Trump disavows Cohen’s claims
WASHINGTON—President Donald Trump on Thursday called his former personal attorney Michael Cohen’s many accusations made against him to Congress “inaccurate.” During a Wednesday House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing, Cohen, who spent a decade working for Trump, attacked the president’s character, accused him of violating campaign finance laws, and said he engaged in shady business practices. He also called Trump a “racist” and a “con man.”
The president told reporters at the summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Vietnam that Cohen “lied a lot, but it’s very interesting because he didn’t lie about one thing: He said no collusion with Russia.” Cohen denied ever seeing evidence Trump worked with Russia to influence the 2016 presidential election, but he said he had suspicions.
Cohen told lawmakers he was aware of other potentially illicit acts by Trump but could not answer further questions about them because they are under investigation by New York federal prosecutors and not yet public. When Rep. Raja Krishnmaoorthi, D-Ill., asked Cohen when he most recently talked with Trump or a spokesman, Cohen declined to go into detail because “this topic is actually something that’s being investigated right now by the Southern District of New York, and I’ve been asked by them not to discuss it.”
Cohen met last month with federal prosecutors in New York City and gave them information about the Trump Organization and the president’s inaugural committee, The New York Times reported last week.
Democrats may follow up on some of Cohen’s revelations regarding Trump associates and family members. Cohen repeatedly named Trump Organization Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg, who he said was involved in paying hush money to women claiming to have had extra-marital affairs with Trump. He also accused Trump of insurance fraud and said Trump Organization executives Ron Lieberman and Matthew Calamari would know more, though he provided no proof.
Meanwhile, the Florida bar association opened an investigation into Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., over whether he violated conduct rules by threatening Cohen ahead of the hearing. In a since-deleted tweet, Gaetz asked Tuesday whether Cohen’s “wife & father-in-law know about your girlfriends? Maybe tonight would be a good time for that chat. I wonder if she’ll remain faithful when you’re in prison. She’s about to learn a lot. …” Because of the tweet, Gaetz, a licensed Florida lawyer, has faced accusations of intimidating a witness. House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., warned lawmakers against saying anything that could obstruct the hearing. Gaetz initially insisted the tweet wasn’t witness tampering but later deleted it and apologized.
Cohen returned to Capitol Hill on Thursday for closed-door testimony before the House Intelligence Committee.
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