Cohen: Trump is 'becoming an autocrat'

Cohen: Trump is 'becoming an autocrat'
© Greg Nash

Michael Cohen on Wednesday claimed President TrumpDonald John TrumpCould Donald Trump and Boris Johnson be this generation's Reagan-Thatcher? Merkel backs Democratic congresswomen over Trump How China's currency manipulation cheats America on trade MORE is "becoming an autocrat" and named several factors that prompted him to break with Trump after years in which Cohen "watched his back."

In his Wednesday testimony to the House Oversight and Reform Committee, the former longtime Trump attorney said "Helsinki, Charlottesville, watching the daily destruction of our civility to one another" led to the breaking point in his relationship with Trump.

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Cohen added that he blames himself for helping Trump erode "civility" and pointed to a sign in the hearing room as an example. Rep. Paul GosarPaul Anthony GosarThe 27 Republicans who voted with Democrats to block Trump from taking military action against Iran Conservatives ask Barr to lay out Trump's rationale for census question House sends Trump border aid bill after Pelosi caves to pressure from moderates MORE (R-Ariz.) was using a sign labeling Cohen a "liar liar pants on fire" as a prop. 

“It’s that sort of behavior that I’m responsible for,” Cohen said. “I’m responsible for your silliness. I did the same thing you are doing now. I protected Mr. Trump for 10 years.”

Cohen warned Republicans not to follow in his footsteps.

“The more people that follow Mr. Trump as I did, blindly, are going to suffer the same consequences that I'm suffering,” he said.

He told the Republicans on the committee that he knows Trump, for whom he worked for many years, better than they do.

“When he goes on Twitter and he starts bringing in my in-laws, my parents, my wife, he’s sending out the same message that he can do whatever he wants," he said. "This is his country. He’s becoming an autocrat.” 

Trump on Fox News last month said he wasn't worried about Cohen's planned testimony, but suggested "he should give information maybe on his father-in-law, because that’s the one that people want to look at." Some Democrats and Cohen's lawyer warned that Trump's remarks about Cohen's family could be seen as witness intimidation. 

Trump in July met with Putin at a summit in Helsinki and refused to denounce Russia's election meddling, which was met with ire from some Republicans

After a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville in 2017, in which one counterprotester was killed, Trump was criticized for condemning "many sides" instead of solely the white supremacists.