tv Michael Cohen Opening Statement CSPAN February 28, 2019 3:13am-6:02am EST
into the lives of 44 american presidents. true stories gathered into interviews by noted presidential historians. explore the lives that shift our leaders, the challenges they faced and the legacy they left behind. published by "public affairs" the book will be on shelves april 23 but you can preorder your copy as a hardcover or e-book today at c-span.org/the president, or wherever books are sold. >> in testimony before the house oversight committee, president trump's former personal attorney michael: accused the president of several crimes during the 2016 campaign and in the white house. mr. cohen has pled guilty to several felonies including lying to congress in previous testimonies. he has been sentenced to three years in federal prison beginning in may.
the hearing is available for viewing on c-span.org. here is mr. cohen's opening statement. 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.
>> riots of the election -- to the election, was contacted by keith davidson, the attorney, or was the attorney for ms. clifford, stormy daniels, and after several rounds of conversations with him fort purchasing her rights $130,000, what i did each and every time was go straight into mr. trump's office and discuss the issue with him. ,t was ultimately determined days before the election that mr. trump was going to pay the $130,000, in the office with me was alan why summer, chief
financial officer of the trump organization. he acknowledged to alan that he was going to pay the $130,000 and that alan and i should go back into his office and figure it.how to do so, yes, sir, i stand by that statement i gave. in yourmings: testimony, you said that there was some -- you said that you bought some -- cohen: yes, sir. rep. cummings: the trump trust that holds the president's businesses, can you tell me who send the checks? the tough signature is donald trump, jr.. then the bottom signature, i believe is alan weisel
nerg's. rep. cummings: can you tell me the date of the check? march 17, 2017. rep. cummings: that is after president trump held his press conference claiming he give up control of his witnesses. how could the present -- control of his businesses. how could the president have a range you to get the check if he was not playing a role in his businesses? >> because the pavements 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. rep. cummings: was there a retainer agreement? mr. cohen: there was no retainer agreement. rep. cummings: would donald eiselberg. or mr. w
have more information pertaining to that? would havethey cursory information. rep. cummings: here is another one. this one appears to be signed or .onald trump himself is that his signature? mr. cohen: that is donald trump's signature. rep. cummings: me make sure i understand. donald trump wrote you a check out of his personal account of he was serving as president of the united states of america to reimburse you for #payments to miss clifford. is that what you are telling the american people today? mr. cohen: yes, mr. chairman. rep. cummings: one final question. the president claims he knew nothing about these statements. his ethics filings said he owed nothing to you. based on your conversations with him, is there any doubt in your
mind the president trump knew exactly what he was paying for? mr. cohen: there is no doubt in my mind, and i truly believe there is no doubt in the minds of the people of the united states of america. rep. cummings: and these documents appear to corroborate what you just told us. with that, i will yield to the gentleman from -- i am warning you, tried very [beep] lightly, because what i will do to you. who said that? dr. huebner: i -- ? mr. cohen: i did.
>> that statement i just read, did you do that to protect donald trump? mr. cohen: i did it to protect mr. trump, donald trump, jr., a ivanka trump and eric trump. >> in your sentencing statement in december in front of the judge, you said this, my weakness can be characterized as blind loyalty to donald trump, a blind loyalty that led me to choose a path of darkness. is that accurate, mr. cohen? mr. cohen: i wrote that. >> let me read a few other things enemy ask you why you did some of these things. when he filed a false tax return 2014, 2015 and 2016, was that out of blind loyalty to the president? mr. cohen: no, it was not. >> when you failed to report for million dollars in income to the
internal revenue service committed you do that to protect. trump? mr. cohen: no, i did not. rep. jordan: when you failed to pay $9.4 million in taxes, i have constituents who don't make that in a lifetime, when you fitted to pay that to the u.s. treasury, was that out of some blind loyalty to the president? mr. cohen: it was not. but the number was 1.38 and change and i have paid and i have paid that money back to the i.r.s.. it rep. jordan: i think the american people appreciate about 1.38. : and that was over the course of five years. rep. jordan: got it. when you made false statements to financial institutions considering at home equity line of credit, taxi medallions under your apartment, you pled guilty to making those false statements to those banks.
was settled onto protect the president? mr. cohen: no, it was not. rep. jordan: when you created the fake twitter account -- women for cohen, paid to post tweets like this one -- in a world of lies, deception and fraud, we appreciate this honest cohen,#tgif,l #sexy, was that done to protect the president? by cohen: that was done someone else. during the campaign, it was crazy and wild, as you know, and we were having fun. rep. jordan: was it done to protect the president? not.ohen: it was rep. jordan: was it a fake twitter account? >> it was a real twitter account. it was done by a young lady who
worked for the firm. and again, sir, we were having fun during a stressful time. rep. jordan: did you like to detect yourself? mr. cohen: i am not sure of how sir.helped me se, it rep. jordan: here is the point. he just made an opening statement and you have a history of lying over and over and over again. don't take my word for it, take what the court said, the southern district of new york said, cohen did crimes of marked by a pattern of deception that permeated his personal life. these crimes were distinct in their harms bradberry, set of circumstances, they involved deception and were 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 trust the president of the
united states of america. mr. cohen, how long they do work for donald trump? mr. cohen: approximately a decade. rep. jordan: 10 years? mr. cohen: correct. rep. jordan: you said all those things in the past 30 minutes about the president yet you work for him for 10 years? if that is bad, i could see you working for him for 10 days, maybe 10 weeks, maybe 10 months, but you work for him for 10 years. mr. cohen, how longer do work in the white house? mr. cohen: i never worked in the white house. rep. jordan: and that is a point, isn't it, mr. cohen? mr. cohen: no sir. rep. jordan: you wanted to work in the white house? mr. cohen: i was extremely proud to be personal attorney to the president. 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 won mho, working with don mcgann at the white house general counsel's office. second. what i said, 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 matters i talked about in my opening, that it would be best suited for me not to go in, and that every president had a personal attorney -- rep. jordan: here is what i see. i see a guy who worked for 10 years trashing the guy who worked for, didn't get a job in the white house, and now you are behaving like everyone else will get fired or did not 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. i see that today and i think that is what the american people see. mr. cohen: all i wanted was to
be personal attorney to the president, to enjoy the senior year of my son in high school and waited for my daughter who was graduating from college to come back to new york. i got exactly what i want. rep. jordan: exactly what you want? mr. cohen: i received exactly what i wanted. rep. cummings: gentlemen your time has expired. >> mr. cohen, thank you for being here today. asyou likely know, i serve the chair of the democratic national committee at the time of the russian hack. when russia recognized the stolen. it had i want to be clear, my questions are not about the harm done to any individual by wikileaks and the russians, it is about the possible and likely harm to the united states and our democracy. i have a series of questions which are hopeful connect these dots.
is it your testimony mr. trump had advance knowledge of the russia we can leaks release of the dnc's emails? mr. cohen: i can't answer that in a yes or no. he had advance notice that there was going to be a dump of females, but at no time did i , but i dump of emails know time today here with specificity what the emails be.d >> but you testified today that he had advance knowledge of their imminent release? mr. cohen: that is what i stated in my testimony. >> and that he shared that outcome? ma'am.en: yes, >> the mr. trump share this information with his daughter ivanka, sans don jr., and eric trump junior? mr. cohen: i do not know that. >> where they involved in the russian tower deal at that time? mr. cohen: the company was involved in the deal, which meant the family was involved in the deal. >> if mr. trump and his daughter ivanka, and sons donald and eric junior were involved in the
trump tower deal, is it possible the whole family is conflicted or compromised with a foreign adversary in the months before the election? mr. cohen: yes. >> based on your experience, the knowledge of the president's relationship with mr. stone, do you have reason to believe the president authorized mr. stone to make contact with the campaign's interest in the strategic release of these illegally hacked materials? mr. cohen: i am not aware of he frequently reached out to mr. trump, and mr. trump was happy to take his calls. corroborate what
you are saying? but i suspectow, the special counsel's office and other government agencies have the information you are seeking. >> moving on to later in 2016, a major wikileaks dump after the hollywood take was released. are you aware of mr. trump coordinating or signaling this dump? >> i am not aware of that, i was not 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, or you believe that he would cooperate or tolude with a foreign power win the presidency? is he capable of that? it would be unfair of me --
mr. trump is all about winning. he will do what is necessary to win. would he have the potential to cooperate or collude with a foreign power to win the presidency at all costs? >> yes. >> based on what you know was mr. trump or did he lie about colluding and coordinating with the russians at any point during the campaign? testimony,ted in my i would not use the word colluded. was there something on about the back-and-forth with president putin? yes, but i'm not sure i can answer that in terms of , i was not part of the
campaign. i do not know what conversations he had with other individuals. that seemso many dots to lead to the same direction. rep. wasserman schultz: the campaign and the trump organization appeared to be filled with russian contacts. there are russian business contacts, campaign russian contacts, there are lies about all of his contacts, and then we have roger stone informing the president just before the democratic national convention 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. gentlelady'sthe time has expired. rep. wasserman schultz: given all those connections, is it
likely donald trump was fully aware and had every intent of help maketh russia to sure he could win the presidency at all costs? michael: this is a matter that is currently being handled by the house select and senate select intelligence committees. i would rather not answer that specific question other than to tell you mr. trump's desire to win would have him work with anyone. one other thing i had said in my statement, when it came to the itmp tower moscow project, was worth hundreds of millions of dollars, and we never expected to win the election. this was business as usual. rep. wasserman schultz: thank you mr. chairman. the chairman and this
committee have promised a fair and open process, yet democrats have limited the scope of this hearing and issued a gag order what we can and cannot talk about. my colleagues on the other side of the aisle claim they want the truth, transparency, oversight. witness is a scorned man who is going to prison for lying to congress. he is going to prison for lying to congress, and he is the star witness to congress. if you read the sentencing report, words like deceptive, greedy are scattered throughout the report and it paints a picture of a narcissist, a bully who cannot tell the truth about his own life. today, he is the majority party's star witness.
if the democrats were after the truth, they would have an honest person testifying. if they were really after the truth, they would not restrict the questioning to a few topics. let's look at those topics. the first topic in your limited scope is about the president's debts. plead guiltyhen about lying to banks about his personal finances? we are asking a guy going to jail for lying about his debts to comment about the president's debts. he is the expert. your next couple of topics say i can ask about the president's compliance of financial disclosures and campaign finance breakbut didn't mr. cohen campaign finance laws with his own donations? again, the majority party on the president compliance is a guy who broke compliance laws.
you allow us to ask questions of mr. cohen on the president's dealings with the tax law. your star witness broke the law five times and pled guilty on cheating on his taxes, lying to the irs. he is the best witness you have got? with the permission of the chairman, i get to ask about the perspective on the president's business dealings. the witness lied to multiple financial institutions to get loans to pay off other loans to keep himself afloat, and he will be the expert on business practices. the witness may produce documents that he suggests incriminate the president, yet he lies to banks. all of those lies were done on fraudulent documents that he forged. nothing he says or produces has any credibility.
apparently he lied about delivering his own child, and his wife had to correct the record. how on earth is this witness credible? 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 is credible, he will say whatever he wants to accomplish his own personal goals. he is a fake witness, and his presence here is a travesty. i hope the american people see through this. i know the people in tennessee will. with that statement, i have a few questions. with your loss of your law license that you mention in your opening statement you have been disbarred, what is your source of income in the future? michael: i do not expect to have an income in the federal penitentiary.
rep. green: is there a book deal? michael: i have no book deal. i have been contacted for many, including television and movies. if you would like to tell me who you want to play you, i will write the name down. to correct your statement, -- rep. green:? let me ask another question. who paid your expenses today? michael: i paid my expenses. rep. green: i would like to yield my time to the ranking member. how may times have you spoken to the counsel's office? michael: seven. rep. jordan: did they talk to you at all today and prior to your sentencing, michael: i do not understand your question. the memorandums in
front of the court in december, how may times did you talk to the special counsel office since then, up to today? the jenin time has expired. you may answer. mr. cohen, in your 10 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? michael: yes. nothing that happened at the trump organization, whether it was a response, as the daily beast story referred to that did not go through mr. trump, with his approval.
and signoff, as in the case of the payments. times didey: how many the president ask you or direct you to try to reach settlements with women in 2015 and 2016? i am sorry, i do not have the answer to that. i would have to go back and try to recollect. certainly the two we know about. rep. maloney: why do you think the president did not provide the information in his 2017 financial disclosure form? what was he trying to hide? he corrected his other forms but not this one. michael: the payments on the reimbursement of the funds i extended on his behalf. rep. maloney: can you elaborate more? michael: going back into the
story as i stated, when allen weiss and bird and i left the his office tot to make a determination on how money will be wired to the interest on the lawyers account for keith davidson in california, i had asked alan to use his money. i did not want to use my we heided how else we can do it asked me if i know anybody who wants a party at one of his clubs who could pay me instead, or somebody who wanted to become a member of one of the golf clubs. i do not have anybody interested in that. it got to the point where it was down to the wire, either somebody wire the funds and purchased the life rights to the clifford, or sold the television and that would
have embarrassed the president and interfered with the election. rep. maloney: the president has never amended his 2017 form to this day. you are facing the consequences of going to jail and he is not. michael: i believe they amended a financial disclosure in a footnote buried. i do not recall specifically what it says. there is a footnote. somewhere. rep. maloney: can you describe catch and kill? michael: david packer, dylan ould contact me and state there is a story percolating out there.
you contact that individual and purchased the rights to that story from them. maloney: you practice this for the president. michael: i was involved in several of these catch and kill episodes. these catch and kill scenarios existed between david packer and mr. trump long before i started working for him in 2007. suggestoney:, can you who wealth this committee should talk to for additional information on this or anything else? michael: yes, i believe david packer, dylan howard, barry , allen weisselberg, the trump organization as well. rep. maloney: thank you for your testimony. this is a story of redemption.
sayn your testimony, you you begin work for the trump organization as a launderer in the real estate organization. i have seen hundreds of loan applications and you try to determine your credibility today, i want to ask you real estate transaction questions to see how you operate. according to the southern district of new york, you lied bybanks to secure loans falsely stating the debt you are carrying. trump's that you knowingly committed a crime to bank.d a michael: no it is not. >> was that fraudulent loan for you personally? michael: it would be for me, though i am often know your what loan you are referring to.
when we are talking about the home equity line of credit which i believe the is what you are referring to, -- i never purchased a summer home. no individual and no bank in the 22 years i have had loans have ever lost a dollar with me. iao no money to any bank. -- i owe no money to any bank. did your blind loyalty to the president cause you to defraud the bank for your own personal gain? michael: i take exception to that, there has never been a fraud, i never defrauded any bank. rep. comer: let's dig deeper. you failed to disclose $20 million in liability as well as tens of thousands of dollars of monthly expenses according to
the southern district of new york. you being a lawyer, surely you knew you were breaking the law. why would you have done that? michael: i am not a cpa. pled guilty. going toilty, and i am be doing the time. i have caused tremendous pain to my family. rep. comer: one last question about the bank. when the bank found out about the liability you failed to disclose, you lied again and said it had been expunged when you shifted the debt to another bank. apparently, according to the information we received, your intent to defraud the bank was a desire to purchase the summer home? michael: no, sir.
that was off and equity line considering i had 50% loan to value on assets, and it was a pre-existing line of credit that existed years before the date you are referring to. this is also rounding new york city tax. rep. comer: you understand when you failed to disclose liability , that is fraud. michael: even with the 20 million in liability, medallions at that time were worth over $45 billion. michael: when you call donald trump a cheap in your opening testimony, what would you call yourself? michael: a fool. that.omer: no comment on were inrman, we said we search of the truth, i do not believe michael: is capable of
telling the truth. forward,ommittee moves when we have the opportunity to subpoena witnesses, we subpoena witnesses that are not recently disbarred or convicted felons. and witnesses that have not committed bank and tax fraud. that is how we will determine the truth. i yield the balance of my time to the ranking member. rep. jordan: we just had a five minute debate where mr. , if this statement does not say at all, consciousness of his remorse is minimal, his instinct is to blame others. his remorse is nonexistent. a member of congress and said i did not do anything wrong. ichael: that is not what said, and you know that is not
what i said. guilty, and i take responsibility for my actions. shame on you, mr. jordan. shame on you. that is not what i said. i said i took responsibility, and i take responsibility. what i was doing was explaining to the gentleman that his facts are inaccurate. i take responsibility for my mistakes. am goingrseful, and i to prison. i will be away from my wife and family for years. before you cast more dispersion, please understand there are people watching you today that know me and that i made mistakes, i own them, and i did not fight with the southern district of new york. pled guilty,, i
and i am going to prison. >> at the center of the reasons you're going to prison, convictions or campaign-finance violations, and they center around some salacious revelations. reportedington post" or aired and access hollywood video. it set a record for the number who watched, crashed the newspaper server. this happened in early october on the cusp of the election. trump's reaction to
the video becoming public at that time? was he concerned about the impact of that video on the election? michael: the answer is yes. as i stated before, i was in london visiting my daughter. i received a phone call during the dinner from hope hicks stating that she had spoken to mr. trump, and we need you to make phone calls to the various different news outlets that you have relationships with. we need to spin this. is men'so say this locker room talk. rep. norton: was there concern about the election? michael: the answer is yes. couple that with karen mcdougal which then came out around the same time, and then on top of
that, the stormy daniels matter. rep. norton: these things happened in the month before the election, almost one after the other. the stormy daniels revelation where prosecutors and officials of that matter, and prosecutors stated officials at the magazine contacted you about the story. the magazine of course is "the national enquirer." is that correct? michael: yes, ma'am. rep. norton: are you concerned about this new story becoming public right after the access
terms of the impact on the election? michael: i was concerned about it, but more importantly, mr. trump was concerned about it. rep. norton: that was my next question, what is the president's concern about these matters in october as we were about to go into the election. i do not think anybody would dispute this belief that after the wildfire i do not thiy would dispute from the billy bush tape that a second follow-up to it would have been pleasant. he was concerned with the effect it had on the campaign, on how women were seeing him, and ultimately whether or not he would have a shot in the general election. you negotiated a
$130,000 payment. michael: the $130,000 number was not one negotiated, it was told to me by keith davidson that this is a number ms. clifford wanted. rep. norton: you finally 28pleted the deal on october , days before the election. what happened in the interim? michael: i contemplated whether or not to do it. i was not sure if she would go public. there were communications back and forth between myself and keith davidson, and ultimately it came to either, do it or don't. at which time i had gone to mr. trump and his office after each and every conversation, and he told me he had spoken to friends , and $130,000 is not a lot of money, and we should just do it. go ahead and do it. whos with allen weisselberg
directed us to go back to his office and figure this out. rep. norton: thank you, mr. chairman. rep. nadler: mr. meadows. rep. meadows: do you know when pat? -- do you know lynn patton. michael: yes, i do. rep. norton: how long have you known her? forael: i am responsible her joining the trump organization and the job she holds. rep. norton: i am glad you acknowledge that. you made demeaning comments about the president that she does not agree with. it has to do with your claim of racism. of a manas a daughter born in birmingham, alabama, that there is no way she would work for an individual who was
racist. how do you reconcile those? michael: as neither should i as a son of a holocaust survivor. rep. norton: i guess what i am talked to the president 300 times and not heard one time a racist comment out of his mouth in private. how do you reconcile it? you have proof of those conversations? do you have tape recordings? you take everybody else. michael: that is not true. rep. norton: how many times have you taped individuals? michael: 100 times over 10 years. rep. norton: i heard it is 200. michael: no, it is 100. rep. norton: do you have proof? patton howked ms. many people were black our
executives at the trump organization? rep. norton: we can go through this -- i would ask unanimous consent that your entire statement -- that her entire statement be put into the record . let me go further. did you collect $1.2 million to thevartis for access trump administration? michael: no, sir. rep. norton: why did you collect it? michael: they came to me based on my knowledge of the enigma donald trump, what he thinks -- rep. norton: they paid you $1.2 million to give them advice. did.el: yes, they they came to me looking for information, not something unusual herei in cd.c. they believed i had a value, it was the insight i was table of offering them, they were willing to pay. rep. norton: how may times did
you meet with them? them with inovided person and telephone access whenever they needed. rep. norton: that is a question, how many times? michael: i do not recall. i spoke to them on several locations, six times. rep. norton: six times. wow. $200,000 a call. these are my five minutes, not yours. did you get money from the bank of kazakhstan? michael: it is not the bank of kazakhstan. rep. norton: did you get money from them? michael: i did. hadformer ceo of that bank absconded with between $4 billion and $6 billion, and some of the money was here in the united states, and they thought my assistance in locating that
money and helping them reflected. rep. norton: are you saying all the reports that you were paid over $4 million to have access and understanding of the trump administration, you are saying all of that was paid to you because you're a nice guy? michael: i am a nice guy, but more important -- for each and every contract contained a clause in my contract that said, i will not lobby, and i do not do government relations work. in fact, novartis sent me their contract which stated specifically that they wanted me to lobby, they wanted me to provide access to the government including the president. out paragraph was crossed by me, initial, and written in my own handwriting lobby or do government relations work. representatives say
it was like they were hiring a non-registered lobbyist. do you disagree? michael: i don't know what they said. >> have you ever contacted anyone in the administration? michael: yes. >> to advocate on any aspect of your contracts? i ask unanimous consent, mr. chairman. >> the general's time has expired. you may answer the question. michael: i don't know what you are referring to. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. cohen, i am pleased you offered to volunteer to testify. we are here for one reason, the american people are tired of being lied to. they have been lied to by president trump, they have been lied to by the president's children. they have been lied to by the
president legal representatives. it pains me to say they have been lied to by his areressional enablers, who devoted to perpetuating and protecting this giant conga him on the american people. mr. cohen, i would like to speak with you about the president's assets. these must be reported accurately on his financial disclosure and when he submits them for a bank loan. mr. cohen, you served for nearly attorney and so-called fixer. did you also have an understanding of the president's assets and how he devalued those
items? michael: yes. >> in november of 2017, it was reported the trump organization provided flagrantly untrue revenue figures going back until at least 2010 to influence the ranking of the largest private companies in new york. according to the reports, while the trump organization reported billion in revenue in 2016, public filings suggested revenues were actually less than 1/10 of that. to your knowledge, did the president or his company ever inflate assets or revenue? michael: yes. >> was that done with the president's knowledge or direction? was doneeverything with the knowledge and the direction of president trump. >> tell us why he would do that
and what service -- what purpose it would serve. michael: there were times i was asked to go back and speak with an individual from forbes because mr. trump wanted each riseto have his net worth on the forbes wealthiest individuals list. what you do is you look at the assets and you try to find an has, say, for example , one 2 million square feet, find an asset that is comparable, find the highest price per square foot that is achieved in the area, and apply it to that building. or, if you are going off your rent roll, you go off the process rent roll by multiple and you make up the multiple, which is something he talked about and it was based upon what
he want you value the asset at. >> you have provided this committee with copies of the president's financial statements from 2011, 2012 and 2013. mr. chairman, i would like to submit those for the record. i would like to submit statements to the record. why you hadain these financial statements and what you them for? michael: these financial statements were used by me for two purposes: one was discussing with media, whether forms or other magazines, to demonstrate mr. trump's significant net worth. that was one function. dealingwas one we were later on with insurance companies, we would provide them with these copies so they would
understand the premium, which is based sometimes upon the individual's- capability to pay would be reduced. >> all of this was done at the president's direction and with his knowledge? michael: yes. we would report it back. >> did this information provided to us inflate the president's assets? michael: i believe these numbers are inflated. to win aing assets newspaper poll to boost your ego is not a crime but to your knowledge, did the president ever provide inflated assets to a bank in order to help him obtain a loan? >> you may answer that question. michael: these documents and others were provided to deutsche bank on one occasion when i was
with them in our attempt to obtain money so that we could put a bid on the buffalo bills. >> thank you for your answer. >> i thank the gentleman for yielding. i want to ask consent to put into the record an article which indicates that mr. cohen's promise to access not just trump but the circle around him was almost as if we were hiring a lobbyist. >> without objection. >> i ask unanimous consent we put into the record a criminal numberl of the statute six 11. -- fornanimous consent illegal lobbying activity be entered into record. 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 are objections. we are objecting to a unanimous consent request? yes. >> i yield back. >> let me be clear. i am going to give you your whole five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. chairman may yields to the ranking member. the ranking member made me aware i had given a little more time. i was going to let you do that, anyway. i just want the committee to know that because there are so many members, we are going to be
strict with this five-minute minutes. five >> mr. cohen, you claimed you have lied but you are not a liar. if you lied, you are a liar by definition. you claimed the facts are inaccurate. if they are facts, they are accurate and you are inaccurate. davis, and who else did you consult with? michael: i consulted with my counsel, lanny davis as well as michael monico. >> did you or michael or lenny davis or anyone else cooperate with the democratic majority to prepare for this hearing? michael: say that again, please. >> did you or anyone else on your team cooperate with the democratic party to prepare for this hearing? michael: we have spoken with the party. >> did you prepare with chairman cummings? michael: what do you mean by
prepare? >> prepare for this hearing. michael: i prepared with my counsel. >> did you prepare for the democratic council or chairman cummings? michael: we spoke with chairman cummings and the party. >> were there any other individuals acting as a liaison for you for the majority party? michael: what are you saying? liaison othere a than who you have mentioned who were working with the majority to perfect this hearing? michael: yes, we spoke with the various individuals that you raised, yes. , regarding him or any of his representatives, anyone associated with him, is he or any of them paying lanny davis to represent you? michael: not that i am aware of.
>> who is paying lanny davis? michael: at the moment, no one. >> he is doing all this for nothing? michael: i hope so. >> i kind of doubt it. how did lanny davis come to represent you? michael: i reached out to lanny davis at the recommendation of over atr counsel mcdermott, who knew mr. davis. >> you reached out to mr. davis? michael: i did, initially. >> did you want to testify before congress or did he urge you to have to fight? michael: i was asked to come here and i am here voluntarily. >> did he ask you to come here? michael: no, sir. >> he says that he did ask you
to come here and that he convinced you and he did the same with chairman cummings, as well. your testimony here is that you approached lanny davis to represent you and to come here, he did not persuade you to come here? michael: he did not persuade me. partman cummings, which is of the conversation we engaged in with his people, as well as , theyan shift and others asked me to come here voluntarily. >> with a connecting of the dots and the davis and you chairman and others to be rather stunning. there is an agenda for all this happening here today. frankly, to impugn the president, you made an oath last time you are here and that
oath meant nothing to you then. this veryoath here in room about one month ago and it seeke clear that i will the truth, nothing but the truth, so help me god. it sounds like an oath to me. the chairman made that statement . in this very room last month. here we are today, our first big , with you, a convicted liar, lying to congress, a criminal. witness ishis totally incompatible with the stated goal of having to seek the truth in this hearing. this is the first time and the history of congress we have someone testifying here who has already been convicted of lying to congress, congratulations for being the first and congress to do that, and 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 purposes. >> let me pick up on those last comments. i want to talk about a low point. how about, mr. papadopoulos pled guilty, mr. manafort pled guilty to two other charges, mr. flynn plug guilty. -- pled guilty. for two years, you want to talk about an agenda, my friends on the others of the aisle refused to bring any of these people before the committee. 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. cohen, thank you for
voluntarily coming before the committee to testify. i want to ask you about your statements involving trump tower in moscow and i want to drill down some of the facts and details. you may not be aware, but this goes back a ways. in 1987, easter trump wrote that he had ongoing -- mr. trump wrote that he had ongoing discussions with soviet officials to build a luxury hotel across from the kremlin. in partnership with the soviet union. at that time, it was the soviet union. filing ask you, in your with the special counsel robert mueller's office, the prosecutors wrote mr. cohen discussed the status and progress of the moscow project with individual one. on more than three occasions, mr. cohen claimed to the committee and he briefed family
members of individual one with the company about the project. we referringo are to when we refer to individual one? michael: donald j. trump. who are the family members you briefed on the trump tower moscow project? michael: donald trump, jr. and ivanka trump. the family request the briefings? michael: this was the regular course of business. >> do you recall how me briefings their work? michael: i am sorry. >> do you recall how me briefings there might've been? michael: approximately 10. >> you also wrote there are at least a half-dozen times between the iowa caucus in january of 2016 and 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? michael: verbally, virtually all the time. he would say to me, michael, walk with me. he would be heading to a car and we would be walking to the elevator and he would ask me questions quickly regarding. >> was there any doubt about what he was referring to? michael: no, this would be it. otherwise there would be no reason to ask it of me. >> you also wrote to be clear, mr. trump knew of and directed the trump moscow negotiations throughout the campaign and lied about it. how did the president direct negotiations? what details did he direct? michael: after each commute occasion i had, i would report back to him and our goal was to
get this project. we were interested in building what would have been the largest building in all of europe. i can say one last thing in regard to the gentleman's statements, the lies i told to congress in fairness benefited mr. trump. it was in protection of mr. trump, which i stated in my testimony. i am not protecting mr. trump anymore. taking truly appreciate some of your time onto it, to attack me every single time about taxes, i have no credibility, it is for exactly that reason that i spent the last week searching boxes in order to find the information that i did so you don't have to take my word for it. i don't want you to. i want you to look at the documents and make your own
decision. sorry, sir. say, i don't think my colleagues on the other side of the aisle are afraid you're going to live. i think they are afraid you're going to tell the truth. michael: thank you, sir. >> the gentleman from ohio is recognized. >> i want to respond to mr. lynch. when have you ever seen a federal agency where this has happened? james cohen fired eddie mccabe. he lied three times under oath. council, demoted and that left is currently under investigation in connecticut. lisa page was demoted and left. that is what happened. that is what we are concerned about. know three people have told us rob rosenstein was contemplating using the 25th amendment to remove the guy from
presidency who the american people put there. we asked for him to be a witness and the chairman said no. instead, we get 30 minutes from a guy who is going to prison and two months for lying to congress. mr. cohen, i have two quick questions. said he spoke to mr. schiff. you are going to be in front of mr. schiff's committee. have you spoken to a chairman nadler or anyone on his staff? michael: i don't know about my attorneys. i have not spoken to him. if my attorneys -- i can ask them. >> you can turn around and ask them. michael: the answer is no. yout this present time, said mr. davis is not getting paid. are you anticipating him getting any kind of compensation?
making awhen i start living. >> i have never heard of a lawyer waiting three years to get paid. michael: i guess he thinks it is important. cohen, you are a disgraced lawyer. you have been disbarred. i sure -- maybe you don't remember. duty and loyalty. duty and confidentiality. attorney, client privilege. a gentle on your right side understands that very well. let's go back to the credibility. you want us to make sure we think of you as a philanthropic icon, that you are about justice. you are a person somebody would call at 3:00 in the morning. no, they wouldn't. not at all. right in front of this committee, you constantly conflicted your testimony, sir.
you are a pathological liar. you don't know truth from falsehood. mehael: are you referring to or the president? >> this is my time. when i ask you a question, i will ask for an answer. 35 ofu silly or with rule the procedures? michael: i am now. the committee understands you have been in contact with the southern district of new york, is that true? michael: i am in constant contract -- constant contact with the southern district of new york. >> part of that is to reduce a sentence in time, is it not? the answer is yes. michael: it is not. >> testimony here could help you get your sentence when. how -- them not sure southern district can use information for the creation of
the case. if there is something this group could do for me, i would gladly welcome it. >> i have to tell you, america is watching you. i have been getting texts right and left, saying at how can anyone listen to this pathological liar? he does not know fact from fiction. that is what is sad here. you did not do this for donald trump, to protect donald trump, you did this for you. this is all about you. this is all about the twitter feed. women who love and support michael:, strong, pitiful, sex symbol, business oriented and ready to make a difference. ready to make a difference against the law. that is pretty sad. over and over again, we want to have trust. it is built on the premise that we are truthful we come forward, but there is no truth with you. that is what is important to you.
to look at the old adage that our moms taught us, liar, liar, pants on fire. no one should listen to you and give you credibility. i want to quote the chairman's real --ds, this is a hold on. the gentle man's time has expired. mr. cohen, several times in your testimony you state the bad things you did for mr. trump. at some point, you apparently changed your course of action. there is a recurring refrain in your testimony 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 tongue the truth? telling the truth?
michael: there are several factors. charlottesville, watching the daily destruction ,f our civility to one another putting up silly things like this. really unbecoming of congress. behavior thatt of i am responsible for. i am responsible for your silliness because i did the same thing that you are doing now for 10 years. trump for 10r. years. newsact that you pull up a article that has no value to it and you want to use that as the premise for discrediting me, that i am not the person that people called at 3:00 in the morning would make you inaccurate. it would make you a liar. it would put you into the same position i am in. i can only warn people, the more
people who follow mr. trump as i did, blindly, are going to suffer the same consequences i am suffering. would you give young people who are tempted, as you were, would you encourage them not to wait 10 years to see the light? what advice would you give young people, in particular young lawyers, so they do not abuse their bar license as you did? michael: look at what is happened to me. i had a wonderful life, i have a beautiful wife, two beautiful children and i achieved financial success by the age of 39. i did not go to work for mr. trump because i had to, i did it because i wanted to and i have lost it all. that is the picture that should be up there. if i am not the picture perfect example of what not to do, that is the example i am trying to set for my children.
you make mistakes in life and i have owned them and i have taken responsibility for them. i am paying a huge price, as is my family. if that is not enough to dissuade someone from acting in the callous manner that i did, i am not sure if that person has any chance, very much like i am in right now. >> a recurring theme in your testimony is concerned for your family's safety. what are you most concerned about? has 60: the president million people. one mr. trump turned around early in the campaign and said i can shoot somebody on 5th avenue getaway with it, i want to be very clear. he is not joking. he is telling you the truth. you don't know him. i do. i have sat next to this man for 10 years and i watched his back. i am the one who started the
campaign and i am the one who continued in 2015 to promote him. so many things i thought that he could do work great and he can and is doing things that are great. this destruction of our civility to one another is out of control. when he goes on twitter and he starts bringing in my in-laws, my parents, my wife, what is he think is going to happen? he is sending out the same message that he can do whatever he wants. this is his country. hopefully, something bad will happen to me or my children or my wife so that i will not be here and testify. he hoped to intimidate me. i thanked everybody who joined and said this is not right. >> have you ever seen this to trump personally threaten people with physical harm? michael: no. he would use others. >> he would hire other people to
do that? michael: they were already working there. everybody's job at the trump organization is to protect mr. trump. every day, most of us knew we were coming in and we were going to lie for him about something. thatbecame the norm, and is what is happening right now in this country, and it exactly what is happening in government, sir. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you. can we take a break? >> not right now. [laughter] that is ok, thank you, sir. [laughter] michael: thank you.
>> ladies and gentlemen we will come to order. , i want to finalize this issue relating to your .ruth in testimony form the form requires you to list contracts or payments originating from a foreign government. .ot from all foreign entities we said we would give you a chance to consult with your attorneys.
have you done that and do you have any additional information? michael: my attorneys believe as they did before that the language in the truth in testimony form which i was given right for this hearing and which requires disclosure of any contracts or payments from foreign governments in the last two years did not apply to my work for bta bank. they advised had entities been intended for disclosure that word would have been in the disclosure definition. if the committee's counsel has a different view that i should disclose my contract with bpa bank we would be willing to do that. >> mr. chairman? >> let me finish.
yount to understand clearly sought the advice of your counsel and your counsel advised you to say what you just said, is that right? and you know that to be the truth? >> yes sir. >> i will yield to the gentleman. >> i think the chairman for his courtesy. instead of making points of order and going back and forth on this perhaps a way to solve this is for the chairman to request mr. cohen give to this committee all the payments he's received over the last two years whether they are an entity or a government because we have strong belief there's over $900,000 that came from the government of kos kazakhstan. really look at foreign payments that come from or with
foreign governments. the bank he is talking about is owned 81% by the cost extend -- kazakhstan government. >> let me be clear, i said to mr. cohen that if he came in here and lied i would nail him to the cross. once. did cover more than >> so if there is any ambiguity i want that to be cleared up. i have no problem in working with you to make sure that it straightened out. i don't want it to be where he things one thing and we think one thing. we can clear that up. we have other members who up and waiting. >> i don't think we should limit it to the bank that has affiliation with kazakhstan. any otherlook at
client that is foreign that may have some connection to that spectrum countries government. time, we willmy take that under advisement. i'm a man of my word. we will work with you and see what we can do to come up with that. i don't think it's an unreasonable request. >> mr. cohen i was a focus my questions on the smoking gun document you provided this committee. the document is compelling evidence of federal and state crimes including financial fraud . you provided this committee with a check from president donald j. trump's revocable trust account marked as exhibit five b, check march 17,0 and dated 2017, after the president took office.
do you see it? >> yes sir. >> the trump revocable trust is the trust the president set up to hold his assets after he became president. is that correct? >> i believe so. >> do you know why you were paid from the trust as opposed to the president's personal account? did you think it was odd that he paid you want from his personal account and then he is paying through a scheme of a trust? >> i will be honest i was happy to get the check. >> today you testified the check was signed by donald trump jr. and alan weisel berg. according to the criminal charges against you you sent monthly invoices containing false information to an individual identified as executive one. weisel berg's executive one, correct? >> correct. >> executive one forwarded your invoice does someone referred to as executive to come up
presumably donald trump junior. >> i believe so. >> as prosecutors laid out, payments like this check resulted in numerous false statements in the books and records of the trump organization. collusion,do with this is financial fraud, garden-variety financial fraud. the skies as a payment for legal services to you but this was not a payment for legal services, was it? >> no sir. >> it could give rise to serious liability if a corporation is cooking its books. based on your testimony today donald trump jr. and alan wessel berg directed this payment to >> and approved this payment . mr. trump initially acknowledged
. weisselbergllen went back to his office. i was instructed they would do this in 12 installments. was haveecided to do me send an invoice in which case they can have a check cut. the answer would be yes to your follow-up. >> donald trump junior signed off on this. >> eric trump donald trump jr. and or allen weisselberg but always allen weisselberg on the check. paymentknew that this was false and illegal, correct? >> i can't make that conclusion. >> you told representative kelly that the president was aware of this scheme. >> that's correct. >> i want the american public to understand the explosive nature of your testimony in this document. are you telling us that the president directed transactions
in conspiracy with allen weisselberg and his son, donald civi -- aor, as part of a criminal conspiracy of financial fraud, is that your testimony? >> yes. >> do you know if this scheme that the president, allen weisselberg, and donald trump jr. are involved in is being investigated by the southern district of new york? discuss that not question because it could be part of an investigation that currently ongoing. >> i want the american public to understand that apart from bob mueller's investigation there is garden-variety financial fraud in your allegation and the ,ocument suggests the president his son and his cfo maybe be involved in a criminal conspiracy. isn't it true that this criminal conspiracy that involve four
people, that there's only one person so far who suffers the repercussions and that is why you are in jail? >> will be going to jail, yes. >> the three other people equally involved in the conspiracy. >> it is true. >> thank you mr. cohen. i yield back my time. gomez. >> thank you mr. chair. during the 2016 campaign you said you personally would not "allow him to release those returns until the audits are over." for the record, nothing prevent individuals from sharing their tax returns even while under audit by the irs. ro you know whether president trump's tax returns were under audit by the irs into the 16? >> i don't know the answer. auditd for a copy of the so that i could use it in terms
press.tatements to the i was never able to obtain one. >> do you have any inside knowledge about what was in the president's tax returns that he refused to release? >> i do not. >> can you give us any insight into what the real reason is that the president has refused to release his tax returns. mr. cohen: statements that he'd said to me what he did not want was to have an entire group of think tanks that are tax experts run through his tax return and start ripping into pieces and then he will end up in an audit and ultimately have taxable consequences, penalties and so on. >> that basically he said he did not want to release his tax returns because he might end up in an audit. can you presume from that statement that he was not under audit?
mr. cohen: i presume he is not under audit. >> i'm also the only democrat on this committee that serves on the committee of ways and means. the chief tax-writing committee in the house of representatives and the only committee in the house of representatives that has jurisdiction to request an , includingx returns the president of the united states. my constituents need to know whether the president has financial ties that are causing him to protect his own bottom line rather than the best interest of this country. can he be blackmailed because of his financial and business ventures, including by foreign governments? i know the opposition the first thing they will ask or say is that he released his financial disclosure forms. i believe there's other things we can learn from his taxes. do you have any idea what we can learn in the his tax returns if we got our hands on them? mr. cohen: i have seen them i just have never gone through them. they are quite long.
>> one of the things i also find ironic is the way they are attacking you asked undermine your credibility by saying that you committed bank fraud and tax invasion. it really goes down to the a person's character when it comes to taxes, yet the republican minority has never asked to see his taxes. a something that for 40 years democrats and republicans alike have released tax returns to prove to the american people that they did not have financial interests that would be leverage herbal by foreign government -- d by foreign government. i'm noticing a pattern about the president and those in his inner circle. special counsel robert mueller's team has indicted or received guilty pleas from 34 people and three companies that we know of,
the latest being long-term trump advisor roger stone. it appears the president as a fondness for entrusting those who will lie for him, break the law for him, cheat the system for him. he wants to surround himself with people who are just like him essentially. would you agree with that statement? mr. cohen: from the facts and circumstances it appears so. , the american people have a lot of questions when it comes to this president. when he went to helsinki and bowed before vladimir putin and nobody could understand why he acts the way he acts and we believe the way we get those answers is really looking at everybody that surrounds him, who's been associated with, and his tax returns because that is the only way that we can get down to the bottom line.
>> mr. chairman, i have unanimous consent request. i asked unanimous consent that we read in a tweet from dr. darrell scott which says michael: begged me repeatedly to ask otis to give him a job in the administration. he is still lying under oath. i ask unanimous consent. i have one more from bob deal, getting sick watching these hearings. i know michael cohen for many years and he told me he was angry and upset that he did not get a post in the white house would "do what he has to do" to protect his family. >> if we got other once we will do you cover the other ones at the end because i have some things.
>> unanimous consent that an article in salon magazine written by stanley brand, former house counsel to tip o'neill title of the article is oversight committee session looks like an illegitimate show hearing. >> so ordered. >> a letter that mr. meadows and i sent to you the chairman requesting that you call deputy attorney general rod rosenstein to testify at this hearing also be part of the record. >> part of the record. mr. cohen: can i respond? >> just one second. the article -- i want to deal with this right away. mr. we saw that article ranking member we knew that it was inaccurate, on basics. casaase is that mr. brand
views are distinct shovel from what is going on here. we have former general counsel of the house into the seven to 2010 saying in short the committee has ample jurisdiction and responsibility to consider the voluntary testimony of mr. --en, dated february 2019 february 25, 2019. where are we? ms. a conseil cortez. >> i may go a little quickly to get it all in five minutes. my colleague from vermont asked ami,everal questions about the parent company of the national enquirer. in that you mentioned a treasure trove of documents in david packer's office assembled from
these catch and kill operations. against people who potentially had damaging information on the president. you mentioned that the president was very concerned about the whereabouts of these documents and who possessed of them. is that treasure trove of documents still exist? mr. cohen: i don't know. david >> packer for them. you would say the person who knows the whereabouts of these documents is david packer? mr. cohen: barry levine or dylan howard. >> i wanted to ask about your conversation with my colleague from missouri. did the president ever provide inflated assets to an insurance company? mr. cohen: yes. >> who else knows that the president did this? mr. cohen: allen weisselberg, matthew calamari. >> do you think we need to review his financial statements and tax returns to compare them? mr. cohen: yes and you would
find it at the trump board. >> the trump golf organization currently has a golf course in my home borough of the bronx, trump links, i drive past it every day going between the bronx in queens. the washington post reported on the trump links bronx course in an article entitled "taxpayers built this new york golf course and trump reaps the rewards." taxpayers spent $127 million to build trump deal in an "generous" allowing president trump to keep nearly every dollar that flows in. it does not seem to be the only time the president has benefited at the expense of the public. i want to ask about your assertion that the president may have devalued his assets to avoid paying taxes.
according to an august 21 4016 report by the washington post while the president claimed in financial disclosure forms that trump national golf club in jupiter florida was worth more than 50 million, he reported otherwise to local tax authorities that the course was million."more than $5 do you know whether this report is accurate? mr. cohen: it is identical to what he did at trump national golf club at briarcliff manor. >> to your knowledge was the president interested in reducing his local real estate bills -- tax bills? and how did he do that? mr. cohen: what you do is deflate the value of the asset and put in a request to the tax department for a deduction. >> thank you. october 2018, the new york times revealed president trump participated in dubious tax schemes during the 1990's
including instances of outright fraud that greatly increased the fortune he received from his parents. if further stated from mr. trump "he helped formulate it she formulate a strategy to undervalue his parents real estate holdings by hundreds of millions of dollars on tax returns, reducing his tax bill when those properties were transferred to him and his siblings." do you know whether that specific report is accurate? mr. cohen: i don't know. >> who would know the answer to those questions? mr. cohen: allen weisselberg. >> would it help for the committee to obtain tax returns from the president and his company to address the discrepancy? mr. cohen: i believe so. >> i yield the rest of my time to the chair. >> thank you mr. chairman. i just want to thank you for your leadership and the way in
which you can port yourself. there are some that would have you believe the more you say something the more true it is but in fact this committee thinks your leadership and our democratic majority has been doing the work of the american people. we looked at the issue of making the election day a national holiday in pursuit subpoenas to reunite families. recently before we return here, try to pass a universal background check gun bill. we are doing the business of the american people including today. it has been said that the best sunlight -- sunlight is said to be the best disinfectant. electric light is the most efficient policeman. the point of oversight is for us to pursue the trust -- pursue the truth and justice for the american people. understand if allies and corruption are threatening
american democracy and our safety. mr. chairman, charities should not be abused as personal piggy banks. it is against the law and unfair to charities that play by the rules. a line of questioning we have not yet addressed and glaringly absent in tackling is that of the abuses of the trump foundation. charitablent's foundation agreed to dissolve in response to an ongoing investigation and lawsuit by the new york attorney general. the new york attorney general found what it calls "clear and repeated violations of state and if i understand your opening statement correctly in 2013 you arranged for -- $60,000 for a portrait of mr. trump at a charity auction. it is that correct? why would the president want to did at the price of something he's ultimately paying for?
mr. cohen: it was about ego. i believe it was paid for by a check of the trust. not aabuse and this is partisan pursuit. ultimately we are demonstrating patriotism. this is about what is right and just for the american people. the distraught purchaser purchased the painting -- can you explain the mechanics of that payment? mr. cohen: i'm not involved with the foundation. >> did the president know what was happening? and how did you know? mr. cohen: he asked me to find the straw bitter and ensure that his painting which was going last in the auction go for the highest amount of any of the paintings that had been put on the auction block for the day. >> what happened to the painting. mr. cohen: i believe it is in one of the clubs. >> according to new york attorney general march 2014 mr. trump used the foundation to pay
$10,000 with a winning bid on another portrait of mr. trump that ended up in one of his golf courses in miami. are you familiar with that transaction? mr. cohen: yes. >> are you aware of other instances when a truck nation was used to benefit the trump family? mr. cohen: yes. there was a contract i ended up ,reating on mr. trump's behalf . ukrainian oligarch mr. trump was asked to come to participate in what was the ukrainian american economic forum. unfortunately he was not able to go. i was able to negotiate 15 minutes by skype where they would have a camera and translate mr. trump to the questioner and he would respond back. i negotiated a fee of $150,000
for 15 minutes. i was directed by mr. trump to have the contract done in the name of donald j. trump donaldion, as opposed to j. trump for services rendered. >> thank you. any other abuses of the foundation you like to share? the law and extremely unfair to charities playing by the rules. mr. cohen: not at this time. >> and then for the balance of thatme, would you agree someone could deny rental units to african-americans, lead the birther movement, refer to the ole countrieshith and refer to white supremacists as fine people could have a black friend and still be racist? mr. cohen: i agree. >> mr. chairman i have unanimous consent since we are finishing
up before we get done. >> give me one second. i wanted -- and then i will come to you. they've been waiting here all day. >> thank you mr. chairman. thank you all of you for centering this committee on our sole purpose, as exposing the .ruth the people at home are frustrated and they want criminal schemes to stop especially those from the oval office. i am upset and i know my residents feel the same way, that a man you worked for for the past 10 years is using the most powerful position in the world to hurt our country solely for personal gain. we are upset that some of our colleagues here are so disconnected of what it means to have this president of the united states sending texts to
cover bride payments -- bribe payments you made on his behalf, one in 2017 march and another 2017 august after he was sworn in as president. while my colleagues are trying to discredit your testimony by some of your own unlawful acts, they are disconnected with the fact that you were the personal lawyer for this president of the united states. that this president chose you as his legal counsel. my stance has always been the same, based on the facts, not on future reports that we are waiting on. my residents back home don't need a collusion with a foreign government to know this president, individual one, has disregarded the law of the land, the united states constitution and that he has misused his pardon powers. in the sentencing memo mr. cohen filed by the federal prosecutors in new york in december of last year they stated "in particular
and as cohen himself has admitted, he acted in coordination with and at the direction of individual one." as you know, president donald j. trump's brand comes first. not the american people. based on what you know now and what we know now that individual one used his business is to enrich himself, his brand and in the process directed you to commit multiple felonies and you covered it up, correct? mr. cohen: that is correct. >> you called it protecting his brand, correct? mr. cohen: and him as well. >> do you think the president of the united states is making decisions in the best interest of the american people? mr. cohen: i do not. >> especially those you said he is horrible words about like
african-americans, muslim americans, and immigrants? mr. cohen: yes. >> to make a note, just because someone has a black person working for them does not mean they are not racist and it is -- thetive that someone fact that someone would use a fact that someone would use a prop, black woman what we have here mr. chairman is criminal conduct and the pursuit of the highest public office by mr. cullen and individual one -- mr. cohen and individual one.
mr. chairman, i asked that her words when she is referring to an individual member of this body be taken down and stricken from the record, and i'm sure she didn't intend to do this, but if anyone knows my record as it relates, it should be you, mr. chairman. -- >> hold on. no. >> we want to hear exactly what she said about a colleague. >> would you like to rephrase that statement? >> thank you, mr. chairman. i can read it from here. to make a note, mr. chairman that just because someone has a person of color, a black person working for them is not mean they are not racist and it is insensitive that someone asld say it is races is
itself and to use a black woman as a prop -- i am just saying, that is that what i believe to have happened and as a person of color in this committee, that is what i felt at that moment and i want to express that, but i am not calling the gentleman a racist for doing so. i'm saying in itself, it is a racist act. >> i hope not, mr. chairman because i need to be clear on this particular -- mr. chairman? >> mr. meadows, wait a minute. you --ve defended >> mr. meadows, i am the chair. i will clear this up. i want to make sure i understand. you were not intending to call mr. meadows a racist, is that right? >> no, mr. chairman i do not call mr. meadows a racist. as a person of color, i am trying to express myself and how
i felt at that moment. for the record, that was my intention. meadows: mr. chairman, there is nothing more personal to me than my relationship -- my nieces and nephews are people of color. not many people know that. you know that, mr. chairman, and to indicate that i asked someone who is a personal friend of the trump family, who has worked for him, who knows this particular individual that she is coming in to be a prop, it is racist so suggest i asked her to come in for that reason. person,ident's own she's a family member, she loves this family, she came in because she felt like the president of the united states was getting falsely accused. you and i have a personal relationship that is not based on color.
to even go down this direction is wrong, mr. chairman. first of all, i want to thank the gentleman for what you have stated. if there is anyone who is sensitive with regard to race, it is me. the son of former sharecroppers that were basically slaves, so i get it. carefully and i think -- i will not put words in her mouth, but i think she said that she was not calling you a racist. i thought we could clarify that, know ofmr. meadows, you all the people in this committee , i have said it and gotten in trouble for it, that you are one of my best friends. i know that shocks a lot of
people -- rep. meadows: and likewise, mr. chairman. rep. cummings: but you are, but i could see and feel your pain. think she and i don't intended to cause you that, that kind of pain and that kind of statement. >> to my colleague, mr. reynolds, that was not my intention and i do apologize if that is what it sounded like but i said someone in general. in thisbody knows chamber, i am pretty direct so if i wanted to say that, i would have but that is not what i said. thank you, mr. chairman, for allowing me to clarify. again, i said someone and was not referring to you at all as a racist. rep. meadows: i think the gentlewoman for your comments. i think the chairman for working to clarify this and i appreciate the chairman's intervening. rep. cummings: to the gentleman,
first of all, thank you for allowing us to resolve that. the gentleman had asked a little bit earlier -- rep. meadows: i will withdraw my request. rep. cummings: you don't want to do the unanimous consent? rep. meadows: i think i need to officially withdraw my request that it be stricken. rep. cummings: all right, sounds good. now, i will recognize you for your unanimous consent. i think you want to put in records and documents? rep. meadows: i ask unanimous consent that we put forth in the record the vanity fair article, which indicates michael cohen must be the most gifted consulting in america, outlining his insights into health care and policy and real estate, suggesting it is not a real company just like he is not a lawyer. rep. cummings: without objection. rep. meadows: "the l.a. times"
article of july 16, 2018 be put in the record, which outlines the $1.2 million payment and their misgivings thereafter. rep. cummings: without objection, so ordered. any other unanimous consent requests? rep. meadows: thank you, mr. chairman. 2019 "the washington post" profile of michael cohen, titled "michael cohen's secret agenda" to be part of the record. it shows him to be a selfish manipulator who is all about himself. it house a fault -- it has a false anecdote about how he delivered -- claimed to deliver his own baby. 2019 -- 2018,y 9, south korean firm paid michael cohen as it saw u.s. government as part of the record. aerospace industries paid a
shell company run by cohen. rep. cummings: without objection, so ordered. make hisd to sentencing to the government of the york part of the record. falsely continues to blame his crimes on blind loyalty to the pegida and -- president, but only he is to be blamed for his false statements the irs. augustus consent to make 20, 2018 cnn article, fed scrutinizing michael cohen's former accountant and bank loans part of the record. his accountant was subpoenaed to appear before a grand jury and required a lawyer in his sentencing memo, he is said to have claimed his tax evasion on his accountant. tosked unanimous consent make the february 26, 2019 ordered by the applet division of the state of the you not -- new york part of the record.
this order, which applies starting february 28 establishes crimecommitted a serious in speaking to an attorney when convicted of lying to an attorney -- to congress. 26, 2018 "the washington post" article "michael cohen secretly recorded trump -- does that make him a bad lawyer?" part of the record. ethical violations of a lawyer, -- recordingng his his client without the client's knowledge. rep. cummings: without objection, so ordered. >> i ask unanimous consent to 2019the january 18, huffington post article "11 tweets from the fake fan account, michael cohen" part of the record. no-nonsense, business-oriented.
rep. cummings: without objection, so ordered. >> i would ask unanimous consent to make the april 20, 2018 article in mother jones titled michael cohen says he has never been to prod. he told me a different -- to p rague, he tells me a different story, part of the record. rep. cummings: without objection, so ordered. very well. i have some concluding remarks but before i do that, do you have anything you would like to say? chairman, i would. i have some closing or marks would like to say myself. >> yes. yes rk, mr. chairman, i would. i have some closing remarks i would like to say first, i want to thank you, chairman because i would like to take the opportunity to share some final thoughts. isaac knowledge to i have made my own mistakes and have owned ando them publicly
undergrowth, but silence and complicity in the face of the daily destruction of our basic norms and civility to each other will not be one of them. destruction of our basic norms and civility to one another will not be one of them. i did things and i acted improperly, at times at mr. trump's behest. i blindly followed his demands. my loyalty kwlto mr. trump has t me everything, my family's happiness, friendships, my law license, my company, my livelihood, my honor, my reputation and soon my freedom. and i will not sit back, say nothing, and allow him to do the same to the country. indeed given my experience working for mr. trump i fear that if he loses the election in 2020 that there will never be a peaceful transition of power, and this is why i agreed to
appear before you today. in closing, i'd like to say directly to the president, we honor our veterans even in the rain, you tell the truth even when it doesn't engradise you, you respect the law and incredible law enforcement agents, you don't vil niez them, you don't disparage generals, gold star families, prisoners of war and other heroes who had the courage to fight for this country. you don't attack the media and those who question what you don't like or what you don't want them to say and you take responsibility for your own dirty deeds. you don't use your power of your bully pulpit to destroy the credibility of those who speak out against you. you don't separate families from one another or demonize those looking to america for a better life. you don't vilify people based on the god they pray to and you
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 that i have made or pay the heavy price that my family and i are paying, and i thank you very much for this additional time, chairman. >> thank you very much. the ranking member has a closing statement. >> thank you, mr. chairman. we know mr. cohen has been dishonest in the past, that's why he's going to prison in two months, but there are things today that he said during the several hours of questioning that just don't add up, either.
he said he never defrauded any bank, when he was having a conversation questioning from mr. comer, obviously that's not true because he's going to prison for that very offense. he said today he was a good lawyer who understood the need to represent his client, his client with legal advice. but in his written testimony he said he never bothered to consider whether payments to women for improper -- whether payments to women were improper, much less the right thing to do. he attested in his signed truth and testimony form that he did not have any reportable contracts with foreign government entities. earlier he admitted to having consulting agreements with at least two foreign entities owned in part by foreign governments, bta bank of kazakhstan and korea air space industries of south korea. he said to chairman cummings that donald trump directed him and the trump organization cfo allen weisselberg to, quote, go back to his office and figure
out how to make the $130,000 payment, but in his testimony he says mr. trump directed me to use my own personal funds from the home equity line of credit to avoid any money being traced back to him that would negatively impact the campaign. and in response to a question about him paying to set up the fake twitter account account, @womenforcohen that he didn't direct the commission of that twitter account. he said i didn't set that up and it was done by a young lady that works for the firm when, in fact, he did ask the i.t. firm red finch to set it up according to the owner of red finch. finally, he said he didn't want a job with the administration, even though the attorneys with the southern district of new york stated that this was a fact when asked about this they said i wouldn't call them liars, but that statement is not accurate. mr. chairman, i think maybe more importantly is what we should have been doing today. mr. meadows and i sent you a
letter asking you to have mr. rosenstein here. i think it's important to know that last week when you announced that mr. cohen was coming this week, just happened to be the very same week that we learned the deputy attorney general of the united states was thinking about wearing a wire to record the commander in chief. was actually contemplating talking to cabinet members and invoking the 25th amendment. that's what we should be focused on, not this sad display we have had to go through the last several hours. and, again, it's not my words, you can take the words of the former general counsel for the house of representatives under tip o'neill. so i hope we've learned some things here today, but, mr. chairman, as i said earlier, your first big hearing, the first announced witness of the 116th congress is a gentleman who is going to prison in two months for lying to congress. i don't think that's what we should be focused on. yield back. >> thank you very much.
you know, i've sat here and i've listened to all of this and it's very painful. it's very painful. you made a lot of mistakes, mr. cohen, and you've admitted that. you know, one of the saddest parts of this whole thing is that some very innocent people are hurting, too, and you acknowledge that. that's your family. so you come here today and you -- deep in my heart, you know, when i practiced law i represented a lot of lawyers who
got in trouble, and you've come saying i have made my mistakes, but now i want to change my life. and, you know, if we -- if we as a nation did not give him an opportunity after they made mistakes to change their lives, a whole lot of people would not do very well. i don't know where you go from here. as i sat here and i listened to both sides, i just felt as if -- and, you know, people are now
using my words that they took from me that didn't give me any credit, we are better than this. we are so much -- we really are, as a country we are so much better than this. you know, i told you -- and for some reason, mr. cohen, i tell my children, i say when bad things happen to you do not ask the question why did it happen to me, ask the question why did it happen for me. i don't know why this is happening for you, but it is my hope that a small part of it is for our country to be better. if i hear you correctly it
sounds like you're crying out for a new normal, for us getting back to normal. it sounds to me like you want to make sure that our democracy stays intact. the one meeting i had with president trump i said to him, the greatest gift that you and i, mr. president, can give to our children is making sure that we give them a democracy that is intact. a democracy better than the one that we came upon. and i'm hoping that the things you've said today will help us begin to get back there. you know, i mean, come on now, i mean, when you've got -- according to the "washington post" -- our president has made at least 8,718 -- 8,718 false or
misleading statements. that's stunning. that's not what we teach our children. i don't teach mine that. and for whatever reason it sounds like you got caught up in it. you got caught up in it. you got caught up in it. and some kind of way i hope that you will -- i know that it's painful going to prison, i know -- i know it's got to be painful being called a rat. let me explain, a lot of people don't know the significance of that, but i live in the inner city of baltimore. all right? and when you call somebody a rat, that's one of the worst things you can call them because when they go to prison that means a snitch. i'm just saying. and so the president called you a rat. we're better than that. we really are.
and i'm hoping that all of us can get back to this democracy that we want and that we should be passing on to our children so that they can do better than what we did. and so you wonder whether people believe you. i don't know. i don't know whether they believe you, but the fact is that you've come, you have your head down and this has got to be one of the hardest things that you could do. let me tell you the picture that really, really pained me, you were leaving the prison -- you were leaving the courthouse and i guess it's your daughter had braces or something on. man, that thing -- man, that thing hurt me. as a father of two daughters, it hurt me. and i can imagine how it must feel for you, but i'm just saying to you i want to first of
all, thank you. i know that this has been hard, i know that you faced a lot, i know that you are worried about your family, but this is a part of your destiny and hopefully this portion of your destiny will lead to a better -- a better -- a better michael cohen, a better donald trump, a better united states of america and a better world. and i mean that from the depths of my heart. when we are dancing with the angels the question will be asked, in 2019 what did we do to make sure we kept our democracy intact? did we stand on the sidelines
and say nothing? did we -- and i'm tired of these statements saying -- people come in here and say, oh, this is the first hearing. it is not the first hearing. the first hearing was with regard to prescription drugs. remember a little girl -- a lady sat there, her daughter died because she could not get $333 a month in insulin. that was our first hearing. second hearing, hr-1, voting rights, corruption in government. come on, now. we can do more than one thing and we have got to get back to normal. with that this meeting is adjourned.