Cohen: 'Trump Did Not Directly Tell Me to Lie to Congress'; No 'Direct Evidence' of Collusion

By Susan Jones | February 27, 2019 | 10:04am EST
Michael Cohen is mobbed by photographers as he takes his seat in the House Oversight hearing room. (Photo: Screen capture)

( - In his written statement to the House Oversight Committee, President Trump's former personal attorney slams the man he once revered, and promises to tell the truth, now that he's going to jail -- partly for lying to Congress.

Cohen will say that Trump is a "racist," a "conman," and a "cheat."

Cohen says Trump knew in advance about the Wikileaks drop of DNC emails, because Roger Stone told Trump it would happen.

But on the question of Russian collusion, Cohen said he does not have "direct evidence that Mr. Trump or his campaign colluded with Russia."

"I do not. I want to be clear. But, I have my suspicions," Cohen's statement says.

on the other hand, when it comes to Trump's potential real estate deal in Russia, Cohen will say:

"Mr. Trump did not directly tell me to lie to Congress. That’s not how he operates. In conversations we had during the campaign, at the same time I was actively negotiating in Russia for him, he would look me in the eye and tell me there’s no business in Russia and then go out and lie to the American people by saying the same thing. In his way, he was telling me to lie."

Cohen says Trump ran for president to "make his brand great, not to make our country great."

On the topic of Trump's character, Cohen says the "bad" in Trump "far outweighs te good, and since taking office, he has become the worst version of himself. He is capable of behaving kindly, but he is not kind. He is capable of committing acts of generosity, but he is not generous. He is capable of being loyal, but he is fundamentally disloyal."

Much of what Cohen says is not provable, such as Cohen's dig at Trump's son Don Jr.

Cohen describes a moment in June 2016 when Don Jr. came into Trump's office and told him "the meeting is all set."

"What struck me as I looked back and thought about that exchange between Don Jr. and his father was, first, that Mr. Trump had frequently told me and others that his son Don Jr. had the worst judgment of anyone in the world. And also, that Don Jr. would never set up any meeting of any significance alone – and certainly not without checking with his father.

"I also knew that nothing went on in Trump world, especially the campaign, without Mr. Trump’s knowledge and approval. So, I concluded that Don Jr. was referring to that June 2016 Trump Tower meeting" (about getting dirt on Hillary Clinton).

Trump has publicly denied knowing beforehand about a meeting that turned out to be about nothing.

Cohen said he will offer documentary evidence purporting to show that Trump himself reimbursed Cohen for the hush money to Stormy Daniels; copies of financial statements dating back to 2011-13; copies of letters Cohen wrote, at Trump's direction, threatening various schools not to release Trump's grades or SAT scores; and a "copy of an article with Mr. Trump's handwriting on it" involving a portrait of Trump, for which Trump supposedly reimbursed the buyer, using money from his charity.

At the end of his statement, Cohen said he's sorry for lying to Congress: "To our nation, I am sorry for actively working to hide from you the truth about Mr. Trump when you needed it most."

Democrats are eager to substantiate their claims that Trump violated campaign finance laws by suppressing damaging personal information in the run-up to the 2016 election.

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