Cohen to accuse Trump of criminal conduct in office: report

President Trump’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen will reportedly testify publicly on Wednesday that the president engaged in criminal conduct while in office.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Cohen will provide members of the House Oversight and Reform Committee with evidence that Trump was involved in criminal actions related to a hush-money payment to adult-film star Stormy Daniels, who alleged she had an affair with the president.

A person familiar with Cohen’s planned testimony would not elaborate on his allegations, other than to say they involved the payment to Daniels, the Journal reported. 

{mosads}The New York Times separately reported that Cohen will describe in “granular detail” the plan to pay Daniels and that he would provide documentation to supplement his claims.

Cohen last year pleaded guilty to paying Daniels and one other woman during the 2016 campaign to keep quiet about alleged affairs with Trump. He said at the time that he committed the campaign finance violations at Trump’s direction.

The president has shifted his comments over time on his knowledge of the payments, but has denied wrongdoing and insisted the transactions did not violate campaign finance laws.

The Journal reported that Cohen will additionally provide some of Trump’s financial statements and testify that the president inflated or deflated his personal worth for business purposes, as well as repeating his claim that the president made racist remarks. 

Cohen in an interview last November detailed instances in which he recalled Trump making racist comments about African-Americans.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders slammed Cohen in a statement, calling him a “disgraced felon” who will go to prison for lying to Congress.

“Sadly, he will go before Congress this week and we can expect more of the same,” Sanders said. “It’s laughable that anyone would take a convicted liar like Cohen at his word, and pathetic to see him given yet another opportunity to spread his lies.”

Cohen, who worked for years as Trump’s personal attorney and fixer, was sentenced late last year to serve three years in prison after he pleaded guilty to campaign finance law violations, bank fraud, tax fraud and lying to Congress about the timing of negotiations for a Trump Tower in Moscow.

The president has decried his longtime employee as a “rat” and a “weak person,” accusing Cohen of lying to secure a softer prison sentence. 

“I never directed Michael Cohen to break the law,” Trump tweeted after Cohen’s sentencing. “He was a lawyer and he is supposed to know the law. It is called ‘advice of counsel,’ and a lawyer has great liability if a mistake is made. That is why they get paid.”

Cohen will speak privately on Tuesday with the Senate Intelligence Committee ahead of his public testimony on Wednesday. Cohen’s public testimony will coincide with the president’s first day of meetings in Vietnam with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Democrats have for weeks sought to hear from Cohen, who last month rescheduled his testimony after he accused Trump of witness intimidation.

Republicans on the Oversight and Reform Committee are expected to question Cohen’s credibility, noting that he has already admitted to lying to Congress in the past.

Updated at 9:22 a.m.

Tags Donald Trump

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