Former Donald Trump's personal attorney, Michael Cohen, is on the verge of delivering an explosive testimony to Congress on Wednesday.
The former Trump repairman, who has already stated that he would take a bullet for the president, is ready to assert that he is ashamed of his "misplaced loyalty" to Trump.
In his testimony before the House Oversight Committee, he should also include a series of bomb allegations against the presidential campaign.
President Cummings, Jordan, ranking member, and committee members, thank you for inviting me here today.
I asked this committee to ensure that my family is protected from presidential threats and to be sensitive to issues relating to ongoing investigations. Thank you for your help and your understanding.
I am here under oath to rectify the facts, to answer the questions of the Committee with sincerity and to offer the American people what I know about President Trump.
I recognize that some of you may doubt and attack my credibility. It is for this reason that I have included in this opening statement irrefutable documents, which demonstrate that the information you are about to hear is accurate and truthful.
Never in a million years, when I accepted a post in 2007 for Donald Trump, I had imagined that he would one day run for president, would launch a campaign on a flat hate and intolerance and would win. I regret the day I said "yes" to Mr. Trump. I regret all the help and support I have given him along the way.
I am ashamed of my own failures and I have publicly accepted responsibility by pleading guilty in the Southern District of New York.
I am ashamed of my weakness and misplaced loyalty, of what I did for Mr. Trump in order to protect and promote him.
I am ashamed to have chosen to participate in the concealment of Mr. Trump's unlawful acts rather than listen to my own conscience. I'm ashamed because I know what Mr. Trump is.
This is a racist.
This is a scammer.
It's a cheater.
It was a presidential candidate who knew that Roger Stone was talking with Julian Assange about a drop of e-mails from the Democratic National Committee of WikiLeaks.
I will explain each one in a few moments.
I am providing the Committee today with several documents.
- A copy of a check that Mr. Trump wrote on his personal bank account – after he became president – to reimburse me for the secret payments I had made to cover his adventure with a movie star adult and avoid damaging his campaign;
- Copies of the financial statements from 2011 to 2013 that he has given to institutions such as Deutsche Bank;
- A copy of an article with the handwriting of Mr. Trump stating the auction of a portrait of himself – he made arrangements for the bidder to the advance and then refund the bidder to the account of his non-profit charitable foundation, with the photo now suspended in one of his country clubs; and
- Copies of the letters I wrote under Mr. Trump's instructions that threatened his high school, his colleges, and the College Board not to disclose his grades or scores to the SAT.
I hope that my appearance here today, my guilty plea and my work with law enforcement agencies are steps on the path to redemption that will restore confidence in me. and help this country better understand our president.
Before I go further, I apologize to each of you and to 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 about when Mr. Trump had stopped negotiating the project of the Moscow Tower in Russia. I stated that we had stopped trading in January 2016. It was wrong, our negotiations continued for months later during the campaign.
Mr. Trump did not directly tell me to lie in Congress. It is not like that that it works.
During the conversations we had during the campaign, while I actively negotiated with him in Russia, he looked me in the eyes and told me that there was no business in Russia, and then lied to the American people by saying the same thing. thing. In his way, he told me to lie.
There was at least half a dozen times between the Iowa caucus in January 2016 and the end of June when he asked me "How is it going in Russia?" – referring to the project of the Moscow Tower.
You should know that Mr. Trump's personal lawyers revised and revised my statement to Congress on the timing of the Moscow Tower negotiations before I gave it.
To be clear: Mr. Trump knew about and led the Trump-Moscow negotiations throughout the campaign and lied about it. He lied because he had never expected to win the election. He also lied about it because he had to earn hundreds of millions of dollars on the Moscow real estate project.
And so I lied about it too – because Mr. Trump had explained to me, through his personal statements that we both knew to be false and by his lies to the country, that he wanted me to lie. And he made it clear to me that his personal lawyers examined my statement before I passed it to Congress.
In the last two years, the President of the United States has called me "rat". The truth is very different and let me take a brief moment to introduce myself.
I call Michael Dean Cohen.
I am a blessed husband of 24 years old and a father of an incredible daughter and son. When I married my wife, I promised her to love, cherish and protect her. As my father has said many times during my childhood, "you are my wife, and you my children, the air I breathe". For my Laura, my Sami and my Jake, there is nothing I would not do to protect you.
I have always tried to live a life of loyalty, friendship, generosity and compassion, qualities that my parents have grounded in my siblings and in my life since my childhood. My father survived the Holocaust thanks to the compassion and selfless acts of others. He was helped by many people who put themselves in danger of doing what they knew to be right.
That is why my first instinct has always been to help those who need it. Mom and dad … I'm sorry for giving up.
As many people who know me best would say, I am the person to whom they call at 3 am in the morning they need help. I proudly remember having been the emergency contact of many of my children 's friends as they grew up, as their parents knew that I would drop everything and that I would look after myself. them as they were mine.
Yet last fall, I pleaded guilty in the Federal Court to crimes and offenses committed for the benefit of, under the direction of, and in coordination with Person 1.
For the record: Person # 1 is President Donald J. Trump.
It is painful to admit that I was sometimes motivated by ambition. It is even more painful to admit that I have often ignored my conscience and displayed loyalty to a man when I should not have done so. Sitting here today, it seems incredible that I was so fascinated by Donald Trump that I was ready to do things for him, while I knew it was totally wrong.
For this reason, I came here to apologize to my family, the government and the American people.
As a result, let me now tell you about Mr. Trump.
I knew him very well by working very closely with him for over 10 years as Executive Vice President and Special Advisor and then Personal Advocate when he became President. When I met Mr. Trump for the first time, he was a successful entrepreneur, a real estate giant and an icon. Being around Mr. Trump was intoxicating. When you were in his presence, you felt involved in something bigger than yourself, that you were changing the world.
I ended up boasting about Trump 's story for over a decade. It was my job. Always stay on the message. Always defend. It monopolized my life. At first, I mainly worked on real estate projects and other commercial transactions. Shortly after, Mr. Trump brought me into his personal life and his private transactions. Over time, I saw his real character revealed.
Mr. Trump is an enigma. It's complicated, just like me. He has good and bad, like all of us. But the evil far outweighs the good, and since he took office, he has become the worst version of himself. He is able to behave nicely, but he is not nice. He is capable of committing acts of generosity, but he is not generous. He is able to be loyal, but he is fundamentally disloyal.
Donald Trump is a man who has run for votes to improve his brand, not to make our country better. He had neither the desire nor the intention to lead this nation, but only to sell himself and build his wealth and power. Mr. Trump would often say that this campaign was going to be "the biggest publicity report of political history".
He never expected to go to primary school. He had never expected to win the general election. The campaign – for him – has always been a marketing opportunity.
I knew very early in my job for Mr. Trump that he would ask me to lie to defend his business interests. I'm ashamed to say that when it was a real estate mogul in the private sector, I considered it trivial. As president, I consider it to be important and dangerous.
But in the mix, Trump's lie was normalized and no one around him questioned him. In fairness, no one around him today is challenging him either.
Many people have asked me if Mr. Trump was aware of the publication in advance of hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee. The answer is yes.
As I said before, Mr. Trump was aware of the fall of WikiLeaks emails from Roger Stone.
In July 2016, just days before the Democratic Congress, I was in Mr. Trump's office when his secretary announced that Roger Stone was on the phone. Mr. Trump put Mr. Stone on the speakerphone. Mr. Stone told Mr. Trump that he had just hung up on the phone with Julian Assange and that Mr. Assange told Mr. Stone that in a few days there would be a huge amount of emails that would damage the countryside Hillary Clinton.
Mr. Trump responded by stating that "it would not be great".
Mr. Trump is a racist. The country saw Mr. Trump courting white supremacists and bigots. You have heard it calling the poorest countries "shitholes".
In private, it is even worse. One day, he asked me if I could name a country headed by a black person who was not a "shithole". It was at the time when Barack Obama was president of the United States.
As we walked through a troubled neighborhood in Chicago, he said that only black people could live this way.
And, he told me that blacks would never vote for him because they were too stupid.
And yet I kept working for him.
Mr. Trump is a cheater.
As stated previously, I present to the Committee today three years of financial statements from 2011-2013 of President Trump, which he gave to Deutsche Bank in order to obtain information on a loan for the purchase of Buffalo Bills and Forbes. These are the pieces 1a, 1b and 1c of my testimony.
According to my experience, Mr. Trump inflated his total assets when he used it, for example trying to figure among the richest people in Forbes, and deflated his assets to reduce its property taxes.
I share with you two newspaper articles, side by side, showing that Mr. Trump inflated and deflated his assets, as I said, to meet his financial interests. This is Exhibit 2 of my testimony.
As I noted, today I am submitting to the Committee an article on which he wrote and that he sent me, which referred to a public auction. A portrait of Mr. Trump. This is Exhibit 3A of my testimony.
Mr. Trump asked me to find a bidder to buy a portrait of him that was auctioned at an Art Hamptons event. The goal was to ensure that his portrait, which was going to be auctioned last, would reach the highest price of any portrait of the afternoon. The portrait was purchased by the fake bidder for $ 60,000. Mr. Trump has asked the Trump Foundation, which is supposed to be a charity, to reimburse the bogus bidder, while retaining the artwork for himself. Please refer to Exhibit 3B of my testimony.
And it's not surprising that one of my most common responsibilities is that Mr. Trump asked me to call business owners, many of whom were small businesses, who owed money for their services and did not tell them any payment or a reduced payment. When I informed Mr Trump of my success, he was really pleased.
And yet, I continued to work for him.
Mr. Trump is a crook.
He asked me to pay an adult movie star with whom he had an affair and to lie to his wife about it, which I did. Lying to the First Lady is one of my biggest regrets. She is a good person. I respect her a lot – and she did not deserve that.
Today, I am giving the Committee a copy of the $ 130,000 wire transfer that I sent to Ms. Clifford's lawyer during the final days of the presidential campaign, at the request of Ms. Clifford to keep the silence on his adventure with Mr. Trump. This is Exhibit 4 of my testimony.
Mr. Trump has ordered me to use my personal funds from a home equity line of credit in order to avoid any redistribution of money on him that could have a negative impact. on his campaign. I did it too – without worrying about whether it was inappropriate, let alone whether it was the right thing to do or how it would affect me, my family or the public .
I am going to jail in part because of my decision to help Mr. Trump to hide this payment to the American people before he votes a few days later.
As Exhibit 5 of my testimony shows, I am providing a copy of a $ 35,000 check that President Trump personally signed from his personal bank account on August 1, 2017 – while he was president of United States – as part of the concealment, was the basis of my plea of guilty, to repay me – the word used by Mr. Trump's television lawyer – for the illegal money I had paid in his name. This $ 35,000 check was one of 11 paid checks during the year – while he was president.
The President of the United States has written a personal check for the payment of money as part of a criminal scheme to violate campaign finance laws. You can find the details of this scheme led by Mr. Trump in the pleadings of the US District Court in the Southern District of New York.
So imagine this scene: in February 2017, a month after the beginning of his presidency, I visit President Trump in the Oval Office for the first time. It's really impressive, he makes me visit and shows me different paintings, and he tells me something to the effect of … Do not worry, Michael, your refund checks from January and February are coming. They were FedExed from New York and it takes a while for it to go through the White House system. As he promised, I received the first check for a refund of $ 70,000 shortly thereafter.
When I talk about scammer, I'm talking about a man who claims to be brilliant but has ordered me to threaten his high school, his colleges and the College Board never to publish his grades or scores to the SAT .
As I mentioned, I am giving the Committee today copies of a letter that I sent under Mr. Trump's instructions, threatening these schools with civil and criminal prosecution if Mr. Trump's notes or scores were released without his permission. This is room 6.
The irony did not escape the time when Mr. Trump, in 2011, had strongly criticized President Obama for not having published his notes. As you can see in Exhibit 7, Mr. Trump said, "Let him show his records" after calling President Obama "a terrible student".
The sad reality is that I have never heard Mr. Trump say anything privately that would make me believe that he loved our country or wanted to improve it. In fact, he did the opposite.
When he told me in 2008 that he was halving the salaries of employees – including mine – he showed me that he claimed to be a money back. $ 10 million tax from the IRS, and he said that he could not believe how stupid the government was to have given "any one like him" that a lot of money back.
During the campaign, Mr. Trump said that he did not consider Vietnam's veterans and the prisoner of war, Senator John McCain, as a "hero" because he likes people who do not care. have not been captured. At the same time, Mr. Trump mandated me to handle the negative press surrounding his medical adjournment in relation to the Vietnam project.
Mr. Trump claimed that it was because of a bone spur, but when I asked for medical records, he did not give me anything and told me that There was no operation there. He told me not to answer specific questions from reporters, but rather to simply say that he had benefited from a medical stay.
He finished the conversation with the following comment. "You think I'm stupid, I did not go to Vietnam."
I find it ironic, President Trump, that you are in Vietnam right now.
And yet, I continued to work for him.
Questions were raised as to whether I knew any direct evidence of Mr. Trump's connivance or his campaign with Russia. No. I want to be clear. But I have my suspicions.
In the summer of 2017, I read in all the media that there had been a meeting at Trump Tower in June 2016 with Don Jr. and other people from the countryside with Russians, including a representative of the Russian government, and the establishment of an email. the meeting with the line of object, "Dirt on Hillary Clinton." Something clicked in my mind. I remember being in the room with Mr. Trump, probably in early June 2016, when something special happened. Don Jr. entered the room and walked behind his father's desk – which in itself was unusual. People did not just walk behind Mr. Trump's office to talk to him. I remembered that Don Jr. was leaning towards his father and had spoken in a low voice, which I clearly heard, and saying, "The meeting is over." I remember Mr. Trump saying, "Okay, well … let me know."
What struck me looking back and thinking about this exchange between Don Jr. and his father, it is first that Mr. Trump often told me, at d & # 39; Other people, that his son Don Jr. had the worst judgment in the world. And also, that Don Jr. would never organize a meeting of any importance whatsoever – and certainly not without checking with his father.
I also knew that nothing was happening in the world of Trump, especially the campaign, without Mr. Trump's knowledge and approval. I therefore concluded that Don Jr. was referring to the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting on Hillary's problem with the Russian representative when he passed behind his father's office that day – and that M Trump knew that it was the meeting Don Jr. had had. talk about when he said, "It's good … let me know."
In the last year or so, I've done a real questioning. I now see that my ambition and the drunkenness of Trump's power have a lot to do with the bad decisions I've made.
To you, President Cummings, senior member Jordan, the other members of this committee and other members of the House and Senate, I am sorry for my lies and lying to Congress.
I am sorry for our country to work actively to hide the truth about Mr. Trump when you needed it most.
For those who doubt my motives for being here today, I understand. I've been lying, but I'm not a liar. I've done bad things, but I'm not a bad man. I've corrected things, but I'm no longer your "repairman", Mr. Trump.
I am going to jail and I broke the security that I have tried so much to provide to my family. My testimony certainly does not diminish the pain I have caused to my family and friends – nothing can do that. And I have never asked, and I would not accept, a thanks from President Trump.
And, by coming today, I have made my family the subject of personal and sneaky attacks by the president and his lawyer – trying to intimidate me to appear before this panel. Mr. Trump called me "rat" for choosing to tell the truth – a bit like a gangster would do when one of his men decides to cooperate with the government.
As shown in Exhibit 8, I provided the Committee with copies of tweets posted by Mr. Trump, attacking my family and myself – only a person hiding his head in the sand would not want to recognize her for what she is: encouraging to hurt someone. me and my family.
I had never imagined that he would indulge in fake and false attacks against my family – and would let his television attorney do the same. I hope that this committee and all members of Congress on both sides of the door will enlighten things: As a nation, we should not tolerate attempts to intimidate witnesses before the Congress and attacks against the family are out of reach and unacceptable.
I particularly want to thank President Pelosi for her statements in Exhibit 9 in order to protect this institution and myself, as well as the chair of the Special House Standing Committee on Intelligence, Adam Schiff, and President Cummings, who have also defended this institution and my family against Mr. Trump's attacks, as well as the many Republicans who also warned the president.
I am not a perfect man. I've done things I'm not proud of and I'm going to live with the consequences of my actions for the rest of my life.
But today, I decide the example I give to my children and the way I try to change the way history will remember me. I may not be able to change the past, but I can do what the American people are doing here today.
Thank you for your attention. I am pleased to answer the committee's questions.