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tv   MSNBC Live With Craig Melvin  MSNBC  February 27, 2019 8:00am-9:00am PST

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signature is donald trump, jr. and at the bottom signature, i believe it's allen weiselburg's? >> can you tell me the date? >> march 17th, 2017. >> the date on the check is after president trump held his big press conference claiming he gave up control of his businesses. how could the president have arranged for you to get this check if he was supposedly playing no role in his business? >> because the payments were designed to be paid over the course of 12 months and it was declared to be a retainer for servi services that would be provided for the year. of 2017. >> was there a retainer
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agreement? >> there is no retainer agreement. >> would don jr. or mr. weisselburg have more information? >> mr. weisselburg for sure about the discussions and negotiations prior to the election and don jr. would have cursory information. >> here's another one. this one appears to be signed by donald trump himself. is that his signature? >> that is donald trump's signature. >> let me make sure i understand. donald trump wrote you a check out of his personal account while he was serving as president of the united states of america to reimburse you for hush money payments to ms. clifford. is that what you are telling the american people today? >> yes, mr. chairman. >> one final question. the president claimed he knew
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nothing about these payments. his ethics filings said he owed nothing to you. based on your conversations with him, is there any doubt in your mind that president trump knew exactly what he was paying for? >> there is no doubt in my mind and i believe there's no doubt in the mind of the people of the united states of america. >> these documents appear to corroborate what you just told us. with that i'll yield. >> i will make sure you and i meet one day while we're in the courthouse and i'll take you for every penny you still don't have and i will come after your daily beast and everybody else that you possibly know. so i'm warning you, tread very f-ing lightly because what i'm going to do to you is going to be f-ing disgusting.
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mr. cohen, who said that? >> i did. >> did you say that in your testimony on page 2, you said you did things for mr. trump in an effort to protect him. was that statement that i just read that you admitted to saying, did you do that to protect donald trump? >> i did it to protect mr. trump, donald trump jr., ivanka tru trump and eric trump. >> you said this, mr. cohen, my weakness can be characterized as a blind loyalty to donald trump. a blind loyalty that led me to choose a path of darkness, is that accurate, mr. cohen? >> i wrote that. >> you wrote that and said that in front of a judge, is that correct? >> that's correct. >> let me ask you why you did some of these things. when you filed a false tax return in 2012, 2013, 2014,
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2015, and 2016 was that out of blind loyalty to the president? >> no. >> when you failed to report $4 million to the internal revenue service, did you do that to protect donald trump? >> no, i did not. >> when you failed to pay $1.4 million in taxes -- i got constituents who don't make that in a lifetime. when you fail to pay $1.4 million in taxes to the u.s. treasury was that out of some blind loyalty to the president of the united states? >> it was not. but the number was $1.38 million and change. and i have paid that money back to the irs. >> i think the american people appreciate that 1 point -- >> it was over a course of five years. approximately $260,000 a year. >> that's what i said, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 -- that's five years. >> yes. >> got it. when you made false statements to financial institutions concerning a home equity line of
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credit, taxpayein 2013, 2014, 2 you pled guilty for making false statements to those banks, was that all done to protect the president? >> no, it was not. >> how about this one. when you created the fake twitter account women for cohen and paid a firm to post tweets like this one, in a world of lies, deception and fraud, we appreciate this honest guy @michaelcohen. #tgif. #handsome. was that done to protect the president? >> i didn't set that up. it was done by a young lady that worked for red finch. during the course of the campaign, as you would no it's somewhat crazy and wild. we were having fun. that's what it was, sir. we were having fun. >> was it done to protect the president? >> that was not done to protect the president.
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>> was it fake twitter account? >> no, it was a real account. >> did you pay for the account? >> it was done by a young lady and we were having fun. >> did you lie to protect the president or did you lie to help yourself? >> i'm not sure how it helped me sir. i would like to note that more than half the people on that site are men. >> here's the point. the chairman gave you a 30 minute opening statement, and you have a history of lying over and over and over again. frankly, don't take my word for it. take what the court said. take what the southern district of new york said. cohen did crimes that were marked by a pattern of deception that permeated his professional life. these crimes were distinct in their harms, but bear a common set of circumstances. they each involve deception and
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were each motivated by personal greed and ambition. a pattern of deception for personal greed and ambition. you just got 30 minutes of an opening statement where you trashed the president of the united states of america. mr. cohen, how long did you work for donald trump? >> approximately a decade. >> ten years? >> that's correct. >> you said all these bad things about the president there in that last 30 minutes and yet you worked for him for ten years? all those bad things -- i mean, if it's that bad i can see you working for him for ten days, maybe ten weeks. maybe even ten months. but you worked for him for ten years. mr. cohen, how long did you work in the white house? >> i never worked in the white house. >> that's the point, isn't it, mr. cohen? >> no, sir. >> yes, it is. >> no, it's not. >> you wanted to work in the white house and you didn't get brought to the dance -- >> i was extremely proud to be
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personal attorney to the president of the united states of america. i did not want to go to the white house. i was offered jobs. i can tell you a story of mr. trump reaming out reince priebus because i had not taken a job mr. trump wanted me to at the white house -- >> mr. cohen -- >> one second. all right. what i said at the time -- and i brought a lawyer in who produced a memo as to why i should not go in because there would be no attorney/client privilege and in order to handle the some of the matters i talked about in my opening, that it would be best suited for me not to go in and every president had a personal attorney. >> here's what i see. i see a guy who worked for ten years and trashing the guy he worked for for ten years. didn't get a job in the white house. and now you're behaving just like everyone else who got fired or didn't get the job they
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wanted. like james comey, same kind of se selfish motivation after you don't get the thing you want. that's what i see now and that's what the american people see. >> all i wanted was what i got. to be personal attorney to the president. to enjoy the senior year of my son in high school and waiting for my daughter who is graduating from college to come back to new york. i got exactly what i want. >> exactly what i want, you got prison. >> i received exactly what i wanted. >> gentleman's time has expired. >> thank you mr. chairman. mr. cohen thank you for being here today. as you likely know, i served as the chair of the democratic national committee at the time of the russian hacks. when russia weaponized the messages it stolen. my questions are not about the harm done to any individual by wikileaks and the russians. it's about the possible and
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likely harm to the united states of america and our democracy. i have a serious es of question hope will connect more of these dots. is it your testimony that mr. trump had advanced knowledge of the russia wikileaks release of the dnc's e-mails? >> i cannot answer that in a yes or no. he had advanced notice that there was going to be a dump of e-mails. but at no time did i hear the specificity of what those e-mails were going to be. >> but you do testify today that he had advanced knowledge of their imminent release? >> that is what i had stated in my testimony. >> and that he cheered that outcome? >> yes, ma'am. >> did mr. trump likely share this information with his daughter, ivanka, son don jr.? >> i'm not aware of that. >> were they still involved in
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the russian tower deal? >> the company was involved in the deal. >> if his daughter and son are involved in the russian trump tower deal, is it possible the whole family is conflicted or compromised with a foreign adversary in the months before the election? >> yes. >> based on your experience with the president and knowledge of his relationship with mr. stone, do you have reason to believe that the president explicitly or implicitly authorized mr. stone to make contact with wikileaks and to indicate the campaign's interest and the strategic release of these illegal materials? >> i'm not aware of that. >> was mr. stone a free agent of the president or of the campaign acting on behalf of the president? >> no, he was a free agent. >> a free agent that was reporting back to the president
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what he had done? >> correct. he frequently reached out to mr. trump and mr. trump was very happy to take his calls. it was free service. >> roger stone says he never spoke with mr. trump about wikileaks. how can we corroborate what you're saying? >> i don't know, but i suspect that the special counsel's office and other government agencies have the information that you're seeking. >> moving on to a little later in 2016, a major wikileaks dump happens hours after the access hollywood tape is released. do you believe or are you aware of mr. trump coordinating or signaling for this e-mail dump? >> i'm unaware of that. i wasn't in the country at the time of the billy bush tape. i was in london visiting my daughter. >> knowing how mr. trump operates with his winning at all costs mentality, do you believe he would cooperate or collude
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with a foreign power to win the presidency? is he capable of that. >> it calls for so much speculation -- >> you have a tremendous amount of experience. >> mr. trump is all about winning. he will do what is necessarily -- >> in your opinion and experience, 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, would mr. trump or did he lie about colluding and coordinating with the russians at any point during the campaign? >> so as i stated in my testimony, i wouldn't use the word colluding. was there something odd about the back and forth praise with
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president putin? yes. but i'm not really sure that i can answer that question in terms of collusion. i was not part of the campaign. i don't know the other conversations that mr. trump had with other individuals. there's just so many dots that all seem to lead to the same -- >> before my time expires, mr. cohen, the campaign and the entire trump organization appeared to be filthy with russian contact. there are russian business contacts, there are campaign russian contacts. there are lies about all of those contacts. then we have roger stone informing the president just before the democratic national convention that these -- wikileaks was going to drop documents in the public arena that we knew at that point were
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hacked and stolen by russia from the democratic national committee. >> the gentle lady's time has expired, you may answer her inquiry quickly. >> is it likely that donald trump was fully aware and had every intent of working with russia to help make sure that he could win the presidency at all costs? >> let me say that this is a matter that's currently being handled by the house select and senate select intelligence committees. so i would rather not answer that specific question other than just to tell you that mr. trump's desire to win would have him work with anyone. one other thing i had said in my statement, when it came to the trump tower moscow project, it was worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
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and we never expected to win the election. so this was just business as usual. >> thank you, mr. chairman. members of this committee have promised members of the public to a fair and open process. an gag order has been issued to limit members of this committee what they can and can not talk about. my colleagues say they want transparency, yet the democrats witnessed to testify before congress today is none other than a scorned man who is going to prison for lying to congress. let that sink in. he's going to prison for lying to congress and he's the star witness to congress. if you read the sentencing report on mr. cohen, words like deceptive and greedy are scattered throughout that report. it paints a picture of a narcissist, a bully, who cannot
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tell the truth whether it's about the president or about his own personal life. but today, he's the majority party's star witness. if the democrats were after the truth, they'd have an honest person here testifying. and if they were really after the truth, they'd not restrict the questioning to just a few topics. let's take a look at those restricted topics. the first topic in your limited scope that i can ask mr. cohen is about the president's debts. but mr. chairman, didn't mr. cohen plead guilty to lying to banks about his personal finances. we're asking a guy going to jail for lying about his debts to comment about the president's debts. he's the expert. mr. chairman, your next couple of topics say i can ask mr. cohen about the president's compliance with financial disclosures and campaign finance laws, but didn't mr. cohen on two occasions break campaign
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finance law with his own donation? again, the majority party's start witness on the president's compliance is a guy who broke compliance laws himself. mr. chairman, you graciously allow us to ask questions of mr. cohen on the president's dealings with the irs and tax law. your star witness here broke the law with regards to the irs at least five times. he pled guilty to cheating on his taxes and lying to the irs, he's the best witness you got? next up, i get to ask mr. cohen about his perspective on the president's business dealings. let me get this straight, the witness lied to multiple financial institutions to get loans to pay off other loans just to keep himself afloat and he's going to be the expert on business practices? obviously, mr. chairman, the witness may produce documents that he suggests incriminates the president, yet he lies to
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banks. all of those lies were done on fraudulent documents. documents that he forged. nothing he says or produces has any credibility. apparently he even lied about delivering his own child which his wife had to correct the record. ladies and gentlemen, how on earth is this witness credible? with all the lies and deception, the self-serving fraud, it begs the question, what is the majority party doing here? no one can see this guy is credible. he will say whatever he wants to accomplish his own personal goals. he's a fake witness. and his presence here is a travesty. i hope the american people see through this. i know the people back in tennessee will. and with that statement, sir, i have a few questions of the witness. with your loss of your law license, i think you mentioned in your opening statement that you had been disbarred, what is
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your source of income in the future? >> i don't expect i'm going to have a source of income when i'm in federal penitentiary. >> what -- is there a book deal coming or anything like that? >> i have no book deal right now in the process. i have been contacted by many, including for television, a movie, if you want to tell me who would like to play you i'm more than happy to write the name down. just to correct your statement on me -- >> let me ask one other question. i only have a limited amount of time. one quick question, who paid your expenses to be here today? >> who has paid my expenses? >> to be here today. >> i paid my expenses. >> mr. chairman, i'd like to yield the remaining of my time to the ranking member. >> mr. cohen how many times did you talk to the special counsel's office? >> ave. >> did they talk to you at all in preparation for today's hearing between the seven times
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you talked to them prior to your sentencing? have you had any conversations with the special counsel's office? >> i don't understand your question. >> you talked to them seven times, what i'm asking is how many times have you talked to the special counsel's office since then, up to today's appearance. >> the gentleman's time has expired, you may answer the question. >> i don't have the answer to that. >> it wasn't -- i'll come back. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. cohen, in your ten years of working for donald trump, did he control everything that went on in the trump organization? and did you have to get his permission in advance and report back after every meeting of any importance? >> yes. there was nothing that happened
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at the trump organization, from whether it was a response as the daily beast story that you refer to, ranking member, that did not go through mr. trump with his approval. and sign off. as in the case of the payments. >> how many times did the president, michael, ask you or direct you to try to reach settlements with women in 2015 and 2016? >> i'm sorry, ma'am, i don't have the answer to that. i'd have to go back and try to recollect. it's certainly the two that we know about. >> and why did you think the president did not provide the accurate information in his 2017 financial disclosure form? what was he trying to hide? he corrected other forms, but he didn't correct this one.
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>> the payments on the rembursement of the funds i extended on his behalf. >> can you elaborate more? >> going back into the story as i stated when we went to his office in order to make the determination on how the money was going to be wired to the iola, the interest on the lawyer's account for keith davidson in california, i had asked allen to use his money. i didn't want to use mine. he said he couldn't. and we then decided how else we can do it. he asked me whether or not i know anybody who wants to have a party at one of his clubs that could pay me instead or somebody who may have wanted to become a member of one of the golf clubs. and i also don't have anybody that was interested in that. and it got to the point where it was down to the wire.
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it was either we -- somebody wired the funds and purchase the life rights to the story from ms. clifford or it was going to end up being sold to television and that would have embarrassed the president. it would have interfered with the election. >> but the president has never amended his 2017 form to this day and while you're facing the consequences of going to jail, he is not. >> i believe that they amended a financial disclosure form and there's a footnote somewhere buried. i don't recall specifically what it says. but there is a footnote buried somewhere. >> can you describe michael, to the american people, catch and kill? >> catch and kill is a method that exists when you're working with a news outlet. in this specific case, it was ami national enquirer, dylan
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howard and others where they would contact me or mr. trump or someone and state that there's a story that's percolating out there that you may be interested in. and then what you do as you contact that individual and you purchase the rights to that story from them. >> and you practiced this for the president? >> i was involved in several of these catch and kill episodes. these catch and kill scenarios existed between david pecker and mr. trump long before i started working for him in 2007. >> michael, can you suggest who else this committee should talk to for additional information on this or anything else? >> yes, i believe david pecker, dylan howard, barry levine of ami as well.
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allen weisselburg, allen garden, the trump organization as well. >> thank you very much for your testimony. this is a story of redemption. >> mr. cohen, in your testimony, you stated you began work for the trump organization as a lawyer dealing with real estate transactions is that correct? >> that's correct. >> prior to coming to congress, i served as a director of two different banks. i've seen hundreds of loan applications. and to try to determine your credibility here today, i just wanted to ask you a couple of real estate transaction questions just to see how, in fact, you operate. according to the southern district of new york city prosecutors, you lied to banks to secure loans by falsely stating the amount of debt you're carrying. mr. cohen, my question to you, was it donald trump's fault that you knowingly committed a crime of deception to defraud a bank? >> no, it's not. >> was that fraudulent loan you obtained for the trump organization or for you
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personally? >> it would be for me, though i'm not familiar with which loan you're referring to. i would like to say one thing -- >> mr. cohen -- >> sorry i would like just to respond -- >> the loan -- >> when we're talking about the home equity line of credit which is what -- >> we're also referring -- >> no -- >> your summer home you purchased. >> i never purchased a summer home. no individual or no bank in the 22 years that i've had loans have ever lost a dollar with me. i owe no money to any bank. >> well, the banks usually find out if someone's trying to deceive them. >> in 22 years i have no money that's ever been owed -- >> mr. cohen, did your so-called blind loyalty to the president cause you to defraud the bank for your own personal gain? >> i take exception to that because there's never been a fraud -- i never defrauded any bank. >> let's dig a little deeper on that, on the bank fraud.
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according to the southern district of new york you failed to disclose tens of thousands of dollars of monthly expenses. that's according to the southern district of new york. now, mr. cohen, you being a lawyer, surely you knew you were breaking the law. why would you have done that? >> sir, i'm not a cpa. i pled guilty. i'm going to prison as a result of it. >> because you're a con? >> no, sir. because i pled guilty and i am going to be doing the time. i have caused tremendous, tremendous pain to my family. and i take no -- >> let's go back to one last question about the bank. when the bank found out about the liabilities that you failed to disclose, you lied again to the bank -- this is according to the southern district of new york -- it said it had been
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exspong exspone exsponged but it had been transferred to another bank. your intent to defraud the bank was for the desire to purchase the summer home for $8.5 million? >> no, sir. that would have been off an equity line, considering i had less than a 50% loan to value on the assets and it was a preexisting line of credit that existed years before the date that you're referring to. where this is all surrounding new york city taxpayi medallion >> but you understand when you failed to disclose liabilities, especially $20 million in liabilities, that is in fact, fraud? >> even with the $20 million in liability -- >> how much was it? >> the medallions were at that time worth over $45 million. >> mr. cohen, you called donald trump a cheat in your opening testimony. what would you call yourself? >> a fool.
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>> you calling -- okay. well, no comment on that. >> i appreciate that. >> mr. chairman, we said we were in search of the truth. i don't believe that michael cohen is capable of telling the truth. and i would hope that as this committee moves forward that when we have the opportunity to subpoena witnesses, we subpoena witnesses that are not recently disbarred or not convicted felons, and witnesses that haven't committed bank fraud and tax fraud. that is how we're going to determine the truth. mr. chairman, i yield the balance of my time to the ranking member. >> i would make one point, we just had a five minute debate where mr. cohen disputes what the southern district of new york found what the judge found that he was guilty of committing bank fraud. if this statement doesn't say it all, cohen's instinct is to blame others is strong. there's only one thing wrong
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with that statement, his remorse is non-existent. he just debated a member of congress saying i really didn't do anything wrong with the false bank things i'm guilty of and going to prison for. >> that's not what i said. and you know what i said. i played guilty and i take responsibility for my actions. >> shame on you, mr. jordan. that's not what i said -- >> mr. chairman -- >> that's not what i said. what i said is i took responsibility and i take responsibility. what i was doing is explaining to the gentleman that his facts are inaccurate. i still -- i take responsibility for my mistakes. all right. i am remorseful. and i am going to prison. i will be away from my wife and family for years. so before you turn around and cast more dispersion, please understand there are people watching you today that know me a whole lot better.
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i made mistakes, i own them and i didn't fight with the southern district of new york. i didn't put the system through an entire scenario. but what i did do is i pled guilty and i am going to be again going to prison. >> mr. norton. >> mr. cohen. at the center of the reasons you're going to prison, is conviction for campaign finance violations. and they center around some salacious revelations. "the washington post" reported -- or aired an access hollywood video. it set a record for the number of people who watched, crashed
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the newspaper's server. but this happened in early october. on the cusp of the election. what was mr. trump's reaction to the video becoming public at that time? was he concerned about the impact of that video on the election? >> the answer is yes. as i stated before, i was in london at the time visiting my daughter who was studying there for a washington semester abroad. and i received a phone call during the dinner from hope hicks, stating that she had just spoken to mr. trump and we need you to start making phone calls to the various different news outlets that you have relationships with. and we need to spin this. what we want to do is just to claim that this was men locker room talk. >> was there concern about the
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election in particular? >> the answer is yes. then couple that with karen mcdougall, which then came out around the same time and then on top of that, the stormy daniels matter. >> yeah, and these things happened in the month before the election and almost one after the other. the stormy daniels revelation where proscomputeecutors learne that matter and prosecutors stated that the officials at the magazine contacted you about the story. the magazine, of course, is the national enquirer. is that correct, that they did? >> yes, ma'am. >> come to you.
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were you concerned about this news story becoming public right after the access hollywood in terms of impact on the election? >> i was concerned about it, but more importantly, mr. trump was concerned about it. >> that was my next question. what was the president's concern about these matters becoming public? in october as we were about to go into an election. >> i don't think anybody would dispute this belief that after the wildfire that encompassed the billy bush tape, that a second follow up to it would have been pleasant. he was concerned with the effect it had had on the campaign, on how women were seeing him. and ultimately, whether or not
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he would have a shot in the general election. >> so you negotiated the $130,000 payment? >> the $130,000 number was not a number that was actually negotiated. it was told to me by keith davidson that this is a number that ms. clifford wanted. >> you finally completed that deal, as it were, on october -- >> 28th. >> days before the election. what happened in the interim? >> contemplated whether or not to do it. wasn't sure if she was really going to go public. it was, again, some communications back and forth between myself and keith davidson. ultimately it came to do it or don't. at which time i had gone into mr. trump's off and he had told
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me he had spoken to a couple of friends, $130,000 is not a lot of money and we should just do it. go ahead and do it. i was at the time with allen weisselburg where he directed us to go back to his office and figure this all out. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> mr. cohen, do you know lynn patten? i'm right here. >> yes, sir. yes, i do. >> i asked lynn to come today in her personal capacity to actually shed some light. how long have you known ms. patten? >> i'm responsible for lynn patten joining the trump organization and the job that she currently holds. >> well, that's -- i'm glad you acknowledged that. because you made some very demeaning comments about the president that ms. patten doesn't agree with. in fact, it has to do with your claim of racism.
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she says that as a daughter of a man born in birmingham, alabama, that there is no way that she would work for an individual who was racist. how do you reconcile the two of those? >> neither should i as the son of a holocaust survivor. >> but, mr. cohen, i guess what i'm saying is i've talked to the president over 300 times, i've not heard one time a racist comment out of his mouth in private. so do you reconcile it? do you have proof of those conversations? >> i would ask you to ask -- >> do you have tape recordings? >> no, sir. >> you've taped everybody else -- >> that's not true. >> you haven't taped anybody? >> i have taped -- >> how many times have you taped individuals? >> maybe 100 times over ten years. >> is that a low estimate? i've heard it's over 200. >> i think it's approximately 100 -- you asked me a
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question -- >> do you have proof, yes or no? >> i do. >> where's the proof? >> ask ms. patten how many people who are black are executives at the trump organization? the answer is zero. >> mr. cohen, we can go through this -- >> you asked me -- >> i would ask unanimous consent her entire statement be put in the record. >> without objection. >> let me go on a little bit further. did you collect $1.2 million or so from novartis. >> i did. >> for access to the trump administration? >> no, sir. >> why did you collect it? >> because they came to me based upon my knowledge of the enigma, donald trump, what he thinks -- >> so they paid -- >> please let me finish. >> no, did they pay you $1.2 million to give them advice? >> yes, they did. multibillion dollar conglomerate came to me looking for information -- not something
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that's unusual here in d.c. looking for information and they believe i had a value -- >> how many times did you meet with them? >> i was capable of -- >> how many times did you meet with them? for $1.2 million, how many times did you meet with them? >> i provided them with both in person as well as telephone access whenever they needed -- >> how many times. that's a question, mr. cohen? >> i don't recall, sir. >> did you ever talk to them? >> i spoke to them on several occasions? >> how many? >> six times. >> six times. wow. $200,000 a call. >> sir, i also would like -- >> hold on. this is my five minutes, mr. cohen, not yours. did you get money from the bank of kazakhstan? >> it's not a bank of kazakhstan. >> it's called bta. >> bta bank. did you get money from them? >> i did. >> for what purpose? >> the purpose was because the former ceo of that bank had
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absconded with over $4 billion to $6 billion. some of the money was here in the united states and they wanted my assistance in locating that money. >> you're saying all the reports that you were paid in some estimates over $4 million to have access and understanding of the trump administration, you're saying that all of that was paid to you because you're a nice guy? >> i am a nice guy. but more importantly -- >> i would beg to differ. the record reflects that you're not a nice guy. >> each and every contract contained the clause in my contract, that said i will not lobby. 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 government, including the president. that information, that paragraph was crossed out by me,
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initialled and written in my own ha handwriting. i will not lobby or do government relations work. >> so novartis representatives say it was like they were hiring an non-registered lobbyist, so you disagree with that? >> i don't know what they said, sir, but the contract -- >> have you ever contacted anybody in the administration? >> yes. >> to advocate on behalf of any aspect of any of your contracts? i ask unanimous consent, mr. chairman -- >> the gentlemen's time has expired. you may answer the question. >> i don't know what you're referring to, sir. >> mr. chairman -- >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. cohen, i'm pleased you agree to testify today voluntarily. in my view, we are all here for just one reason. that's the american people are
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tired of being lied to. they have been lied to by president trump. they've been lied to by the president's children. they have been lied to by the president's legal representatives. it pains me to say that they have been even lied to by his congressional enablers who are still devoted to perpetuating and protecting this giant con game on the american people. now, mr. cohen, i'd like to talk to you about the president's assets. since by law, these must be reported accurately on his federal financial disclosure and when he submits them for a bank loan. mr. cohen, you served for nearly a decade as then businessman's
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trump's fixer. did you have an understanding of the president's assets and how he valued those items? >> yes. >> in november of 2017, it was reported that the trump organization provided untrue revenue figures going back to at least 2010 to influence crane's ranking of the largest private company in new york. according to the reports, with while the trump organization reported nearly $9.5 billion in revenues in 2016, public filings suggests revenues were actually less than one tenth of that. to your knowledge did the president or his company ever inflate assets or revenue? >> yes. >> and was that done with the
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president's knowledge or direction? >> everything was done with the knowledge and at the direction of mr. trump. >> tell us why he would do that and what purpose did it serve? >> it depends upon the situation. there were times that i was asked again with allen weisselburg the cfo to go back and speak with an individual from forbes because mr. trump wanted each year to have his net worth rise on the forbes wealthiest individuals list. and so what you do is you look at the assets is with you try to find an asset that has, say, for example, 40 wall street, which is 1.2 million square feet. find an asset that's comparable, find the highest priced per square foot that's achieved in the area and apply it to that
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building. or if you're going off your rent roll, go by the gross rent roll, times the multiple and you make up the multiple, which is something he had talked about. it's based upon what he wanted to value the asset at. >> you know, you have provided this committee with copies of the president's financial statements or parts of them from 2011, 2012, and '13. and, mr. chairman, i would like to submit those for the record. mr. chairman, i'd like to submit the statements to the record. >> without objection, soer ordered. >> thank you. can you explain why you had these financial statements and what you used them for? >> so these financial statements we used, by me, for two purposes. one was discussing with media whether it was forbes or other magazines, to demonstrate mr. trump's significant net worth. that was one function.
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another was when we were dealing later on with insurance companies, we would provide them with these copies, so that they would understand that the premium, which is based sometimes upon the individual's capabilities to pay would be reduced. >> and all of this was done at the president's direction and with his knowledge? >> yes, because whatever the numbers would come back to be we would immediately report it back. >> and did this information provided to us inflate the president's assets? >> i believe these numbers are inflated. >> and, of course, inviting -- inflating assets to win a 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?
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>> you may answer that question. >> these documents and others were provided to deutsche bank on one occasion where i was with him in our attempt to obtain money so that we could put a bid on the buffalo bills. >> thank you for your answer. >> i'd like to yield to the gentlemen in north carolina. >> i want to ask for consent to put into the record an article which indicates that mr. cohen's promised access, not just trump, but also the circle around him, it was almost as if we were hiring a lobbyist. closed quote. i ask unanimous consent. >> without objection. >> i ask unanimous consent that we put into the record a criminal referral for violating section 22 u.s. c of the statute number 611.
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i ask unanimous consent that my letter referring mr. cohen for violating fara for illegal lobbying activity be enter into the record. >> without objection. >> the first order of business for this committee is for us to look at a bipartisan way for criminal referrals at the next business meeting. >> these are not documents. they're objections. >> so we're objecting to a unanimous consent request? is that what -- mr. chairman? >> yes. >> i will yield back. >> all right. let me be clear. i'm going to give you your whole five minutes, all right, in fairness to you. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> mr. meadows, the chairman made me a ranking member made me aware that i had given a little
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more time to ms. wassermann schultz. i was going to let you do that anyway. but i just want the committee to know that because there's so many, we're be strict on the fi minutes, all right? thank you very much. mr. hice, you have five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. cohen, you've claimed you've lied but you're not a liar. to set the record straight, if you lied, you are a liar by definition. you also said a moment ago that the facts are inaccurate. if they are facts, they are accurate, and that would make you inaccurate. but i would like to take a moment, i would like to know who you consulted with to prepare for today's hearing. lanny davis and who else? >> i consulted with my counsel, lanny davis, as well as michael monaco. >> all right. did you or michael or lanny davis or anyone else cooperate with the democrat majority to prepare for this hearing? >> i'm sorry, say that again, please. >> did you or anyone else on your team cooperate with the
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democrat party in preparing for this hearing? >> we've spoken to the party. >> did you prepare with chairman cummings or anyone on your team? >> i'm sorry. what do you mean by prepare? >> prepare for this hearing. >> prepare? i prepared with my counsel. i spoke -- >> did you prepare with the democrat majority or chairman cummings? >> we spoke with chairman cummings and the party. >> with chairman schiff? >> spoke with chairman schiff and his -- and his people as well. >> were there any other individuals acting as a liaise for you with the majority party? >> i'm sorry, sir. what are you saying? >> did you have a liaison other than -- that you've mentioned who were working with the majority to prepare for this hearing? >> we spoke with the various individuals that you just raised, yes. >> tom steyer.
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regarding him or any of his representatives, anyone associated with him, is he or any of them paying lanny davis to represent you? >> not that i'm aware of. >> who is paying lanny davis? >> at the present moment, no one. >> so he's doing all this work for nothing? >> yes, sir. >> okay. >> and i hope so. >> i kind of doubt it. how did lanny davis come to represent you? did he approach you or did you approach him? >> i reached out to lanny davis at the recommendation of my former counsel over at mcdermott wi will and emory who knew mr. davis. >> so you reached out to mr. davis? >> initially, yes. >> did you want to testify before congress or did he urge you to testify here? >> i was asked to come here and i am here, sir, voluntarily,
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because it's my -- >> you were asked by who? did he ask you to come here? >> no, sir. >> okay. because he says that he did ask you to come here and that he convinced you and also that he did the same with chairman cummings as well. so your testimony here is that you approached lanny davis to represent you and to come here, he did not purr swayersuade you here? >> he did not persuade me. actually chairman cummings, as part of the conversations we engaged if with his people, as well as chairman schiff and others, we spoke in order to ask me to come here voluntarily. >> i find the connecting of the dots here with mr. davis and you and frankly the chairman and perhaps others to be rather stunning, that there is an agenda for all this happening
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here today. i believe frankly that that's to bring the president down, to impugn the president. you made an oath last time you were here and that oath meant nothing to you then. we had an oath here in this very room about a month ago, and it was, quote, be clear that i will seek the truth, nothing but the truth, so help me god, end quote. that sounds like an oath to me. the chairman made that statement in this very room last month. but here we are today, our first big hearing with, as you, and we all know, a convicted require, lying to congress, a criminal, and i believe this witness is totally incompatible with the stated goal of having to seek the truth in this hearing. this is the first time in the history of congress we have someone testifying here who has
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already been convicted of lying to congress. congratulations for being the first in congress to do that. >> thank you. >> and mr. cummings as well. i can't believe we have brought this committee to its knees in terms of losing its credibility. and it's a shameful mockery of what our purpose is. i yield back. >> the gentleman's time has expired. mr. lynch. >> thank you, mr. chairman. let me just pick up on those last comments. i want to talk about a low point. how about mr. papadopoulos pled guilty. mr. fmanafort, pled guilty to to other charges. mr. gates pled guilty. mr. van der swan pled guilty. mr. kilimnick indicted for obstruction of justice. for two years, you want to talk about an agenda? my friends on the other side of the aisle refused to bring any of these people up before the committee. so today for the first day we have one witness who voluntarily is coming forward to testify.
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your side ran away from the truth and we're trying to bring it to the american people. so mr. cohen, first of all, thank you for voluntarily coming before the committee to testify. i want to ask you about your statements regarding trump tower and moscow. and i want to drill down some of the facts and details. now, you may not be aware of it but this goes back a ways. back in 1987, mr. trump wrote that he had had ongoing discussions with soviet officials, back then, to build a luxury -- large luxury hotel across from the kremlin, in partnership with the soviet union. so at that time it was the soviet union. i want to ask you, in your filing with the special counsel mueller's office, the prosecutors wrote, and i quote, mr. cohen discussed the status
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and progress of the moscow project with individual 1 on more than the three occasions mr. cohen claimed to the committee. and he briefed family members of individual 1 with the company about the project. i know this is redundant, but mr. cohen, who are we referring to here when we refer to individual 1? >> donald j. trump. >> okay. and the company? >> the trump organization. >> okay. >> through a subsidiary. >> okay. and who are the familiy members that you briefed on the trump tower moscow project? >> don trump jr. and ivanka trump. >> were these in the course of business or did the family request the briefings? >> this is in the regular course of business. >> there's a question on the number of briefings. do you recall how many there might have been? >> i'm sorry, sir? >> do you recall how many of these briefings there might have been? >> approximately ten in total. >> all right.
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in your written remarks you also wrote, and i quote, there are at least a half dozen times between the iowa caucus in january of 2016 and the end of june when mr. trump would ask me how is it going in russia, referring to the russia moscow tower project. how did the president community those questions to you? was it verbally or on the phone? >> verbally most of the time. virtually all of the time. he would say to me, michael, walk with me. he was heading to, say, a rally, to a car. sa as i would walk him to the elevator he would ask me questions quickly regarding a series of issues. >> could there be any doubt what he was referring to in terms of the project in russia? >> no, this would be it. otherwise there would have been no reason to ask it of me. >> right, right. you also wrote, and i quote, to be clear, mr. trump knew of and directed the trump moscow negotiations throughout the campaign and lied about it,
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close quote. how did the president actually direct the negotiations? what details did he direct? >> after each communication that 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. sir, just if i can say one last thing. >> please, go ahead. >> with regard to the gentleman's statements, since this is on topic. the lies that i told to congress, in fairness, benefitted mr. trump. it was in furtherance of my protection of mr. trump, which i stated in my testimony. and i am not protecting mr. trump anymore. and so while i truly appreciate taking some of your time on to it, to attack me every single time about taxes, i have no credibility, it's for exactly that reason, that i spent the
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last week searching boxes in order to find the information that i did so that you don't have to take my word for it. i don't want you to. i want you to look at the documents. >> mr. cohen -- >> and make your own decision. >> i want to make my last -- >> i'm sorry. >> that's okay. let me just say, i don't think my colleagues on the other side of the aisle are afraid that you're going to lie. i think they're afraid that you're going to tell the truth. >> thank you, sir. >> i yield back the balance of my time. >> mr. gosar. >> the gentleman from ohio is recognized. >> i appreciate you for yielding. when have you ever seen a federal agency where this has happened? andrew mccabe, fired. lied three times under oath, under investigation. as we speak, jim baker, fbi counsel, demoted, then left, currently under investigation by the attorney's office in accounts can the.


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