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Published: Wednesday, February 27, 2019 @ 12:27 PM
— Labeling President Donald Trump a 'con man' and a 'cheat,' Mr. Trump's former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, apologized for lying to Congress about the extent of the President's business interests in Russia during the 2016 campaign, and offered new details on how he had been reimbursed after making hush money payments to porn star Stormy Daniels at the President's direction before the elections.
"I protected Mr. Trump for 10 years," Cohen said before the House Oversight Committee. "I am not protecting Mr. Trump anymore."
"I am providing a copy of a $35,000 check that President Trump personally signed, from his personal bank account on August 1 of 2017," Cohen told the panel.
"Other checks to reimburse me for the hush money payments were signed by Donald Trump Jr., and Allan Weisselberg," Cohen said, naming the President's on, and the Chief Financial Officer of the Trump Organization.
Cohen implicated Trump directly in the payment of hush money to Stormy Daniels. In August 2017, Trump wrote a check to Cohen for $35,000, he testified, submitting a copy of one of the checks into evidence. https://t.co/ALLGBd5M8t pic.twitter.com/02Qh4MGdIP— Los Angeles Times (@latimes) February 27, 2019
Cohen testified that before the election - with the threat that the Daniels story was about to become public - he met with President Trump and Weisselberg, as they struggled to find a source of funds to pay $130,000 to Daniels.
In the end, Cohen fronted the payment, by drawing on his own home equity loan account, and was then paid back during 2017 - while the President was in office, action which led in part to Cohen’s guilty plea in late 2017 for campaign law violations, which will send him to jail starting in May.
"Donald Trump wrote you a check - from his personal account - while he was serving as President of the United States of America," said Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), the Chairman of the Oversight Committee.
Republicans repeatedly attacked Cohen's credibility, arguing that if he lied once to Congress - as he has plead guilty to doing - then he was clear not to be trusted today.
Cohen's response was simple - he lied in the past to protect President Trump, and now he was telling the unvarnished truth.
Cohen: “The lies that I told to Congress benefited Trump, was in furtherance of protecting Mr. Trump.”— TicToc by Bloomberg (@tictoc) February 27, 2019
“I am not protecting Mr. Trump anymore” pic.twitter.com/kR2u0touAK
"The lies that I told to Congress in fairness, benefited Mr. Trump - it was in furtherance of my protection of Mr. Trump," Cohen said.
Republicans on the panel were having none of that.
“You are a liar,” said Rep. Jody Hice (R-GA).
“You are a disgraced lawyer,” said Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ), who tried to mock Cohen by quoting the playground insult, “liar, liar, pants on fire.”
Gosar: “You’re a pathological liar, you don’t know truth from falsehood.”— TicToc by Bloomberg (@tictoc) February 27, 2019
Cohen: “Are you referring to me, or the president?” pic.twitter.com/P3utgXoPrC
“It seems to me there’s not much you won’t lie about,” said Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC), as Republicans asked no questions about Cohen’s interactions with President Trump, but instead repeatedly called him an ‘all around liar.’
“I find it interesting that not one question from you today has been about Mr. Trump,” Cohen said at one point. “That's why I thought I was coming today."
At one point, Cohen said that he couldn’t answer a certain question because of federal ongoing investigations involving Mr. Trump - it wasn’t clear what matters those involved.
.@congressmanraja: "Is there any other wrongdoing or illegal act that you are aware of regarding Donald Trump that we haven't yet discussed today?"— CSPAN (@cspan) February 27, 2019
Michael Cohen: "Yes...those are part of the investigation that's currently being looked at by the Southern District of New York." pic.twitter.com/21ZQot9mZF