WASHINGTON — Michael Cohen, Donald Trump’s former lawyer, is set to deliver explosive public testimony to the House Oversight Committee on Wednesday, calling him a “racist,” a “conman,” and a “cheat.”
He is also expected to provide documents that he says back up his claims, including the copy of a check that Cohen says the president made out to him in August 2017. Cohen will claim that it was a reimbursement payment for hush money given to adult film actress Stormy Daniels.
CNN obtained a copy of the check in advance of the hearing.
FIRST ON CNN! Michael Cohen will show Congress a copy of this $35,000 check that he says President Trump signed from his personal bank account on August 1, 2017, part of a reimbursement for hush money payment to Stormy Daniels. pic.twitter.com/xXsBiZK7wE
— Javi Morgado (@javimorgado) February 27, 2019
His testimony is expected to captivate Washington — and perhaps the rest of the country — just as Trump himself is in Vietnam for his summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
“Never in a million years did I imagine, when I accepted a job in 2007 to work for Donald Trump, that he would one day run for President, launch a campaign on a platform of hate and intolerance, and actually win,” Cohen says in his prepared remarks, which were provided to a number of news outlets. “I regret the day I said ‘yes’ to Mr. Trump. I regret all the help and support I gave him along the way.”
He also plans to provide the Oversight Committee with copies of Trump’s financial statements for 2011 to 2013 that he gave to Deutsche Bank; as well as copies of letters “I wrote at Mr. Trump’s direction that threatened his high school, colleges, and the College Board not to release his grades or SAT scores.” He also plans to produce a copy of an article reporting on the auction of a painting of Trump. Cohen says Trump arranged for the bidder ahead of time and then reimbursed the bidder.
Republicans are expected to challenge Cohen’s credibility, just as Trump and his legal team have called him a liar.
Cohen plans to apologize to the committee for giving false testimony in an appearance in 2017. He pled guilty to misleading lawmakers in a charge brought by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
“I lied to Congress about when Mr. Trump stopped negotiating the Moscow Tower project in Russia. I stated that we stopped negotiating in January 2016,” Cohen says in the remarks. “That was false — our negotiations continued for months later during the campaign.”
Cohen says there were “at least a half dozen times” from January to June 2016, when Trump asked for updates on the proposed Trump project in Moscow.
He adds, “In conversations we had during the campaign, at the same time I was actively negotiating in Russia for him, he would look me in the eye and tell me there’s no business in Russia and then go out and lie to the American people by saying the same thing. In his way, he was telling me to lie.”
Cohen also plans to tell the committee that in July 2016, he was in Trump’s office when longtime associate Roger Stone was put on speakerphone and told Trump that he had just gotten off the phone with Julian Assange. Stone said Assange told him that “within a couple of days, there would be a massive dump of emails that would damage Hillary Clinton’s campaign.”
“Mr. Trump responded by stating to the effect of, ‘wouldn’t that be great,'” Cohen says in his remarks.
Cohen is scheduled to start serving a three-year prison sentence after pleading guilty to a number of tax and campaign finance charges.