Chris Wallace calls Michael Cohen a 'thug'

Fox News anchor Chris Wallace tore into former Trump attorney Michael Cohen ahead of his testimony Wednesday on Capitol Hill, calling him "a thug" and "one of the meanest, most vengeful men I've ever dealt with in politics."

Wallace shared his past experience interacting with Cohen, seeking to contrast it with the "contrite" tone that Cohen was expected to take in Wednesday's hearing before the House Oversight and Reform Committee, based on his prepared opening statement.

"I’ve dealt with Michael Cohen as the general counsel of the Trump Organization during his 12 years in that role," Wallace, who has worked in political media for decades, said on Fox News. "He was one of the meanest, most vengeful men I’ve ever dealt with in my half-century in politics. He, frankly, was a thug."

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"I remember in the fall of 2015 trying to get an interview with Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpWarren defends, Buttigieg attacks in debate that shrank the field Five takeaways from the Democratic debate in Ohio Democrats debate in Ohio: Who came out on top? MORE as a presidential candidate," he continued. "And it wasn’t just that he said no, it’s that he went out of his way to try to humiliate me in the process, saying, 'Look, I could book him on a show every week from now until 2016, until Election Day, and you still wouldn’t get an interview.'"

"When he was in power in the Trump World, he wielded that like a weapon. Very effectively, very vengefully," Wallace added. "This is quite a fall from that position, but remember, that’s who he was at that time."

Cohen is scheduled to report to prison in May after pleading guilty last year to a series of crimes he committed while working for Trump, including campaign finance violations and lying to Congress. He was sentenced in December.

On Wednesday, Cohen compared Trump to a mobster in alleging he was seeking to intimidate him before his testimony to Congress.

“By coming today, I have caused my family to be the target of personal, scurrilous attacks by the president and his lawyer, trying to intimidate me from appearing before this panel," Cohen said towards the end of his opening remarks. 

"Mr. Trump called me a ‘Rat’ for choosing to tell the truth, much like a mobster would do when one of his men decides to cooperate with the government," he added.

Trump, who is in Vietnam for a second summit with North Korea leader Kim Jong Un, tweeted that Cohen was one of several lawyers who represented him while claiming that "Cohen is lying in order to reduce his prison time."

"Michael Cohen was one of many lawyers who represented me (unfortunately). He had other clients also. He was just disbarred by the State Supreme Court for lying & fraud. He did bad things unrelated to Trump. He is lying in order to reduce his prison time. Using Crooked’s lawyer!" Trump tweeted.