Michael Cohen, the former “fixer” and personal lawyer of U.S. President Donald Trump, is expected to testify on Wednesday that Trump knew ahead of time about a leak of emails that would hurt his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election.
WASHINGTON, D.C., UNITED STATES (POOL) – Michael Cohen, the former “fixer” and personal lawyer of U.S. President Donald Trump, is expected to testify on Wednesday that Trump knew ahead of time about a leak of emails that would hurt his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election.
Cohen will also tell Congress that Trump directed negotiations for a real estate project in Moscow, even as he publicly said he had no business interests in Russia while he campaigned for the presidency, according to a draft of Cohen’s planned testimony.
In the text of his planned opening statement before a House of Representatives committee, Cohen calls Trump a “racist,” a “conman” and a “cheat,” and said he would be handing over documents to support his assertions. The draft statement was first reported by the New York Times.
Cohen says Trump ordered him to pay $130,000 to an adult film actress known as Stormy Daniels to cover up an affair in violation of campaign finance laws, and also told Cohen to lie about it to First Lady Melania Trump.
The sweeping claims against Trump, from a man who was once a loyal ally, come as Special Counsel Robert Mueller appears to be close to completing his investigation into possible collusion between Trump’s 2016 campaign team and Russian efforts to interfere in the election.
Trump, who has denied any collusion between his campaign and Moscow, dismisses the Mueller investigation as a “witch hunt” and has said Cohen is a liar and a “rat.”
“He did bad things unrelated to Trump. He is lying in order to reduce his prison time,” Trump said in a tweet on Wednesday from Vietnam, where he was meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to try to break a stalemate over the North’s nuclear weapons.
Later, sitting alongside Kim, Trump did not answer reporters’ questions about Cohen, who has already been sentenced and begins a three-year prison term in May after pleading guilty to multiple crimes.
Trump has previously denied knowing ahead of time about the WikiLeaks dump of Democratic National Committee (DNC) emails during the election.
Cohen, in his prepared comments, said he was in Trump’s office in July 2016 when Roger Stone, a self-described “dirty trickster” and longtime political adviser to Trump, called the Republican presidential candidate.
Cohen said Stone told Trump he had been speaking with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who told him there would be a dump of emails within a couple of days that would damage Clinton’s campaign.