KEY TAKEAWAYS: COHEN TESTIMONY
February 27, 2019
Here are key takeaways from Michael Cohen’s testimony today:
REPUBLICANS WOULD NOT DEFEND TRUMP: Republicans refused to ask Cohen questions about Trump or try to demonstrate that his testimony today was false, instead focusing on his lying to Congress — which he did in an attempt to protect Trump.
Cohen: “I just find it interesting, sir, that between yourself and your colleagues, that not one question so far, since I’m here, has been asked about President Trump.”
New York Times: “At a surprise federal court hearing in Manhattan, Mr. Cohen admitted that he had minimized Mr. Trump’s role in efforts to build a Trump Tower in Moscow and gave the false impression to Congress that the negotiations had ended in January 2016, just before the Iowa caucuses.”
TRUMP COMMITTED FRAUD: Cohen testified that Trump committed financial fraud by inflating or deflating his assets and revenues in order to get loans or avoid taxes.
Cohen: “I’m giving the Committee today three years of President Trump’s financial statements, from 2011-2013, which he gave to Deutsche Bank to inquire about a loan to buy the Buffalo Bills and to Forbes. […] It was my experience that Mr. Trump inflated his total assets when it served his purposes, such as trying to be listed among the wealthiest people in Forbes, and deflated his assets to reduce his real estate taxes.”
Cohen: “Everything was done with the knowledge and at the direction of Mr. Trump.”
TRUMP DIRECTED HUSH MONEY PAYMENTS: Cohen testified that Trump told him to buy the silence of porn star Stormy Daniels during the campaign — and even provided a personal reimbursement check that Trump himself signed months into his presidency.
Washington Post’s Max Boot: “Cohen testified that Trump told him to pay off a porn star and reimbursed him for doing so. Cohen even produced a check Trump signed while he was president and another one that was signed by Donald Trump Jr., implicating the president’s son in this felony, as well.”
Cohen: “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.”
POSSIBLY MORE ILLEGAL ACTIVITY: Cohen implied that federal prosecutors are looking at other illegal acts committed by Trump that have not been disclosed publicly.
Rep. Krishnamoorthi: “When was the last communication with President Trump or someone acting on his behalf. […] And what did he or his agent communicate to you.”
Cohen: “Unfortunately, this topic is actually something that’s being investigated right now by the Southern District of New York and I’ve been asked by them not to discuss and not to talk about these issues.”
STONE TOLD TRUMP ABOUT WIKILEAKS: Cohen claimed Roger Stone told Trump about WikiLeaks’ planned release of hacked DNC emails, and suggested that the special counsel’s office might have corroborating evidence.
WSJ’s Dustin Volz: “Cohen says call between Stone and Trump about Wikileaks took place on July 18 or July 19, 2016. If true, that would mean the call happened the EXACT same day or one day after Mueller said Wikileaks told Guccifer it had received the stolen DNC archive”
Rep. Wasserman Schultz: “Roger Stone says he never spoke with Mr. Trump about WikiLeaks. How can we corroborate what you are saying?”
Cohen: “I don’t know, but I suspect that the special counsel’s office and other government agencies have the information that you’re seeking.”
TRUMP AND HIS LAWYERS CHANGED COHEN’S STORY: Cohen said Trump’s attorneys edited his testimony about the Trump Tower Moscow deal, in which he committed perjury.
The Atlantic’s Natasha Bertrand: “Big: Cohen says changes were made to his testimony about the Trump Tower Moscow deal by Trump’s lawyer Jay Sekulow (and maybe others on Trump’s legal team, but he was cut off.) The changes included his statements about how long the negotiations went on, Cohen says.”
TRUMP TOLD COHEN TO LIE: Cohen said Trump directed him to lie that Trump had no knowledge of the illegal hush money payments made to Stormy Daniels.
New York Times’ Maggie Haberman: “Big – Cohen says Trump asked him to say that Trump wasn’t knowledgable of Cohen’s payments to Daniels. This was Feb 2018, when Trump was president for a year already. He says Trump called him to direct him to mislead the public.”