Trump blasts Cohen, but 'impressed' with collusion comments

Trump blasts Cohen, but 'impressed' with collusion comments
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President TrumpDonald John TrumpRepublicans aim to avoid war with White House over impeachment strategy New York Times editorial board calls for Trump's impeachment Trump rips Michigan Rep. Dingell after Fox News appearance: 'Really pathetic!' MORE on Thursday blasted Michael Cohen’s explosive testimony before Congress but said he was “a little impressed” his former personal lawyer claimed there was “no collusion” between the Trump campaign and Russia in the 2016 election.

At a news conference in Vietnam following his summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, which produced no deal, Trump said Cohen “lied a lot” at the “fake hearing” on Capitol Hill.

“It was pretty shameful, I think,” said Trump, who added he tried to watch as much of the hearing as he could.

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“But it was very interesting because he didn’t lie about one thing. He said no collusion with the Russian hoax,” Trump continued. “I mean, he lied about so many different things. I was actually impressed that he didn’t say, ‘Well I think there was collusion for this reason or that.’”

The president added that Cohen “could’ve gone all out,” but said he “only went about 95 percent instead of 100 percent.”

Trump’s comments were his first on Cohen’s testimony, in which the former Trump confidant described the president as a “racist” and “con man” who engaged in various crimes. The hearings received wall-to-wall coverage on cable news and largely overshadowed the president’s summit in Vietnam.

Trump expressed dismay that congressional Democrats scheduled the hearing to coincide with his second meeting with Kim, calling it “sort of incredible.”

“Having it in the middle of this very important summit is really a terrible thing,” he said. “They could have made it two days later or next week and it would have been even better, they would have had more time.”

But Trump mischaracterized Cohen’s remarks about potential collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. 

Cohen told lawmakers on the House Oversight and Reform Committee he has no “direct evidence” that Trump or his campaign team colluded with Moscow’s effort to interfere in the 2016 presidential election, but said he has “suspicions” about it.

Cohen said Trump knew in advance that WikiLeaks planned to release emails that could hurt Democratic nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonNo, the polls aren't wrong — but you have to know what to look for How to shut down fake Republican outrage over 'spying' on Trump More than 200,000 Wisconsin voters will be removed from the rolls MORE’s presidential campaign in the months leading up to Election Day, citing an alleged phone call between Trump and Roger StoneRoger Jason StoneDOJ backs ex-Trump campaign aide Richard Gates's probation request Schiff says investigators seeking to identify who Giuliani spoke to on unlisted '-1' number What if impeachment fails? MORE around the Democratic National Convention in which the GOP operative told the candidate that a “massive” email trove damaging to Clinton would soon be released.

Whether there was any collusion between Trump and Russia is the central question being examined by special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerJeffries blasts Trump for attack on Thunberg at impeachment hearing Live coverage: House Judiciary to vote on impeachment after surprise delay Trump says he'll release financial records before election, knocks Dems' efforts MORE, who has been investigating the matter since the spring of 2017.

Cohen pleaded guilty to a slew of other financial crimes and lying to Congress, something Cohen said he did at the behest of Trump to protect the president. He is scheduled to begin a three-year prison sentence next month.