Cohen says Trump asked him to make as many as 500 'threats' to people

Cohen says Trump asked him to make as many as 500 'threats' to people
© Greg Nash

President TrumpDonald John TrumpThe Hill's Morning Report - White House, Congress: Urgency of now around budget GOP presses Trump to make a deal on spending Democrats wary of handing Trump a win on infrastructure MORE's former attorney Michael Cohen said Wednesday he issued hundreds of threats and messages meant to intimidate opponents of his former boss over the decade during which Cohen was employed by Trump.

During his congressional testimony before the House Oversight and Reform Committee, Cohen was questioned by Rep. Jackie SpeierKaren (Jackie) Lorraine Jacqueline SpeierGOP senator announces bill to block companies from tracking online activity Mueller mystery: Will he ever testify to Congress? The Hill's Morning Report — Dem ire at Barr intensifies MORE (D-Calif.) on his role as the New York real estate mogul's fixer.

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"How many times did Mr. Trump ask you to threaten an individual or entity on his behalf?" Speier asked Cohen.

"Quite a few times," Cohen responded.

"50 times? 100 times? 200 times? 500 times?" Speier continued, with Cohen responding "more" each time until she reached 500.

"Probably, over the 10 years," Cohen stopped the lawmaker, after her count reached 500.

"And when you say threaten, I'm talking about with litigation, or an argument ... a nasty reporter is writing an article," Cohen added, offering the example of a journalist threatening a story about the Trump Organization.

Cohen's accusations came as he prepares to embark on a three-year prison sentence, which was handed down in December.

The former lawyer, who was disbarred this week, pleaded guilty last year to financial crimes including bank fraud and campaign finance violations during the 2016 election, a result of his payments to Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal, two women claiming affairs with the president, on Trump's behalf.

The president lashed out at his former attorney on Twitter before Wednesday's hearing began, accusing Cohen of "lying in order to reduce his prison time."