By JOSEPH QUESADA
Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer and confidant, Michael Cohen, appeared before a congressional intelligence committee on Feb. 28 and then again on Mar. 6. Cohen is currently awaiting a three-year prison sentence on charges of tax and bank fraud as well as lying before an intelligence committee in regards to information surrounding the 2016 presidential campaign. The 52-year-old attorney appeared before the congressional committee twice in the past week, offering valuable information on the current president and possible collusion with Russia in the 2016 election.
He opened his testimony by referring to Donald Trump as a “racist, a conman and a cheat” and gave insight to remarks the current president has made about black voters and foreign countries. Cohen took the time to speak on behalf of his personal and professional relationship with president Trump, explaining that he is “not protecting Mr. Trump anymore.”
Cohen then presented a check for $130,000, written by president Trump, which was intended to act as “hush money,” paid to adult film actress Stormy Daniels to keep quiet an alleged affair between herself and the president. Cohen stated, “He asked me to pay off an adult film star with whom he had an affair, and to lie to his wife about it, which I did.” This statement brings truth to a scandal affair dating back to before the 2016 election.
Arguably, the most important accusation he has made thus far is his statement on the president’s knowledge of collusion during his 2016 campaign between President Trump, political consultant Roger Stone and the website Wikileaks. The issue at hand being illicit campaign tactics involving collusion on publishing stolen documents during the 2016 presidential campaign. Michael Cohen came forward to say that Trump had spoken to Roger Stone, clarifying that Stone had spoken to Wikileaks founder Julian Assange regarding publishing illegally obtained documents with the intent to damage Hillary Clinton’s campaign in July 2016. Cohen’s statements do not provide concrete evidence of this happening but do raise questions in regards to investigator Robert Mueller’s ongoing investigation on President Trump and possible campaign fraud.
President Trump has since stated that Michael Cohen reached out to him and “directly asked [him] for a pardon” to which the president declined. Cohen responded to that statement by articulating that he never asked for a pardon and that Trump’s claim was just “another set of lies.” Whether or not the statement is, in fact, true, it questions if Cohen really did seek the president’s help in granting him a pardon.
Michael Cohen’s status as a professional attorney and counsel to president Donald Trump has quickly deteriorated into that of a liar and fraud. His credibility as a witness in a high profile federal investigation is questionable, considering his past. However, Cohen’s position and close proximity to Trump and his affiliates may serve to be invaluable in Robert Mueller’s ongoing investigation.
Herb, Jeremy, et al. “Michael Cohen Will Return to Congress March 6, Felix Sater to Testify March 14.” CNN, Cable News Network, 28 Feb. 2019, www.cnn.com/2019/02/28/politics/michael-cohen-testimony-house-intelligence-committee/index.html.
Vann R. Newkirk. “Will Cohen’s Remarks on Trump’s Racism Change Anything?” The Atlantic, Atlantic Media Company, 28 Feb. 2019, http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2019/02/michael-cohen-cited-multiple-racist-comments-trump/583807/.
Mangan, Dan, and Kevin Breuninger. “Trump Claims His Former Lawyer and Fixer Michael Cohen ‘Directly Asked Me for a Pardon’.” CNBC, CNBC, 8 Mar. 2019, http://www.cnbc.com/2019/03/08/trump-says-his-former-lawyer-michael-cohen-directly-asked-pardon.html.
Ruiz, Rebecca R. “Stormy Daniels’s Hush Money Lawsuit Is Dismissed by Judge.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 8 Mar. 2019, http://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/07/us/politics/trump-stormy-daniels-lawsuit-dismissed.html.
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