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Trump's inner circle suffers collateral damage at Cohen hearing







Donald Trump, Jr. and Ivanka Trump

Michael Cohen's comments on members of President Donald Trump's circle will likely attract the attention of lawmakers, including his children Donald Trump Jr. (right), Ivanka Trump (left) and Eric Trump. | Saul Loeb – Pool / Getty Images

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The former president's lawyer mentioned some of Trump's children and close associates in his testimony in the House.

By DARREN SAMUELSOHN, JOSH GERSTEIN and ANITA KUMAR

In the battle between President Donald Trump and Michael Cohen, some people in their immediate orbit become collateral successes.

Trump's former lawyer and personal fixer dropped several names of people around him Wednesday during his televised testimony before the House Oversight Committee, including the president's adult children and senior executives of his eponymous company, The Trump Organization. Cohen also contacted the first Trump campaign manager in 2016 and the legal team surrounding the president.

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It is unclear whether any of the people cited by Cohen will be subject to criminal charges or other legal consequences, although in his testimony he refused to answer questions from several legislators on this subject. because they were part of ongoing federal investigations.

Any conflict between Cohen's story and anything he mentioned could have been said to investigators could also serve as a pretext for future legal disputes. Many of the people cited by Trump's former lawyer have now made their own statements to federal prosecutors and in some cases Congressional committees, creating a possible legal exposure on all discrepancies.

However, prosecutors are unlikely to bring the case on the mere word of Cohen, who admitted to having repeatedly lied to Trump and pleaded guilty to lying to Congress.

At the very least, Cohen's comments on Trump's circle members are likely to attract the attention of lawmakers as they pursue their investigations of everything from Russia's interference in the United States. 2016 election to the president's business relations.

Here's a closer look at who gave his name on Wednesday and why:

Donald Trump Jr .:

Trump Jr. has been the subject of many of Cohen's responses, including a direct accusation that his eldest son played a role in a criminal conspiracy helping to facilitate the payments of adult movie star Stormy Daniels.

"I believe the signature at the top is his signature," said Cohen, Trump Jr.'s identifier as signing a $ 35,000 check sent in March 2017 as a partial refund of $ 130,000 that Cohen had planned to transfer to Daniels just before the elections.

This scheme is one of the campaign financing crimes that Cohen acknowledged last year, but prosecutors have not accused Trump Jr. of any offense.

Cohen's testimony was also in contradiction with the statements Donald Trump Jr. made in front of the Congress on the Trump Tower Moscow project. In September 2017, Trump Jr. told the Senate Intelligence Committee that he was "conscious" only peripherally of this effort, but Cohen said Wednesday that Trump Jr. had received many information on efforts to build a Trump brand building in the Russian capital.

Cohen said on Wednesday that he had given "about 10" sessions of this type to Trump Jr. or Ivanka Trump, or both, although this is not entirely clear.

Cohen also said that he thought Trump Jr. was the Trump organization's leader identified by prosecutors in court documents only as "Executive-2". This person would have approved at least one of the repayment payments.

However, the identity of this executive remained uncertain on Wednesday, the Wall Street Journal reporting that the staff member of The Trump Organization in question is actually the controller of the real estate group, Jeffrey McConney.

A Trump Jr. and Trump Organization lawyer, who is currently co-leading with his brother Eric while his father is president, did not respond to a request for comment. However, Trump Jr. took a series of gunshots against Cohen on Twitter as the former fixer's testimony unfolded.

Cohen also lied under oath about 3 times, saying that he was not interested in a role in the administration.In truth, he actively exerted pressure on all who listened to the role. Chief of staff or otherwise, many journalists know that he can not help but perjury himself, "wrote Trump Jr.

Ivanka Trump:

Cohen testified that, like Trump Jr., Ivanka Trump had participated in numerous information meetings on the Trump Tower Moscow project. The investigators answered the survey questions that the president's eldest daughter answered, but her public answers raise questions about whether she was also keen on what Cohen calls false "party line." "according to which the project was left for dead early 2016. the presidential campaign.

In an interview granted earlier this month, Ivanka Trump downplayed the importance of the efforts devoted to the Moscow project, saying she knew "practically nothing" about it.

"It was not exactly an advanced project," said Trump's daughter at ABC News. "It was really only a factor in our minds."

A lawyer for Ivanka Trump did not respond to a request for comment.

Eric Trump:

Cohen stated that some of the checks he received in connection with Daniels' payment may have been signed by Eric Trump, but that Trump's former lawyer did not provide a copy of them at his testimony of Wednesday.

Although Cohen agreed at one point that there had been a criminal conspiracy, Trump's attorney stated that he could not state with any certainty that Eric Trump, Donald Trump Jr. or Trump Organization's chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg, knew that the payments were "fake and illegal."

"I can not draw that conclusion," said Cohen.

What these men know or have heard about the law can be as important as what they did, because under the Federal Election Finances Act, violations are only a crime if the person involved knows she is breaking the law.

Eric Trump and a lawyer at The Trump Organization did not respond to a request for comment.

Allen Weisselberg:

Cohen mentioned the long-time financial director of the Trump Organization, over two dozen people during the hearing, including during conversations about the Daniels pay plan. Cohen also said that he and Weisselberg had discussed in more detail the strategy of the Weisselberg office at Trump Tower. Cohen also said Weisselberg and Donald Trump Jr. had signed a check for 2017 repaying him for the money payments.

"Mr. Weisselberg for sure [knew] on the whole of the discussions and negotiations before the elections, "Cohen told legislators. In August, the news was announced that federal prosecutors in New York had granted the immunity of lawsuits to Weisselberg, who had not responded to a request for comment.

Rhona Graff:

Graff, Trump's longtime assistant, who worked for Trump Tower for three decades, could be contacted to corroborate Cohen's testimony if she has not already done so. Specifically, Cohen said that she could find out if Trump knew that hacked Democrat emails would be released during the 2016 campaign. "Her office was right next to hers and she's involved in a lot of things that happened, "Cohen told members of Congress. Graff, who has been described as Trump's guardian, has continued to work for Trump since being elected president. His lawyer did not respond to a request for comment.

Roger Stone:

Cohen's testimony may have aggravated the troubles of Stone, Trump's longtime associate, already accused of lying to Congress and obstructing the legislature's investigation of Russia. . In his opening statement, Cohen described a conversation he had heard in Trump's office at Trump Tower in July 2016, when Stone had been ported through speaker to tell what he had just been talking to. WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange would damage Hillary Clinton's campaign. "

Stone has long denied having direct communications with Assange. On Wednesday, he even risked violating the gag order of a federal judge who forced him to restrict his comment on the Russia inquiry to tell POLITICO that Cohen's testimony was not "true".

Corey Lewandowski:

Cohen said he spoke to Lewandowski, Trump's first campaign director for over a year at the start of the campaign, about possible dates for Trump to visit Russia to lobby for the construction of the Trump tower in this country. The trip never took place because Cohen could not acquire the property in Russia. Lewandowski was fired, but remains an outside trump advisor and has co-authored two books on Trump.

He and his lawyer did not respond to a request for comment, but Lewandowski previously referred to Cohen as "rat".

Jay Sekulow:

Cohen dragged his replacement as Trump's personal lawyer in the composition to try to explain how he was accused of making false statements to the House Intelligence Committee about an aborted Trump Tower project in Moscow. Cohen specifically mentioned that Sekulow was one of the lawyers who, in 2017, reviewed his testimony and amended it.

But questioned again about the process by another congressman, Cohen replied that he did not know which White House lawyers had reviewed his statement. Cohen added that he and his first attorney, Stephen Ryan, had originally written the testimony, which had then circulated among several lawyers, including Abbe Lowell, Ivanka Trump's attorney and Jared Kushner, involved in a joint defense agreement.

In a statement to POLITICO, Sekulow rejected Cohen's assertion that he or any other Trump attorney had altered the statement in question. "Today 's testimony by Michael Cohen that the president' s lawyers have changed or changed his statement to Congress to change the duration of the Trump Tower negotiations in Moscow is completely false," Sekulow said.

Rudy Giuliani:

Cohen made repeated statements about the former mayor of New York, who had joined the president's personal legal team last May. Trump's former lawyer accused Giuliani of launching attacks on him that he said posed a threat to his safety and possible intimidation of witnesses. Cohen also blamed Giuliani for drawing attention to the potential links between his father-in-law's business relations and the Russian mafia.

Rejecting his GOP critics who were wondering why he was violating the solicitor-client privilege by publishing audio cassettes of his conversations with Trump, Cohen also insisted that Giuliani was the first to waive the confidentiality agreement by discussing the registrations. And he noted that Giuliani's appearance on Fox News last spring included an inaccurate description of how Trump paid Cohen the hidden cash payments.

In a text message, Giuliani challenged many of Cohen's claims. He stated that he had not waived this privilege and commented on the tape only if it had been disclosed "by himself or his special advocate" by Mueller's office. He also rejected Cohen's complaint that Giuliani's comments about his stepfather were supposed to be a threat.

"All I did was repeat the 30 or so reports in the media that he and some of his family were involved in organized crime. The threat, if it exists, comes from them, if it is true, "wrote Giuliani.

Jeffrey Getzel:

Jeffrey Getzel, an accountant from Long Island, New York, is one of the characters that are far from known, but suddenly found themselves under fire from critics at Wednesday's hearing. When Cohen was attacked by Republicans for the five counts of tax evasion he admitted, Trump's former lawyer shot his former accountant at one point.

"He'd almost told me in a previous note to commit a fraud, but by putting all that aside with Jeff Getzel, I pleaded guilty and I committed my fault," Cohen said. . "I've already said it 100 times.I do not really know why this singular attack on my taxes, if you want to watch them, I'm more than happy to show you them."

According to press reports last summer, Getzel was reported to appear before a grand jury in Manhattan to testify about Cohen's finances. GOP lawmakers have repeatedly accused Cohen of trying to blame others for his crimes, including pointing to Getzel.

A woman who answered the phone at Getzel's office on Wednesday was interrupted before a reporter could ask a question about the accountant's mention at the hearing. "No comment," said the woman before hanging up.


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