Washington A “racist,” a “con man,” and a “cheat” — those are just a few of the accusations Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s former longtime attorney, leveled against his old boss during his highly anticipated public appearance before Congress on Wednesday.
Cohen is set to deliver a damning account of the president’s business and campaign practices just hours after Trump opened the second nuclear summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Hanoi, Vietnam. Cohen will be grilled by members of the House Oversight Committee. Republicans, including Trump, have argued Cohen is an opportunistic liar whose word cannot be trusted.
One of the most heated exchanges so far today took place between Republican Jim Jordan, the ranking member, and Cohen, who seemed to temporarily lose his cool.
“Shame on you, Mr. Jordan,” Cohen said at one point.
Jordan questioned that Cohen’s remorse for his crimes and whether he took any responsibility for what he had done.
Cohen was indignant, raising his voice to push back.
“I take responsibility for my actions,” he said, adding that he was in fact “remorseful.”
“I am going to prison,” he said. “I will be away from my wife and family for years.”
James Comer, R-Ky., had a fiery exchange with Cohen over his bank loans and whether he committed bank fraud.
After several questions related to Cohen’s admitted bank fraud, Comer asks: If Trump is a cheat, what are you?
“A fool,” Cohen said.
Cohen in his opening testimony and thus far in the hearing has stated how remorseful he is for helping Trump, who he called a “con” and “racist,” and vowed to Cummings that he would tell the truth today about his lies and crimes.
President Trump’s sons Don Jr. and Eric Trump swiftly attacked Cohen’s credibility when Trump’s former longtime lawyer told the Oversight Committee that he had declined a White House role.
“Michael was lobbying EVERYONE to be “Chief of Staff.” It was the biggest joke in the campaign and around the office. Did he just perjure himself again?” Eric Trump tweeted.
Don Jr. then replied: “Nailed it. It really was the biggest joke of the entire transition. The beginning of his bitterness was when he realized that was never going to happen. #Delusional.”
Cohen testified that Trump, who he said did not even expect to win the presidency, was fuming when Cohen did not join the White House. However, because Trump was a political neophyte, he had to tap many unknowns to step into White House roles. His longtime assistant Hope Hicks, for instance, became his campaign spokesperson and then became White House communications director before stepping down from that role.