Reading through Micheal Cohen’s prepared statement to Congress concerning Donald Trump it’s really rather difficult to see what the actual beef is. Oh, I don’t mean that Trump’s a nice man nor that I would be happy to be a subcontractor to him – there’ve been too many convenient bankruptcies for that. Rather, this is all being touted as proving high crimes and misdemeanours. And, well, it’s tough to see what they are:
Cohen testimony on Trump: From chilling racism to Russia collusion, the devastating claims that could hasten president’s White House exit
Statements from leader’s long-time consigliere have potential to gravely damage his chances of remaining president
No, it’s not that I’ve no morals nor standards. Rather, just what is the actual beef here?
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. That was false – our negotiations continued for months later during the campaign. Mr. Trump did not directly tell me to lie to Congress. That’s not how he operates. 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. There were at least a half-dozen times between the Iowa Caucus in January 2016 and the end of June when he would ask me “How’s it going in Russia?” – referring to the Moscow Tower project. You need to know that Mr. Trump’s personal lawyers reviewed and edited my statement to Congress about the timing of the Moscow Tower negotiations before I gave it. To be clear: Mr. Trump knew of and directed the Trump Moscow negotiations throughout the campaign and lied about it. He lied about it because he never expected to win the election. He also lied about it because he stood to make hundreds of millions of dollars on the Moscow real estate project.
Not convinced that’s how Trump Towers work. Hundreds of millions looks very toppy indeed for what is a branding operation. But still, so? There are no laws about what someone running for office may do in their business life. There shouldn’t be either. What someone in office is doing is different.
Further, if Trump really didn’t think he would win then of course he’s got every right to carry on as if he’s not going to win.
As I earlier stated, Mr. Trump knew from Roger Stone in advance about the WikiLeaks drop of emails. In July 2016, days before the Democratic convention, I was in Mr. Trump’s office when his secretary announced that Roger Stone was on the phone. Mr. Trump put Mr. Stone on the speakerphone. Mr. Stone told Mr. Trump that he had just gotten off the phone with Julian Assange and that Mr. Assange told Mr. Stone 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.”
The illegality of receiving a phone call is what? Numerous among us know that Wikileaks dropped those emails – what crime have we committed? Can’t see that there’s a crime there, just can’t see it.
Mr. Trump is a racist. The country has seen Mr. Trump court white supremacists and bigots. You have heard him call poorer countries “s**tholes.” In private, he is even worse. He once asked me if I could name a country run by a black person that wasn’t a “s**thole.” This was when Barack Obama was President of the United States. While we were once driving through a struggling neighborhood in Chicago, he commented that only black people could live that way. And, he told me that black people would never vote for him because they were too stupid.
Thankfully being an asshole is not as yet illegal.
Mr. Trump is a cheat. As previously stated, I’m giving the Committee today three years of President Trump’s financial statements, from 2011-2013, which he gave to Deutsche Bank to inquire about a loan to buy the Buffalo Bills and to Forbes. These are Exhibits 1a, 1b, and 1c to my testimony. It was my experience that Mr. Trump inflated his total assets when it served his purposes, such as trying to be listed among the wealthiest people in Forbes, and deflated his assets to reduce his real estate taxes.
Snigger. Paying your taxes correctly then being a blowhard is illegal now is it? And seriously, let’s say he really was boosting about the upside value of those assets. Since when was lying to Forbes a crime? And I do speak as someone who used to work there….for there perhaps.
Mr. Trump directed me to find a straw bidder to purchase a portrait of him that was being auctioned at an Art Hamptons Event. The objective was to
ensure that his portrait, which was going to be auctioned last, would go for the highest price of any portrait that afternoon. The portrait was purchased
by the fake bidder for $60,000. Mr. Trump directed the Trump Foundation, which is supposed to be a charitable organization, to repay the fake bidder,
despite keeping the art for himself. Please see Exhibit 3B to my testimony.
Straw bidder, charity auction, yawn. And the money from the Trump Foundation did go to charity, through the auction, yes?
Mr. Trump is a conman. 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. Lying to the First Lady is one of my
biggest regrets. She is a kind, good person. I respect her greatly – and she did not deserve that.
That’s hardly new. Hardly new even to Melania.
There’s not much here that you’d want in a son in law, that’s true. Yet there seems rather a paucity of stuff that would produce legal trouble for anyone, even a sitting President. Actually, given what’s alleged above, can anyone provide an actual law that is even alleged to have been broken?