Feb. 27 (UPI) — Michael Cohen, a former attorney for President Donald Trump, told a congressional committee on Wednesday that the president is a “racist,” a “con man” and a “cheat” and he regrets working for him.
Cohen told the House oversight committee he acted to benefit Trump and his campaign for president in 2016 out of “blind” loyalty he now realizes was misplaced.
For example, Cohen presented evidence that Trump reimbursed him for hush money payments to an adult film star after he was elected president. He showed a wire transfer for $130,000 from Trump to the actress’ attorney and a copy of a check Trump gave him for repayment. Other checks bore Donald Trump Jr.’s name. He also said Trump made efforts during the 1960s to dodge the Vietnam War.
Previously known as Trump’s “fixer,” Cohen expressed remorse for his actions and said he’s “not a bad person.”
“I am no longer your ‘fixer,’ Mr. Trump. I am going to prison and have shattered the safety and security that I tried so hard to provide for my family,” he said. “My testimony certainly does not diminish the pain I caused my family and friends — nothing can do that.”
Democrats on the panel asked a wide range of questions related to Trump, while some Republicans assailed Cohen’s character and credibility.
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., asked Cohen whether Trump’s “win at all costs” attitude would prompt him to collaborate with a foreign power.
Cohen answered, “Yes,” adding that he’s limited in what he can say because of the Justice Department’s Russia investigation.
“Mr. Trump’s desire to win would have him work with anyone,” Cohen said. “This was just business as usual.”
Cohen also detailed a time in 2016 when Donald Trump Jr. whispered something to the president about a Russian meeting — to which the commander in-chief replied, “That’s good. Let me know.” He said he doesn’t have hard evidence of collusion with Russia, but said special counsel Robert Mueller‘s office has information about that.
Cohen told the panel that being around Trump was “intoxicating” to the point that he ignored his conscience. He also said as a general rule of business, Trump inflates his net worth when it benefits him and downplays his income when it’s tax time.
“I am ashamed of my own weakness and misplaced loyalty — of the things I did for Mr. Trump in an effort to protect and promote him,” Cohen told the House. “I am ashamed because I know what Mr. Trump is. He is a racist. He is a con man. He is a cheat.”
Cohen was also asked why he feared for his family’s safety when he previously said he’d testify in Congress.
“When Mr. Trump turned around early in the campaign and said, ‘I can shoot somebody on Fifth Avenue and get away with it,’ I want to be very clear — he’s not joking,” Cohen said. “He’s telling you the truth. You don’t know him. I do. I sat next to this man for 10 years. I started the campaign.”
Cohen said Trump has used Twitter to talk about his in-laws, parents and other relatives to threaten him in hopes he wouldn’t testify.
“He’s sending out the same message that he can do whatever he wants,” he said. “He would use others. I’m not sure he would have to hire them. They’re already working there.”