President Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer delivered his long-awaited testimony before the House Oversight and Reform Committee, painting a picture of the President as a mob-like figure involved in a plethora of crimes.
Cohen, who is to start serving his prison sentence in about two months, didn’t hesitate to turn on his former client, detailing a number of serious allegations including involvement in hush money payments.
His testimony was received with skepticism by Republicans, who believe Cohen to be nothing more than a liar, trying to incriminate Trump in order to save himself. Democrats, on the other hand, took his words as those of a man rising above his dirty past to provide a national service, CNN writes.
Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel called Cohen’s testimony “a circus that was full of lies and uncorroborated allegations.”
The President’s former “fixer” further expressed regret for blindly obeying Trump’s every order, saying that his loyalty to Trump cost him everything.
According to Cohen, Trump knew of the hush-money payments made to several women with whom he allegedly had affairs. The President’s former lawyer even presented a personal check for $35,000 that Trump signed while in office, which seems to be reimbursement for the hush payments.
Among the allegations Cohen laid out is the one that Trump reportedly knew about the Clinton email dump by WikiLeaks as he was previously told about it by long-time advisor Roger Stone. As was previously expected, Cohen also said President Trump had knowledge of a 2016 meeting between a Russian lawyer and his campaign team designed to deliver “dirt” on then-candidate Hilary Clinton.
Should these allegations be proven as true, the President could be in serious legal jeopardy considering he previously claimed in written answers to the special counsel that he had no knowledge of these matters.
President Trump’s former lawyer claimed that threats were common currency in the Trump world and that he was directed by President Trump himself to threaten people over 500 times. He also said everyone in the President’s inner circle was ordered to lie on a daily basis.
“Every day, most of us in the room coming in … we were going to lie for him on something. And that became the norm, and that is exactly what is happening now in this country,” Cohen said.
While GOP members were quick to attack Cohen, Democratic lawmakers were more willing to accept his words as true. Democratic Representative Gerry Connolly said that “Congress historically has relied on all kinds of shady figures who have turned,” one of which was Joe Valachi.
“He was a witness, and he committed a lot worse crimes than you are convicted of,” said Connolly, pointing directly at Cohen while referencing 1960s congressional hearings that lifted the lid on Mafia activities.
Others as well compared events in Trump’s inner circle to the Mafia, saying that they resemble “the kind of things you see in mob cases.”