Michael Cohen set to give 'evidence of alleged criminal conduct by Trump'

Saul Bowman
February 27, 2019

But by far the most highly anticipated is Cohen's scheduled testimony before the House Oversight Committee, which is slated to take place Wednesday in a public setting.

Chairman Elijah Cummings has said Democrats will grill Cohen on $280,000 in reimbursements he allegedly received from Trump in 2016 for hush payments to two of the president's former mistresses, Karen McDougal and Stormy Daniels - a crime if the payments were meant to affect the outcome of the 2016 election.

Reports in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Reuters quote unnamed sources as saying that Cohen will allege that Trump lied about his wealth, used racist language and, after becoming president, reimbursed Cohen for hush-money payments the lawyer made to porn actress Stormy Daniels to keep quiet a sexual encounter between her and Trump.

Cohen was one of Trump's closest aides and once said he would "take a bullet" for him but he turned against his former boss past year and is cooperating with prosecutors after pleading guilty to tax evasion, bank fraud and campaign finance violations.

Gaetz is not on the House committee that will be hearing from Cohen on Wednesday. When Cohen pleaded guilty to breaking campaign finance laws for that, he said he made the payment at Trump's direction.

Although topics related to Russian Federation will be off-limits during Wednesday's public hearing, it is possible that that testimony will have the most significant impact on Trump's reputation, with Cohen expected to offer an unflattering, behind-the-scenes portrait of the president as a person and businessman. He is set to begin a three-year prison sentence in May. "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".

He said no topics will be off limits and Cohen "should expect to get any question from anywhere about anything".

He said that without the corroborating evidence, Cohen testifying before Congress is only an attempt to "ruin the president's trip to Vietnam".

The hearing will also examine whether Trump has complied with campaign finance and tax laws, his ties to the Trump International Hotel in Washington and "potential and actual conflicts of interest".

Vanity Fair has more on what the questioning will include: "Cohen plans to air the president's dirty laundry during three days of congressional hearings-a final act of allocution before he reports to prison in May".

Cohen is expected to come to the congressional hearing with documents and other visual aids to support his contentions.

In an op-ed in USA Today on Tuesday, Republican Representatives Jim Jordan of OH and Mark Meadows of North Carolina called the hearing "a partisan circus meant to destroy Trump".

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