. we need to assess and investigate this new evidence as we uphold our constitutional oversight responsibilities. and we will continue after today to gather more documents and testimony in our search for the truth. i had made it abundantly clear to mr. cohen that if he comes here today and he does not tell him the truth -- tell us the truth, i will be the first one to refer that -- those untruthful statements to doj. so when people say he doesn't have anything to lose, he does have a lot to lose if he lies. and the american people, by the way, voted for accountability in november. and they have a right to hear
mr. cohen in public so they can make their own judgments. mr. cohen's testimony is the beginning of the process. not the end. ladies and gentlemen, the days of in committee protecting the president at all costs are over. they're over. before i close, i want to comment about the scope of today's hearing. at the request of the house intelligence committee, my very good friend adam schiff, congressman adam schiff, the chairman. i intended over the objections of the ranking member of our committee to limit the scope of the hearing to avoid questions about russia. however, mr. cohen's testimony -- in his written testimony he has made statements relating to russia. and these are topics that we
understand do not raise concern from the department of justice. so in fairness to the ranking member and all committee members, we will not restrict questions relating to the witness's testimony or related questions he is willing to answer. finally, i remind members that we will need to remain mindful of those areas where there are ongoing department of justice investigations. those scoping limitations have not changed. finally, and to mr. cohen, martin luther king mr. cohen said some words i leave with you today before you testify. he said, faith is taking the first step. even when you can't see the whole staircase.
there comes a time when silence becomes betrayal. our laws begin to end the day we become silent about things that truly matter. in the end, he says, we will remember not the words of our enemies but the silence of our friends. and with that, i yield to the distinguished gentleman, the ranking member of our committee, mr. jorden >> mr. chairman. point of parliament inquiry. >> yes. >> to the point. >> mr. jordan is recognized. >> mr. jordan is recognized for his opening statement. >> mr. chairman here we go. >> here we go. for big hearing first announced witness michael cohen. i want everyone in this room the firps announced witness for the 116th congress is a guy going to prison in two months for lying to congress. mr. chairman, your chairmanship
will always be identified with this hearing. and we all need to understand what this is. this is the michael cohen hearing presented by lanny davis. that's right. lanny davis, choreographed the whole thing. the let's bested the friend, operative, lanny davis you know how we know? he told our staff. he told the committee staff said the hearing was his idea he had to talk michael cohen into coming and he had to persuade the chairman to have it. he told uts took two months to get
the job done. but here we are. he talked him into it. this might be the first time someone convicted of lying to congress has appeared again so quickly in front of congress. certainly it's the first time a convicted perjurer has been brought back to be a star witness in a hearing. and there is a reason this is a
first. because no other committee would do it. think about this. with mr. cohen here this committee -- he we got lots of lawyers on this committee. this committee is actually encouraging a witness to violate attorney clinton privilege. mr. chairman, when we legislate imize dishonestdy we delegislate imize this institution. you have stacked the deck against the truth only allowed to ask certain questions even with the amendment you told us about russia is on the table. you initially told us you we can't ask question base the special counsel, the southern district of new york. can't ask questions about russia. nope, nope, the only subjects we can talk about are ones you think are going to be harmful to the president of the united states. and the answers to those questions are going to come from a guy who can't be trusted. here is what the u.s. attorney said about mr. cohen. while mr. cohen enjoyed a privileged life his zoir forever
greater wealth and influence the precipitated an intensive course of criminal conduct. mr. cohen committed four distinct federal crimes over a period of several year, motivated to do so by personal greed and repeatedly -- repeatedly used his power and influence for deceptive ends but the democrats don't care. they don't care. they just want to use you, mr. cohen. you're their patsy today. they got to find somebody, somewhere to say something so they can try to remove the president from office. because tom styer told them to. tom styer last week organized the townhall, guess where? chairman nadlander's district in manhattan. two nights ago tom styer organized a townhall, guess where? chairman cumming's district in baltimore. the best they can find, the best they can find to start this process, michael cohen.
fra frauds at theter, in two months a federal inmate. they didn't find him lanny davis did. i'll
say one thing about the democrats they stick to the playbook. remember how this started. the clinton campaign hired perkins cooy law firm who hired glenn sifrpd who hired christopher stooefl who put together the fake dossier though that the fiflk used to get a warrant oh spy on the trump campaign. when the scheme failed and the american people said we're making donald trump president, they said we got to do something else. so now clinton oilist clinton operative lanny davis persuaded the chairman of the oversight committee to give a convicted felon a forum to tell stories and lie about the president of the united states. so they can all start their
impeachment process. mr. chairman, we are better than this. we are better than this. i yield back. >> i wanted to note. >> mr. chairman, upper-level -- i have a motion. >> yield back. >> i have a motion. the gentlemen is recognized. >> i have a motion under rule 2 k zblieks you fielded back, zblier mr. chairman you took 7 minutes i took four. >> well the gentleman yielded back. >> that's how you operate first you don't follow the rules and now you're going to say you don't get -- you get to. >> point of order. >> you get to deviate from the rules. >> regular order. >> i just have a simple motion, mr. chairman. >> thank you. >> it's a point of order to have the testimony 24 hours in advance. >> i wanted to note. >> we've addressed that. >> under rule 114, all media and photographers must be officially credentialed to record these
proceedings and take photographs. i also wanted to briefly address the spectators in the hearing room today. we welcome you and we respect your right to be here. we also ask in turn for your respect as we proceed with the business of the committee today. it is the intention of the committee to proceed without any disruptions. any disruptions of this committee will result in the united states capitol police restoring order and protesters will be removed. and we are grateful for your presence here today and your cooperation. now i want to welcome mr. cohen and thank him for participating in today's hearing. mr. cohen, if you would please rice and i will begin to swear you in. raise your right hand. do you swear or affirm that the testimony that you are about to give is the whole truth, and
nothing but the truth, so help you god? let the record show the witness answered in the the affirmative. thank you. you may be seated. the microns are sensitive to please speak directly into them. without objection your written statement will be made part of the record. with that, mr. cohen, you are recognized to give an oral presentation of your testimony. is your mic on? >> yes. >> chairman cummings, ranking member jordan, and members of the committee, thank you for inviting me here today. i have asked this committee to ensure that my family be protected from presidential threats and that the committee be sensitive to the questions pertaining to ongoing investigations. i thank you for your help and
for your understanding. i am here under oath to correct the record, to answer the committee's questions truthfully and to offer the american people what i know about president trump. i recognize that some of you may doubt and attack me on my credibility. it is for this reason that i have incorporated into this opening statement documents that are err refutable and demonstrate that the information you will hear is accurate and truthful. never in a million years did i imagine when i accepted a job in 2007 to work for donald trump that he would one day run for the presidency. to launch a campaign on a platform of hate and intolerance and actively win. i regret the day i said yes to
mr. trump. i regret all the help and support i gave him along the way. i am ashamed of my own failings and publicly accepted responsibility for them by pleading guilty in the southern district of new york. "i" ashamed of my weakness and my misplaced loyalty, of the things i did for mr. trump in an effort to protect and promote him. "i" ashamed that i chose to take part in concealing mr. trump's illicit acts rather than listening to my oconscience. "i" ashamed because i know what mr. trump is. he is a racist. he is a conman, and he is a cheat. he was a presidential candidate who knew that rogerer stone was talking with julian assange
about a wikileaks drop on democratic national committee emails. i will explain each in a few moments. i am providing the committee today with several documents. and these include 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 to prevent damage to his campaign. copies of financial statements from 2011, 2012 and 2013. that he gave to such institutions such as deutsche bank. a copy of an article with mr. trump's handwriting on it that reported on the auction of a portrait of himself. that he arranged for the bidder ahead of time and then reimbursed the bidder from the
account of his non-profit charitable foundation with the picture now hanging in one of his country clubs. and copies of letters i wrote at mr. trump's direction that threatened his high school, colleges and the college board not to release his grades or s.a.t. scores. i hope my appearance here today, my guilty plea and work with law enforcement agencies are steps along a path of redemption that will restore faith in me and help this country understand our president better. and before going further, i want to apologize to each member, to you as congress as a whole. the last time i appeared before congress i came to protect mr. trump. today, i am here to tell the truth about mr. trump.
i lied to congress when mr. trump stopped negotiating the moscow tower project in russia. i stated that we stopped negotiating in january of 2016. that was false. our negotiations continued for months later during the campaign. mr. trump did not directly tell me to lie to congress. that's not how he operates. 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 is no russian business. and then go on to lie to the american people by saying the same thing. in his way, he was telling me to lie. there were at least a half dozen times between the iowa caucus in
january of 2016 and the end of june when he would ask me, how is it going in russia, referring to the moscow tower project? 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. so to be clear, mr. trump knew of and directed the trump moscow negotiations throughout the campaign and lied about it. he lied about it, because he never expected to win. he also lied about it because he stood to make hundreds of millions of dollars on the moscow real estate project. and so i lied about it too. because mr. trump had made clear to me through his personal statements to me that we both knew to be false.
and threw his lies to the country that he wanted me to lie. and he made it clear to me because his personal attorneys reviewed my statement before i gave it to congress. over the past two years i have been smeared as a rat by the president of the united states. the truth is much different. and let me take a brief moment to introduce myself. my name is michael dean cohen. and i am a blessed husband of 24 years and a father to an incredible daughter and son. when i married my wife, i promised her that i would love her. i would cherish her, and i would protect her. as my father said countless times throughout my childhood, you my wife and you my children are the air that i breathe. so my laura and to my sami and
to my jake, there is nothing i wouldn't do to protect you. i have always tried to live a life of loyalty, friendship, generosity and compassion. it's qualities my parents ingrained in my siblings and me since childhood. my father survived the holocaust. thanks to the compassion and selfless acts of others. he was helped by many who put themselves in harm's way to do what they knew was right. and that is why my first instinct has always been to help those in need. and mom and dad, i am sorry i let you down. as the many people who that know me best would say, i am the person that they call at 3:00 a.m. if they needed help. and i proudly remember being the emergency contact for many of my
children's friends when they were growing up, because their parents knew that i would drop everything and care for them as if they were my own. yet last fall i pled guilty in federal court to felonies for the benefit of, at the direction of and in coordination with individual number one. and for the record, individual number one is president donald j. trump. it is painful to admit that i was motivated by ambition at times. it is even more painful to admit that many times i ignored my conscience and acted loyal to a man when i should not have. sitting here today, if seems unbelievable that i was so mesmerized by donald trump, that i was willing to do things for him that i knew were absolutely
wrong. for that reason, i have come here to apologize to my family, to my government, and to the american people. accordingly, let me now tell you about mr. trump. i got to know him very well, working very closely with him for more than ten years hayes executive vice president and special counsel. and then as personal attorney when he became president. when i first met mr. trump, he was a successful entrepreneur, a real estate giant. and an icon. being around mr. trump was intoxicatesing. . when i were in his presence you felt like you were involved in something greater than yourself. that you were somehow changing the world. i wound up touting the trump narrative for over a decade. that was my job.
always stay on message. always defend. it monopolized my life. at first, i worked mostly on real estate developments and other business transactions. shortly there after, mr. trump brought me into his personal alive and private dealings. over time, i saw his true character revealed. mr. trump is an enigma. he is complicated, as am i. he is both good and bad, as do we all. but the bad four outweighs the good. and since taking office, he has become the worst version of himself. he is capable of behaving kindly, but he is not kind. he is capable of committing acts of generosity, but he is not generous. he is capable of being loyal. but he is fundamentally
disloyal. donald trump is a man who ran for office to make his brand great, not to make our country great. he had no desire or intention to lead this nation, only to market himself and build his wealth and power. mr. trump would often say this campaign was going to be the greatest infomercial political history. he never expected to win the primary, never expected to win the general election. the campaign for him was always a marketing opportunity. i knew early on in my work for mr. trump that he would direct me to lie to further his business interests. and i am ashamed to say that when it was for a real estate mogul in the private sector i considered it trivial. as the president, i consider it
significant and dangerous. but in the mix, lying for mr. trump was normalized and no one around him questioned it. in fairness, no one around him today questions it either. a lot of people have asked me about whether mr. trump knew about the release of the hacked documents, democratic national committee e-mails ahead of time. and the answer is yes. as i earlier stated, mr. trump knew from roger stone in advance about the wikileaks drop of emails. in july of 10u6r, days before the democratic convention, i was in mr. trump's office when his secretary nounsed that roger stone was on the phone. mr. trump put mr. stone on the speaker phone. mr. stone told mr. trump that he had just gotten off the phone
with mr. assange. and mr. assange told mr. stone that within a couple of days there would be a massive dump of email that is would damage hillary clinton's campaign. mr. trump responded by stating to the effect, wouldn't be that great. mr. trump is a racist. the country has seen mr. trump court white supremacists and bigots. you have heard him call poorer countries "shithole"s. s in private he is worse. he asked me if i could name a country run by a black person that went a "shithole." this was when barack obama was president of the united states. and while we were driving through a struggling neighborhood in chicago, he commented that only black people could live that way. and he told me that black people would never vote for him because
they were too stupid. and yet, i continued to work for him. mr. trump is a cheat. as previously stated, i am giving to the committee today three years of mr. trump's personal financial statements from 2011, 2012 and 2013 which he gave to deutsche bank to choir about a loan to buy the buffalo bills and to forbes. these are exhibits 1 a, 1 b and 1 c to my testimony. it was my experience that mr. trump inflated his total assets when it served his purposes. such as trying to be listed amongst the wealthiest people in forbes and deflate the his assets to reduce his real estate taxes. i am sharing with you two
newspaper articles, side by side, that are examples of mr. trump inflating and deflating his assets, as i said, to suit his financial interests. niece are exhibit 2 to my testimony. as i noted, i am giving the committee today an article he wrote on and sent to me that reported on an auction of a portrait of mr. trump. in is exhibit 3 a to my testimony. mr. trump directed me to find a straw bidder of him to purchase a portrait of him being axed off at a art hamptons event. the objective was to ensure the portrait auctioned last would go for the highest price of any portrait that afternoon. the portrait was purchased by the fake bidder for $60,000. mr. trump directed the trump foundation which is supposed to
be a charitable organization, to repay the fake bidder, despite keeping the art for himself. and please see exhibit 3 b to my testimony. and it should come as no surprise that one of my more common responsibilities was that mr. trump directed me to call business owners, many of whom are small businesses, that were owed money for services and told them that no payment or a reduced payment would be coming. when i asked mr. trump -- when i told mr. trump of my success, he actually reveled in it. and yet, i continued to work for him. mr. trump is a conman. he asked me to pay off an adult film star with whom he had an affair and to lie about it to his wife, which i did.
and lying to the first lady is one of my biggest regrets, because she is a kind, good person. and i respect her greatly. and she did not deserve that. and i am giving the committee today a copy of the $130,000 wire transfer from me to miss clifford's attorney during the closing days of the presidential campaign that was demanded by miss clifford to maintain her silence about her affair with mr. trump. and this is exhibit 4 to my testimony. mr. trump directed me to use my own personal funds from a home equity line of credit to avoid any money being traced back to him that could negatively impact his campaign. and i did that too. without bothering to consider whether that was improper, much
less whether it was the right thing to do or how it would impact me, my family or the public. and i am going to jail in part because of my decision to help mr. trump hide that payment from the american people before any voted a few days later. as exhibit 5 a to my testimony shows, "i" providing a copy of a $35,000 check that president trump personally signed from his personal bank account on august 1st of 2017. when he was president of the united states. pursuant to the cover-up which was the basis of my guilty plea to reimburse me the word used by mr. trump's tv lawyer for the illegal hush money i paid on his behalf. this $35,000 check was one of 11 check stlam mts that was paid
throughout the year while he was president. other checks to reimburse me for the hush money payments were signed by donald trump jr. and allen weisselberg. and see for that example 5 b. the president of the united states thus wrote a personal check for the payment of hush money as part of a criminal scheme to violate campaign finance laws. and you can find the details of that scheme directed by mr. trump in the pleadings in the u.s. district court for the southern district of new york. so picture in scene. in february of 2017, one month into his presidency, i'm visiting president trump in the oval office for the first time.
and it's truly you a inspiring. he is showing me all around and pointing to different paintings. and he says to me something to the effect of, don't worry, michael, your january and february reimbursement checks are coming. they were fedexed from new york. and it takes a while for that to get through the white house system. as he promised, i received the first check for the reimbursement of $70,000 not long there after. when i say conman, 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 s.a.t. scores. as i mentioned, i'm giving the committee today copies of a letter i sent at mr. trump's direction, threatening these schools with civil and criminal
actions if mr. trump's grades or s.a.t. scores were ever disclosed without his permission. and these are under exhibit 6. the irony wasn't lost on me at the time that mr. trump in 2011 had strongly criticized president obama for not releasing his grades. as you can see in exhibit 7, mr. trump declared, let him show his records. after calling president obama a terrible student. the sad fact is that i never heard mr. trump say anything in private that led me to believe he loved our nation or wanted to make it better. in fact, he did the opposite. when telling me in 2008 or 2009 that he was cutting employees salaries in half, including mine, he showed me what he claim
was a $10 million irs tax refund and said he couldn't believe how stupid the government was for giving someone like him that much money back. during the campaign, mr. trump said he did not consider vietnam veteran and prisoner of war senator john mccain to be a hero because he likes people who weren't captured. at the same time, 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 that there was no surgery. he told me not to answer the specific questions by reporters but rather offer simply, the fact that he received a medical
deferment. he finished the conversation the following comment, you think i'm stupid? i'm not going to vietnam. and i find it ironic, mr. president, that you are in vietnam right now. and yet, i continued to work for him. the questions have been raised about whether i know of direct evidence that mr. trump or his campaign colluded with russia. i do not. and i want to be clear. but i have my suspicions. sometime in the summer of 2017 i read all over the media that there had been a meeting in trump tower in june of 2016 involving don junior and others from the campaign with russians including a representative of the russian government and an e-mail setting up the meeting with the subject line, "dirt on hillary clinton."
something clicked in my mind. i remembered being in a room with mr. trump probably in early june of 2016, when something peculiar happened. donald trump, jr. came into the room and walked behind his father's desk, which in and of itself was unusual. people just didn't walk behind mr. trump's desk to talk to him. i recall don junior leaning over to his father and speaking in a low voice, which i could clearly hear, and saying, the meeting is all set and i remember mr. trump saying, okay, good. let me know. what struck me as i looked back and thought about the exchange between don junior and his father was first, that mr. trump had frequently told me and others that his son don junior had the worst judgment of anyone in the world. and also, that don junior would
never set up any meeting of significance alone, and certainly not without checking with his father. i also knew that nothing went on in trump world, especially the campaign, without mr. trump's knowledge and approval. so i concluded that don junior was referring to that june 2016 trump tower meeting about dirt on hillary with the russian representatives when he walked behind his dad's desk that day and that mr. trump knew that was the meeting don junior was talking about when he said, that's good, let me know. over the past year or so, i have done so real soul searching. i see now that my ambition and the intoxication of trump power had much to do with the bad decisio
decisions in part that i made. to you, chairman cummings and ranking member jordan and the other members of this committee, the members of the house and senate, i am sorry for my lies and for lying to congress. and to our nation, i am sorry for actively working to hide from you the truth about mr. trump when you needed it most. for those who question my motives for being here today, i understand. i have lied, but i am not a liar. i have done bad things, but i am not a bad man. i have fixed things, but i am no longer your fixer, mr. trump. i am going to prison and have shattered the safety and security that i tried so hard to provide for my family. my testimony certainly does not diminish the pain that i have
caused my family and friends, nothing can do that. i have never asked for, nor would i accept, a pardon from president trump. and by coming today, i have caused my family to be the target of personal, scurry lus attacks by the president and his lawyer, trying to intimidate me from appearing before this panel. mr. trump called me a rat for choosing to tell the truth, much like a mobster would do when one of his men decides to cooperate with the government. as exhibit 8 shows, i have provided the committee with copies of tweets that mr. trump posted, attacking me and my family, only someone burying his head in the sand would not recognize them for what they are -- encouragement to someone to do harm to me and my family.
i never imagined that he would engage in vicious, false attacks on my family, and unleash his tv lawyer to do the same and i hope this committee and all members of congress on both sides of the aisle make it clear that as a nation, we should not tolerate attempts to intimidate witnesses before congress and attacks on family are out of bounds and not acceptable. i wish to especially thank speaker pelosi for her statements in exhibit 9 to protect this institution and me, and the chairman of the house permanent select committee on intelligence adam schiff and you, chairman cummings, for likewise defending the institution and my family against the attacks by mr. trump and also the many republicans
who have admonished the president as well. i am not a perfect man. i have done things that i am not proud of and i will live with the consequences of my actions for the rest of my life. but today, i get to decide the example i set for my children and how i attempt to change how history will remember me. i may not be able to change the past but i can do right by the american people here today. i thank you for your attention. i'm happy to answer the committee's questions. >> thank you very much, mr. cohen. i recognize myself. mr. cohen, before i start, i want to make sure you really understand something. you have admitted lying to congress, to this very body, and now you're going to prison for it. do you, mr. cohen, recognize the
gravity of your offenses? you are a lawyer, right? >> as of yesterday i am no longer a lawyer. i have lost my law license, amongst other things. >> but you understand the gravity of this moment? >> i most certainly do, mr. chairman. >> i want you to really hear this, mr. cohen. we will not tolerate lying to this congress by anybody. we are in search of the truth. do you understand that? >> i do. >> now the president has also made numerous statements that turned out to be inaccurate. for example, he said he knew nothing about the hush money payments to miss clifford. in his 2017 financial disclosure form, said he never owed money to reimburse you for those payments. yet, in your testimony, mr. cohen, you said that you met
with the president in the oval office in february of 2017 and discussed his plans to reimburse you for money you paid. you say he told you and i, quote, don't worry, michael, your january and february reimbursement checks are coming. is that accurate? and was that in the oval office? >> the statement is accurate but the discussions regarding the reimbursement occurred long before he became president. >> would you explain that? >> back in 2017, when -- actually i apologize in 2016, prior to the election, i was contacted by keith davidson who is the attorney or was the
attorney for miss clifford for stormy daniels, and after several rounds of conversations with him about purchasing her life rights for $130,000, what i did each and every time is go straight into mr. trump's office and discuss the issue with him. when it was ultimately determined, this was days before the election, that mr. trump was going to pay the $130,000, in the office with me was allen weisselberg the chief financial officer of the trump organization, he acknowledged to alan that he was going to pay the 130,000, and that allen and i should go back to his office and figure out how to do it. so yes, sir, i stand by the statement that i gave, but there was a history to it. >> in your testimony, you have -- you said you brought
some checks, is that right? you said you brought some checks? >> yes, sir. >> let me ask you about one of these. this from the trump trust that holds the president's businesses, can you tell me who signed this check? >> i believe that the top signature is donald trump jr. and the bottom signature i believe is allen weisselberg's. >> can you tell me the date of that check? >> march 17th of 2017. >> now wait a minute. hold up. the date on the check is after president trump held his big press conference claiming that he gave up control of his businesses? how could the president have arranged for you to get this check if he was supposedly playing no role in his business?
>> because the payments were designed to be paid over the course of 12 months and it was declared to be a retainer for services that would be provided for the year of 2017. >> was there a retainer agreement? >> there is no retainer agreement. >> could don junior or mr. weisselberg have more information about that? >> mr. weisselberg for sure about the entire discussions and negotiations prior to the election, and don junior would have cursory information. >> now here's another one. this one appears to be signed by donald trump. himself. is that his signature? >> that is donald trump's signature. >> so let me make sure i
understand. donald trump wrote you a check out of his personal account while he was serving as president of the united states of america to reimburse you for hush money payments to miss clifford? is that what you are telling the american people today? >> yes, mr. chairman. >> one final question. the president claimed he knew nothing about these payments. his ethics filing said he owed nothing to you. based on your conversations with him, is there any doubt in your mind that president trump knew exactly what he was paying for? >> there is no doubt in my mind and i truly believe there is no doubt in the mind of the people of the united states of america. >> and these new documents appear to corroborate what you just told us. with that i yield to the gentleman from [ inaudible ].
>> i will make sure that you and i meet one day while we're in the courthouse and i will take you for every penny you still don't have and i will come after your daily beast and everybody else that you possibly know. i'm warning you, tread very f'ing lightly because what i am going to do to you is going to be f'ing disgusting, do you understand me? >> who said that? >> i did. >> did you say that, mr. cohen n your testimony on page 2, you said you did things for mr. trump in an effort to protect him. was that statement that i just read that you admitted to saying, did you do that to protect donald trump? >> i did it to protect mr. trump, donald trump, jr., ivanka trump and eric trump. >> in your sentencing statement back in december in front of the judge, you said this, mr. cohen, my weakness can be characterized as a blind loyalty to donald
trump a blind loyalty that led me to choose a path of darkness, is that right? >> i wrote that. >> you wrote and said that in front of the judge. >> that's correct. >> let me read a few other things and ask you why you did some of these things. when you filed a false tax return in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016, was all that out of blind loyalty to the president? >> no, it was not. >> when you failed to report $4 million in income to the internal revenue service, did you do that to protect donald trump? >> no, i did not. >> and when you failed to pay $1.4 million in taxes, i got constituents that don't make that in a lifetime, when you failed to pay $1.4 million in taxes to the u.s. treasury, was that out of some blind littlety to the president of the united states? >> it was not. but the number was $1.38 million and change and i have paid that
money back to the irs at this time. >> i think the american people appreciate that -- >> i would like to say it was over a course of five years. approximately $260,000 a year. >> that's what i said, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015. that's five years. >> yes. >> when you made false statements to financial institutions concerning a home equity line of credit, tax medallions on your park avenue apartment in 2013, 2014, 2015, and you pled guilty to making those false statements to those banks, was that all done to protect the president? >> no, it was not. >> how about this one, when you created the fake twitter account, women for cohen, and paid a firm to post tweets like this one, in a world of lie, deception and fraud, we appreciate this honest guy @michael cohen, #, tgif,
#handsome #sexy was that done to protect the president? >> i didn't set that up. it was done by a young laid that worked for red fitch and during the course of the campaign you would know it's somewhat crazy and wild and we were having fun. we were having fun. >> was it done to protect the president? >> that was not done to protect the. >> the was it a fake twitter account. >> it was a real twitter account. >> did you pay the firm to create this -- >> it was done by a young lady that works for the firm and again sir, we were having fun during a stressful time. >> the point is, mr. cohen, did you lie to protect the president or help yourself? >> i'm not sure how that helped me, sir. more than half the people on that site are men. >> here's the point. the chairman gave you a 30-minute opening statement and you have a history of lying over and over and over again and
frankly you don't have to take my word for it, take what the court said, take what the southern district of new york said, cohen, did crimes that were marked by a pattern of deception and that permeated his professional life. these crimes were distinct in their harms but bear a common set of circumstances they each involve deception and were each, each motivated by personal greed and ambition. a pattern of deception for personal greed and ambition and you just got 30 minutes of an opening statement where you trashd the president of the united states of america. mr. cohen, how long did you work for donald trump? >> approximately a decade. >> ten years? >> that's correct. >> you said all these bad things about the president there in the last 30 minutes, and yet you worked for him for ten years? >> i mean, if it's that bad i can see you working for him for ten days, maybe ten weeks, maybe
even ten months, but you worked for him for ten years. mr. cohen, how long did you work in the white house? >> i never worked in the white house. >> that's the point, isn't it? >> no, sir. >> yes, it is. >> no, it's not sir. >> you wanted to work in the white house. >> no, sir. >> you didn't get brought to the dance. >> sir i was extremely proud to be personal attorney to the president 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 working with don mcgahn at the white house general counsel's office. >> sir, one second. what i said at the time and i brought a lawyer in who produced a memo as to why i should not go in because there would be no attorney/client privilege and in order to handle some of the
smaer matters that i talked about in my opening it would be best suited for me not to go in and that every president had a personal attorney. >> here's what i see. i see a guy who worked for ten years and here trashing the guy he worked for for ten years, didn't get a job in the white house, and now and now you're behaving just like everyone else who has got fired or didn't get the job they wanted like andy mccabe, like james comey, same kind of selfish motivation after you don't get the thing you want. that's what i see here today and i think that's what the american people -- >> mr. jordan, all i wanted was what i got. to be personal attorney to the president, to enjoy the senior year of my son in high school and waiting for my daughter who is graduating from college to come back to new york. i got exactly what i want. >> the gentleman's time -- >> you're going to prison. >> i received exactly what i wanted. >> the gentleman's time has expired. miss wasserman-schultz.
>> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. cohen, thank you for being here today. as you likely know i served as the chair of the democratic national committee at the time of the russian hacks and when russia weaponized the messages that it had stolen, but i want to be clear, my questions are not about the harm done to any individual by wikileaks and the russians. it's about the possible and likely harm to the united states of america and our democracy. i have a series of questions that i hope will connect more of these dots. mr. cohen is it your testimony that mr. trump had advanced knowledge of the russia wikileaks release of the dnc e-mails? >> i cannot answer that in a yes or no. he had advanced notice that there was going to be a dump of e-mails, but at no time did i hear the specificity of what those e-mails were going to be. >> but you do testify today that he had advanced knowledge of
their imminent release? >> that is what i had stated in my testimony. >> and that he cheered that outcome. >> yes, ma'am. >> did mr. trump likely share this information with his daughter ivanka, son don junior or jared kushner? >> i'm not aware of that. >> was ivanka, jared or don junior still involved in the russian tower deal at that time? >> the company was involved in the deal, which meant that the family was involved in the deal. >> if mr. trump and his daughter ivanka and son donald jr. are involved in the russian trump tower deal is it possible the whole family is conflicted or compromised with a foreign adversary in the months before the election? >> yes. >> based on your experience with the president and knowledge of his relationship with mr. stone, do you have reason to believe that the president explicitly or implicitly authorized mr. stone to make contact with wikileaks and to indicate the campaign's
interest in the strategic release of these illegally hacked materials. >> i'm not aware of that. >> was mr. stone a free agent reporting back to the president what he had done? or was he an agent of the campaign acting on behalf of the president and with his apparent authority? >> no. he was a free agent. >> a free agent that was reporting back to the president what he had done. >> correct. he frequently reached out to mr. trump and mr. trump was very happy to take his calls. it was free service. >> roger stone says he never spoke with mr. trump about wikileaks. how can we corroborate what you are saying? >> i don't know, but i suspect that the special counsel's office and other other government agencies have the information that you're seeking. >> moving to later in 2016, a major wikileaks dump happens hours after the "access
hollywood" tape is released. >> i am unaware of that. i actually was not even in the country at the time of the billy bush tape. i was in london visiting my daughter. >> knowing how mr. trump operates with his winning at all costs mentality, do you believe that he would cooperate or collude with a foreign power to win the presidency? is he capable of that? >> it calls on so much speculation, ma'am. it would be unfair for me to -- >> i understand. you have a tremendous amount of experience. >> mr. trump is all about winning. he will do what is necessary to win. >> in your opinion and experience, would he have the potential to coclued with a foreign power to win the presidency at all costs? >> yes. based on what you know, would mr. trump or did he lie about
colluding and coordinating with the russians at any point during the campaign? >> so as i stated in my testimony, i wouldn't use the word colluding. was there something odd about the back and forth praise with president putin, yes. but i'm not really sure that i can answer that question in terms of collusion. i was not part of the campaign. i don't know the other conversations that mr. trump had with other individuals. there's just so many dots that all seem to lead to the same direction. >> finally, before my time expires, mr. cohen, the campaign and the entire trump organization appeared to be filthy with russian contact. there are russian business contacts, there are campaign
russian contacts, there are lies about all of those contacts, and then we have roger stone informing the president just before the democratic national convention that these -- that wikileaks was going to drop documents in the public arena that we knew at that point were hacked and stolen by russia from the democratic national committee. >> the gentle lady's time has expired. you may answer her inquiry. >> my question is -- >> quickly. >> given all those connections, is it likely that donald trump was fully aware and had every intent of working with russia to help make sure he could win the presidency at all costs? >> so let me say that this is a matter that's currently being handled by the house select and senate select intelligence committees, as i would rather not answer that specific
question other than just to tell you that mr. trump's desire to win would have him work with anyone and one other thing that i had said if my statement is that when it came to the trump tower moscow project, it was worth hundreds of millions of dollars and we never expected to win the election, so this was just business as usual. >> all right. >> thank you. >> from tennessee. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, mr. chairman. ranking member jordan, chairman in this committee promised the american people a fair and open process yet the democrats have limited the scope of this hearing they've issued a gag order to tell members of this committee what we can an cannot talk about. my colleagues on the other side of the aisle claim that they want the truth that they want transparency and fair oversight yet the democrats witness to
testify before congress today is none other than a scorned man who is going to prison for lying to congress. let that sink in. he's going to prison for lying to congress. and he's the star witness to congress. if you read the sentencing report on michael cohen, words like deceptive and greedy are scattered throughout that report. it paints a picture of a narcissist, a bully, who cannot tell the truth whether it's about the president or about his own personal life. but today, he's the majority party's star witness. if the democrats were after the truth, they would have an honest person here testifying. and if they were really after the truth, they would not restrict the questioning to just a few topics, but let's take a look at those restricted topics. mr. chairman, the first topic in your limited scope i can ask mr. cohen is about the president's debts. but mr. chairman, didn't mr. cohen plead guilty to lying to banks about his personal
finances? so we're asking a guy going to jail for lying about his debts to comment about the president's debts. he's the expert. mr. chairman, your next couple of topics say that i can ask mr. cohen about the president's compliance with financial disclosures and campaign finance laws, but didn't mr. cohen on two occasions break campaign finance law with his own donation? again, the majority party's star witness on the president's compliance is a guy who broke compliance laws himself. mr. chairman, you graciously allow us to ask questions of mr. cohen on the president's dealings with the irs and tax law. your star witness here, broke the law with regards to the irs at least five times. he pled guilty on cheating on his taxes, lying to the irs, he's the best witness you got. next up, with the permission of the chairman, i get to ask mr. cohen about his perspective on
the president's business dealings. let me get this straight, the witness lied to multiple financial institutions to get loans to pay off other loans just to keep himself afloat and he's going to be the expert on business practices. obviously, mr. chairman, the witness may produce documents he suggests incriminates the president yet he lies to banks all of those lies were done on fraudulent documents, documents that he forged. nothing he says or produces has any credibility apparently he even lied about delivering his own child which his wife had to correct the record. ladies and gentlemen, how on earth is this witness credible? with all the lies and deception the self-serving fraud it begs the question, what is the majority party doing here? no one can see this guy as credible. he will say whatever he wants to
accomplish his own personal goals. he's a fake witness. and his presence here is a travesty. i hope the american people see through this. i know the people back in tennessee will. and with that statement, sir, i have a few questions of the witness. with your loss of your law license, i think you mentioned in your opening statement you had been disbarred, what is your source of income in the future? >> i don't expect i'm going to have a source of income when i'm in federal penitentiary. >> what -- is there a book deal coming or anything like that? >> i have no book deal right now in the process. i have been contacted by many including for television, movie, if you want to tell me who you would like to play you i'm more than happy to write the name down. >> i'm sure there's a very -- >> i would like to correct your statement on me. >> no -- >> let me ask one other question i only have a limited amount of
time. who paid your expenses to be here today? >> who's paid my expenses? >> to be here today. >> i paid my expenses. >> mr. chairman i would like to yield the remaining of my time to the ranking member. >> mr. cohen, how many times did you talk to the special counsel's office? >> seven. >> did they talk to you at all in preparation for today's hearing between the seven times you talked to them prior to your sentencing, have you had any conversations with the special counsel's office between sentencing and today? >> i'm sorry, sir, i don't understand your question. >> you talked to them seven times in the sentencing memorandums in front of the court back in december. what i'm asking, how many times have you talked to the special counsel's office since then up to today's appearance here in congress? >> the gentleman's time has expired. you may answer that one question. >> i don't have the answer to that. >> it wasn't -- >> i'll come back to that. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. cohen, in your ten years of
working for donald trump, did he control everything that went on in the trump organization and did you have to get his permission in advance and report back after every meeting of any importance? >> yes. >> my -- >> there was nothing that happened at the trump organization from cowhether it s a response as the daily beast story you referred to ranking member that did not go through mr. trump with his approval. and sign off. as in the case of the payments. >> how many times did the president, michael, ask you or direct you to try to reach settlements with women in 2015 and 2016? >> i'm sorry, ma'am, i don't have the answer to that. i would have to go back and try
to recollect. it's certainly the two that we know about. >> and why do you think the president did not provide the accurate information in his 2017 financial disclosure form? what was he trying to hide? he corrected other forms but he isn't correct this one. >> the payments on the reimbursement of the funds that i extended on his behalf. >> can you elaborate more? >> well, going back into the story as i stated when we -- allen weisselberg and i left the office and went to his office to make the determination on how the money was going to be wired to the ayola, the interest on the lawyer's account for keith davidson in california, i had asked allen to use his money. i didn't want to use mine. he said he couldn't.
we then decided how else we could do it and he asked me whether or not i know anybody that wants to have a party at one of his clubs that could pay me instead or somebody who may have wanted to become a member of one of the golf clubs. and i also don't have anybody that was interested in that. and it got to the point where it was down to the wire. it was either we -- somebody wire the funds and purchase the life rights to the story from miss clifford or it was going to end up being sold to television and that would have embarrassed the president and it would have interfered with the election. >> but the president has never amended his 2017 form to this day and while you're facing the consequences of going to jail, he is not. >> i believe that they amended a financial disclosure form and there's a footnote somewhere buried. i don't recall specifically what
it says. but there is a footnote buried somewhere. >> can you describe, michael, to the american people catch and kill? >> so catch and kill is a method that exists when you are working with a news outlet, in this specific case it was ami, "national enquirer" david pecker and dylan howard and others, where they would contact me or mr. trump or someone and state that there's a story that's percolating out there that you may be interested in. and then what you do is you contact that individual and you purchase the rights to that story from them. >> and you practiced this for the president? >> i was involved in several of these catch and kill episodes, but these catch and kill scenarios existed between david
pecker and mr. trump long before i started working for him in 2007. >> michael, can you suggest who else this committee should talk to for additional information on this or anything else? >> yes. i believe david pecker, dylan howard, barry hevine of ami as well, alan weisselberg, allen garden at the trump organization as well. >> thank you very much for your testimony and mr. chairman, this is a story of redemption. >> thank you, ma'am. >> mr. comber. >> mr. cohen, in your testimony, you stated that you began work for the trump organization as a lawyer dealing with real estate transactions is that correct? >> that's correct. >> prior to coming to congress i served as a director of two different banks so i've seen hundreds of loan applications and to try to determine your credibility today i want to ask you a couple of real estate transaction questions to see how, in fact, you operate.
according to the southern district of new york prosecutors, you lied to banks to secure loans by falsely stating the amount of debt you were carrying. mr. cohen, my question to you, was it donald trump's fault that you knowingly committed a crime of deception to defraud a bank? >> no, it's not. >> was that fraudulent loan you obtained for the trump organization or for you personally? >> it would be for me, though i'm not familiar with which loan that you're referring to. i will -- i would like to say one thing, mr. -- sorry i would like to respond. when you are talking about -- >> when you pled guilty -- >> the home equity line of credit which is what i believe you're referring to -- >> we're referring -- >> no individual -- >> pertaining to your summer home you purchased. >> i never purchased a summer home. no individual on no bank in the 22 years that i've had loans have ever lost a dollar with me. i owe no money to any any bank. >> the banks usually find out if
someone is trying to deceive them. >> in 22 years i have no money. >> your loyalty -- >> that's ever been owed to any individual or any bank. >> did your so-called blind loyalty to the president cause you to defraud the bank for your own personal gain? >> i take exception to that because there's never been a fraud -- i never defrauded any bank. >> let's dig deeper on that on the bank fraud. according to the southern district of new york you failed to disclose more than $20 million in liabilities as well as tens of thousands of dollars of monthly expenses. that's according to the southern district of new york. now, mr. cohen, you being a lawyer, surely you knew you were breaking the law. why would you have done that? >> i'm not a cpa and i pled guilty. i'm going to prison as a result of it. >> because you're a con? >> no, sir because i pled guilty and i am going to be doing the time i have caused tremendous,
tremendous pain to my family and i take no happiness in the -- >> one last question about the bank, when the bank found out about the liabilities that you failed to disclose, you lied again to the bank, this is according to the southern district of new york, and said it had been expunged when, in fact, you shifted the debt to another bank. so apparently according to the information that we received, your intent to defraud the bank was for the desire to purchase the summer home for $8.5 million? >> no, sir. that would have been off of an equity line considering i had less than a 50% loan to value on the assets and it was a preexisting line of credit that existed years before the date that you're referring to where this is all surrounding new york city taxi medallions. >> you understand that when you failed to disclose liabilities,
especially $20 million in liabilities, that is, in fact, fraud? >> except even with the $20 million in liability -- >> how much was it? >> the medallions at that time were worth over $45 million. >> mr. cohen, you called donald trump a cheat in your opening testimony. what would you call yourself? >> a fool. >> you calling -- okay. well no comment on that. >> i appreciate it. >> we said we were in search of the truth. i don't believe that michael cohen is capable of telling the truth and i would hope that as this committee moves forward that when we have the opportunity to subpoena witnesses, we subpoena witnesses that are not recently disbarred, are not convicted felon, and witnesses that haven't committed bank fraud and tax fraud. that is how we're going to determine the truth. mr. chairman i yield the balance of my time to the ranking
member. >> i think the gentleman, i would make one point we just had a five minute debate where mr. cohen disputes what the southern district of new york found that the judge found he was guilty of committing bank fraud. if this statement doesn't say it all, cohen's consciousness of wrongdoing is fleeting his remorse minimal, instinct to blame others is strong. there's only one thing wrong with that statement, his remorse is nonexistent. you debated a member of congress saying i really didn't do anything wrong with the false bank things i'm guilty of and going to prison for. >> that's not what i said and you know that's not what i said. >> i pled guilty and i take responsibility for my actions. >> [ inaudible ]. >> shame on you, mr. jordan. that is not what i said. shame on you. >> mr. chairman. >> that's not what i said. what i said is i took responsibility and i take responsibility. what i was doing is explaining to the gentleman that his facts
are inaccurate. i still -- i take responsibility for my mistakes. all right. i am remorseful. and i am going to prison. i will be away from my wife and family for years, so before you turn around and you cast more dispersion, please understand, there are people watching you today that know me a whole better. i made mistakes. i own them. and i didn't fight with the southern district of new york. i didn't put the system through an entire scenario, but what i did do is i pled guilty and i am going to be, again, going to prison. >> mr. norton. >> mr. cohen, at the center of the reasons you're going to prison is conviction for campaign finance violations and they center around some
salacious revelations. "the washington post" reported or aired an "access hollywood" video. it set a record for the number of people who watched crashed the newspapers server. but this happened in early october on the cusp of the election. what was mr. trump's reaction to the video becoming public at that time and was he concerned about the impact of that video on the election? >> the answer is yes. as i stated before, i was in london at the time visiting my daughter who was studying there for a washington semester abroad and i received a phone call during the dinner from hope
hicks stating that she had just spoken to mr. trump and we need you to start making phone calls to the various different news outlets you have relationships with and we need to spin this and what we want to do is just claim this was men locker room talk. >> was the concern about the election in particular? >> the answer is yes. then couple that with karen mcdougal which then came out around the same time and then on top of that, the stormy daniels matter. >> yeah. and these things happened in the month before the election and almost one after the other. the stormy daniels revelation, where prosecutors and officials -- prosecutors learned
of that matter, and prosecutors stated that the officials at the magazine contacted you about the story and i'm -- the magazine, of course, is "the national enquirer," is that correct? they did? >> yes, ma'am. >> come to you? >> were you concerned about this news story becoming public right after the "access hollywood" story in terms of impact on the election? >> i was concerned about it but more importantly, mr. trump was concerned about it. >> that was my next question. what was the president's concern about these matters becoming public in october as we were about to go into an election? >> i don't think anybody would
dispute this belief that after the wild fire that encompassed the billy bush tape, that a second followup to it would have been pleasant and he was concerned with the effect that it had had on the campaign on be how women were seeing him and ultimately whether or not he would have a shot in the general election. >> so you negotiated the $130,000 payment. >> the $130,000 number was not a number that was actually negotiated. it was told to me by keith davidson that this is a number that miss clifford wanted. >> you finally completed that deal as it were on october 25th. >> 28th. >> days before the election. what happened in the interim? >> contemplated whether or not
to do it. wasn't sure if she was really going to go public. it was again some communications back and fort between myself and keith davidson. ultimately it came to either do it or don't and i had gone into mr. trump's office after i had done after each and every conversation and he told me he spoke to a couple friends, it's 130,000, not a lot of money, and we should just do it so go ahead and do it. at the time i was with allen weisselberg where he directed us to go back to mr. weisselberg's office and figure this all out. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> mr. betos. >> mr. cohen, do you know lynn patton? i'm right here. >> yes, sir. >> do you know lynn patton? >> yes, i do. >> i asked lynn to come today in her personal capacity to
actually shed some light. how long have you known miss patton? >> i'm responsible for lynn patton joinings the trump organization and the job that she currently holds. >> well, that's -- i'm glad you acknowledge that because you made some very demeaning comments about the president that miss patton doesn't agree with. in fact, it has to do with your claim of racism. she says that as a daughter of a man born in bir ming hamm, alabama, that there is no way that she would work for an individual who was racist. how do you reconcile the two of those? >> as neither should i as the son of a holocaust survivor. >> but, mr. cohen, i guess what i'm saying is, is i've talked to the president over 300 times. i've not heard one time a racist comment out of his mouth in private so how do you reconcile it? do you have proof of those conversations?
>> i would ask you to ask -- >> do you have tape recordings of those conversations? >> no, sir. >> you taped everybody else so why -- >> that's not true. >> you haven't taped anybody. >> i have taped individuals -- >> how many times have you taped individuals? >> maybe 100 times over ten years. >> is that a low estimate? i've heard it's over 200 times. >> i don't think. i think it's about 100 from what i would recall. you asked me a question. here's -- >> do you have proof, yes or no. >> i do. >> where's the proof? >> ask miss patton how many people who are black are executives at the trump organization? and the answer is zero. >> mr. cohen, we can go through this. here -- >> you asked me. >> i would ask unanimous consent her entire statement be put in the record. >> without objection. >> let me go on a little further. did you click $1.2 million novartis? >> i did. >> for access to the trump administration? >> no, sir.
>> why did you collect it? >> because they came to me based upon my knowledge of the enigma donald trump, what he thinks -- >> they paid you. >> let me finish. >> did they pay you $1.2 million to give them advice. >> yes, they did. multibillion dollar conglomerate came to me looking for information, not something that's unusual here in d.c., looking for information and they believed that i had a value. >> how many times did you meet with them. >> that value was the insight i was capable of offering them and they were willing to pay. >> how many times did you meet with them for $1.2 million, how many times did you meet with them? >> i provided them with both in person as well as telephone access whenever they needed? >> how many times? that's a question, mr. cohen. >> i don't recall, sir. >> did you ever talk to them? >> i spoke to them on several occasions. >> how many. >> six times. >> six times.
wow. $200,000 a call. >> sir, i also would like to -- >> hold on. >> i would like to bring your attention -- >> this is my five minutes and not yours. did you get money from the bank of kaz skik stan. >> it's not a bank of kazakhstan. it's called bta. >> bta bank, did you get money from them? >> i did. >> for what purpose? >> the purpose was because the former ceo of that bank had absconded with over -- it was between 4 to $6 billion and some of that money was here in the united states and they sought my assistance in terms of finding, locating that money and helping them to recollect it. >> so are you saying that all the reports that you were paid in some estimates over $4 million to have access and understanding of the trump administration, you're saying all of that was just paid to you just because you're a nice guy? >> i am a nice guy, but more importantly -- >> i would beg to differ. the record reflects that you're not a nice guy. >> each and every contract
contained the clause in my contracts that said i will not lobby and i could not do government relations work. in fact, in fact, novartis sent me their contract which stated specifically that they wanted me to lobby, that they wanted me to provide access to government including the president. that information, that paragraph was crossed out by me initialled and written in my own handwriting that says i will not lobby or do government relations work. >> so novartis representatives say it was like they were hiring a nonregistered lobbyist so you disagree with that? >> i don't know what they said, sir, but the contract speaks for itself. >> have you ever contacted anybody in the administration? >> yes. >> to advocate on behalf of any aspect of any of your contracts? >> >> the gentleman's time -- >> i ask unanimous consent, i ask unanimous consent --
>> the gentleman's time has expired you may answer the question. >> i don't know what you're referring to, sir. >> mr. chairman -- >> mr. clay. >> mr. chairman. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. cohen, i'm pleased you agreed to testify today voluntarily. in my view we are all here for just one reason and that's the american people are tired of being lied to. they have been lied to by president trump, they've been lied to by the president's children, they have been lied to by the president's legal representatives. it pains me to say that they have been even lied to by his congressional enablers who are still devoted to perpetuating and protecting this giant con game on the american people. now mr. cohen, i would like to
talk to you about the president's assets. since by law these must be reported accurately on his federal financial disclosure and when he submits them for a bank loan. mr. cohen, you served for nearly a decade as then businessman trump's personal attorney and so-called fixer. did you have -- did you also have an understanding of the president's assets and how he valued those items? >> yes. >> in november of 2017, cain's new york business reported that the trump organization provided, quote, flagrantly untrue revenue figures going back to at least 2010 to influence cane's ranking of the largest private companies in new york. according to the reports, while the trump organization reported
>> thank you. . . can you explain why you had these financial statements and what you used them for? these were used by me for two purposes, one was discussing with media whether "forbes" or other magazines to demonstrate mr. trump's significant net worth. that was one function. another was when we were dealing later on with insurance companies, we would provide them with copies so that they would understand that the premium on the individuals capabilities to pay would be reduced. >> and all of this was done at the president's direction and with his knowledge? >> yes, because whatever the numbers would come back to be we would immediately report it back. >> and did this information
provided to us inflate the president's assets? >> i believe these numbers are inflated. >> and, of course -- inflating assets to boost your ego is not a crime but to your knowledge did the president ever provide inflated assets it to a bank in order to help him obtain a loan? >>. >> the jejman's time has expired but you may answer that question. >> these documents and others were provided to deutsch bank on one occasion where i was with them in our attempt to obtain money so that we can put a bid on the buffalo bills. >> thank you for your answer. >> mr. -- >> i would like to yield to the gentleman from north carolina. >> i thank the gentleman for yielding and ask unanimous consent to put into the record an article from stat which indicates that mr. cohen's
promised access not just trump but also the circle around him it was almost as if we were hiring a lobbyist closed quote i ask unanimous consent. >> without objection. >> i ask unanimous consent that we put into the record a criminal referral for violating section 22 usc of the statute number 611. i ask unanimous consent that my letter referring mr. cohen for violating f rashgs a, for illegal lobbying activity be entered into the record. >> without objection. >> i ask unanimous consent that the first order of business for this committee is for us to look in a bipartisan way at criminal referrals at the next business meeting. >> these are not documents. they're objections. they're objections. >> so we're objecting to a unanimous consent request? s is that what --
>> i'll take care of -- >> yes. >> i will yield back. >> all right. let me be clear, mr. highs, i'm going to give you your whole five minutes in fairness to you. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> and mr. meadows, i -- the chairman the ranking member made me aware that i had given a little more time to miss wasserman-schultz. i was going to let you do that anyway. but i just want the committee to know that because wasserman sch. i'm going to be be strict on the five minutes. >> to set the record straight, you are a liar by definition. the facts are accurate. that would make you inaccurate. i would like to know who you
consulted with for today's hearing. lany davis and who else? >> my counsel, lanny davis and micha michael monaco. >> did you or any of them cooperate with the democratic party in preparing for this? >> i'm sorry. >> did you cooperate with the democratic party in preparing for this? >> prepare, what do you mean prepare? >> i prepared with my council. >> we spoke with chairman cummings and the party. >> with chairman schiff. >> spoke with chairman schiff and his people as well.
>> any or other acting as a lias for you or the majority party? >> i'm sorry. >> did you have a liason working with you preparing for this? >> we spoke with those people you raised. yes. >> tom stier. regarding him or any representatives? is he or any of them paying lanny davis to represent you? >> not that a i'm aware of. >> who is paying lanny davis? >> no one. >> so he's doing all of this work for no one. >> yes, sir. >> how did lanny davis come to
you? >> i reached out to him at the suggest of my former counsel who new him. >> so you reached out to mr. davis? >> yes, i did initially. >> okay. did you want to testify before congress or did he urge you to testify here? >> i was asked to come here. i am here, sir, voluntarily. >> did he ask you to come here? >> no, sir. >> he says that he did ask you to come here and he convinced you and he did the same with chairman cummings as well. so your testimony here is that you approached lanny davis to represent you and to come here. he did not persuade you to come here. >> he did not persuade me.
chairman cummings, which is part of the conversations we engaged in as well as chairman schiff and others. they spoke in order to ask me to come here voluntarily. >> i find the connecting. dots here with mr. davis and you and frankly the chairman and perhaps others to be rather stunning that there is an agenda for all of this happening here today. i believe frankly, that is to bring the president down. you made an oath last time you were here. that oath meant nothing to you then. we had an oath here in this very room about a month ago. it was, quote, be clear that i will speak the truth, nothing but the truth, so help me god. end quote. sounds like an oath to me. chairman made that oath in this
room. here we are today our first big hearing with you, as we all know a convicted liar, lying to congress, a criminal. i believe this witness is totally incompatible with the stated goal of seeking the truth in this hearing. this is the first time in the history of congress we have someone testifying here who has been convicted of lying to congress. so congratulations for being the first. mr. cummings as well. we have brought this committee to its knees in terms of losing its credibility. it is a shameful mockery of what our purpose is. i yield back. >> mr. lynch. >> let me pick up on those last comments. want to talk about a low point
mr. pap papadolis pled guilty, another indicted for obstruction of justice. for two years, you want to talk about an agenda, my friends on the other side of the aisle refuse to bring anyone up before the committee. today, we have one witness who voluntarily is coming forward to testify. your side ran away from the truth. we are trying to bring it to the american people. so mr. cohen, thank you for voluntarily coming before the committee to testify. i want to ask you about your statements regarding trump tower and moscow. you may not be aware of it. this goes back a ways. in 1987, he wrote he had ongoing
discussions with soviet officials then to build a large luxury owe tell across from the kremlin. in partnership with the soviet union. at that time, it was the soviet union. i want to ask you, in your filing with the special council mueller's office, the counsel wrote, and i quote, mr. cohen discussed the status of the moscow project with individual one on more than one occasions mr. cohen claimed to the committee and blamed family members of individual one about the project. who are we referring to hear as individual one? >> donald j. trump. >> and the company? >> trump organization through a sib sidry. >> and who are the family members you briefed on the
project. don trump jr. and ivanka trump. >> were these are the regular course of business or did they request the briefing? >> this is the regular course of business. >> do you recall how many of these briefings there might have been? >> approximately ten in total. >> you also wrote, i quote, there are at least a half dozen times between the iowa caucus the end of 2016 and the end of june when mr. trump would ask me, how is it going in russia? how did the president communicate those questions to you? was it verbally or over the phone? >> verbally mostly all of the time. he would say, michael, come walk with me. he was heading to a rally or a car. as i would walk him to the elevator, he would ask me
questions quickly regarding the series of issues. >> any doubt what he was referring to about the project in russia? >> no. this would be it. otherwise there would have been no reason to ask it of me. >> you wrote, quote, mr. trump new of and directed the negotiations throughout the campaign and lied about it, closed quote. how did the president actually direct the negotiations? >> after each communication i had, i would report back to him. our goal was to get this project. we were interested in building what would have been the largest building in all of europe. if i can say one last thing, this is on topic. the lies that i told to congress in fairness benefitted mr.
trump. in furtherance of my protection of mr. trump, which i stated in my temperature. i am not protecting mr. trump anymore. while i truly appreciate taking some of your time onto it, to attack me every single time that i had no credibility, it is for exactly that reason i spent the last week searching boxes to find the information that i did so you don't have to take my word for it. i don't want you to. look at the documents and make your own decision. >> let me just say -- i don't think my colleagues are afraid you are going to lie. i think you you are afraid you are going to tell the truth. >> thank you, sir. >> i yield the balance of my time. >> i just want to respond to mr.
lynch. when have you ever seen an agency where this happened. james comey fired, lied three times under oath as we speak. jim baker, fbi council demoted then left. currently under investigation. lisa page demoted then left. counter intelligence, demoted then fired. that's what happened. we asked for rob rosenstein. we know three people have told us rob rosenstein was contemplating using the 25th amendment to remove the guy from presidency. we asked for him to be a witness. instead we get 30 minutes from a guy who is going to prison for lying to congress. you were asked who all you talked to.
mr. schiff, cummings. you've gone before both committees. have you spoken to chairman adler or anyone on his staff? is. >> i don't know about my attorneys. i have not spoken them. i am not aware if my attorneys -- i can ask them. >> you can turn around and ask him. >> the answer is no. >> you said at this time, mr. davis is not getting paid. are you anticipating when i earn a living. >> he's going to wait three years? >> yes. >> i've never heard of that. >> i guess he thinks it is important. >> mr. cohen, you are a disgraced lawyer. you've been disbarred.
i'm sure you remember. maybe you don't remember duty of loyalty, duty of confidenciality, attorney-client privilege. i think the man over your shoulder knows that well and wouldn't do what you are doing here today. we want to think of you as this icon. you are the person somebody would call at 3:00 in the morning. no, you wouldn't. we saw mr. comber dissect you. in front of this committee, you conflicted your testimony. you are a pathological liar. you don't know truth from falsehood. >> are you referring to me or the president? is. >> this is my time. squoo are you familiar with rule 37 in the criminal rules and
procedures. >> i am now. >> it is understood you've been in contact with the southern distract with new york. is that true? >> i'm in content contact with the southern district of new york. >> part of that is the discussion of reducing sentence time? >> no, it is not. >> part of your reason for appearing today is to reduce your sentence time. >> i'm not sure how i am appearing here today. if there is something this group can do for me, i would gladly welcome it. america is watching you. i've been getting texts right and left saying how can anybody listen to this person. he doesn't know fact from fiction. you didn't do this for donald
trump. you did it for you. this is all about you. the twitter feed. let me read another one. women love michael cohen, strong, pit bull, sexy. ared to make a difference against the law. that is pretty sad. over and over again, we wanted to have trust. it is built on the premise we are truthful. there is no truth with you whatsoever. that is important to you. to look up here and remember the old adage our moms taught us. liar, liar pants on fire. no one should listen to you. it is sad. i want to quote the chairman's very words. this is a real -- hold on.
sad state. >> mr. colbert. >> mr. cohen, several times in your testimony, you state the bad things you did for mr. trump. and at some point, you apparently changed your course of action. there is a rekurn refrain that says and yet, i continued to work for him. at some point, you changed. what was the breaking point at which you decided to start telling the truth? >> there is several factors. helsinki, charlottesville, watching the daily destruction of our civility to one another, putting up silly things like this, really unbecoming of congress. that sort of behavior that i'm
responsible for. i'm responsible for your silliness. i did the same thing you are doing now for ten years. i protected mr. trump for ten years. the fact that you pull up a news article that has no value and you want to use that as the premise for december -- discrediting me and say i'm not the person that people would call at 3:00 in the morning, would make you a liar. people who follow mr. trump blindly will suffer the same consequences i'm suffering. >> what warning do you give young people who are tempted as you were. would you encourage them not to wait ten years to see the light?
what encouragement would you give young people, particularly lawyers to not abuse their bar licenses? >> look what happened to me. i have a wonderful wife and two children. i achieved success. i didn't have to go to work because i had to. i went to work wifor him becausi wanted to. if i'm the picture of what not to do. that's what i want to teach my children. i've made mistakes. i'm owning them. if that isn't enough to dissuade a person from acting as i did, i'm not sure that person has any chance very much like i'm in right now.
>> a recurring theme is the concern for your familiar's safety? what are you concerned about? >> the president has over 60 million people. when he 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 clear. he's not joking. he's telling the truth. you don't know him. i do. i sat next to this man for ten years and i watched this back. i'm the one who started his campaign and continued in 2015 to promote him. so many things i thought that he can do are just great. and he is doing are just great. but this destruction of civility, when he goes on
twitter and starts bringing in my inlaws, my wife, what does he think is going to happen. he's sending out the message he can do what he wants. it is becoming his country and he's becoming an autocrat. and hopefully something will happen to me, my family, my children so i won't be here to testify. i thanked everybody who joined and said that is just not right. >> have you seen mr. trump physically threat people with physical harm? >> no. he would use others. >> he had to hire people to do that? >> i'm not sure he would have to hire them, they are already working there. everyday most of us knew we were going to come in and lie for him on something. that became the norm. that is exactly what is happening right now in this