There is no actual evidence President Trump coordinated with Russia during the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen testified before Congress Wednesday, but he has his “suspicions.”
Describing his decades-long professional relationship with Trump Wednesday, disgraced lawyer Cohen alleged examples of how the president and his family had dealings with Moscow during the heat of the 2016 campaign.
“Questions have been raised about whether I know of direct evidence that Mr. Trump or his campaign colluded with Russia. I do not. And I want to be clear. But I have my suspicions,” Cohen said during a House Oversight Committee hearing.
Cohen, who is about to serve a three-year prison sentence after confessing to financial crimes and perjuring himself before Congress, claimed Trump was informed during the campaign of a June 2016 meeting between his son, Donald Trump Jr., and Russians peddling “dirt” on Clinton.
“Sometime in the summer of 2017, I read all over the media that there had been a meeting in Trump Tower in June of 2016 involving Don Jr. and others from the campaign with Russians, including a representative of the Russian government, and an email setting up the meeting with the subject line, ‘Dirt on Hillary Clinton,’” he said. “Something clicked in my mind. I remembered being in a room with Mr. Trump, probably in early June of 2016, when something peculiar happened.”
Cohen told lawmakers he overheard Trump Jr. telling his father “the meeting is all set” with the anti-Clinton Russians.
“Don Trump Jr. came into the room and walked behind his father’s desk, which in and of itself was unusual. People didn’t just walk behind Mr. Trump’s desk to talk to him,” he said. “I recall Don Jr. leaning over to his father, and speaking in a low voice, which I could clearly hear and saying, ‘The meeting is all set,’ and I remember Mr. Trump saying, ‘Okay, good. Let me know.’ What struck me as I looked back and thought about the exchange between Don Jr. and his father, was first, that Mr. Trump had frequently told me and others, that his son, Don Jr., had the worst judgment of anyone in the world. And also that Don Jr. would never set up any meeting of significance alone. And certainly, not without checking with his father.”
“I also knew that nothing went on in Trump world, especially the campaign, without Mr. Trump’s knowledge and approval. So I concluded that Don Jr. was referring to that June 2016 Trump Tower meeting about dirt on Hillary with the Russian representatives, when he walked behind his dad’s desk that day. And that Mr. Trump knew that was the meeting Don Jr. was talking about when he said, ‘That’s good. Let me know.’”
Cohen also claimed the then-GOP frontrunner “knew of and directed” negotiations for developing a Trump Tower in Moscow during the campaign while denying any business ties with the Russians, and then instructed Cohen to lie about the transaction.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders issued a statement Tuesday calling Cohen a liar.
“Disgraced felon Michael Cohen is going to prison for lying to Congress and making other false statements. Sadly, he will go before Congress this week and we can expect more of the same. It’s laughable that anyone would take a convicted liar like Cohen at his word, and pathetic to see him given yet another opportunity to spread his lies.
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), a member of the House Oversight Committee questioned why Democrats insist he testify considering he previously notoriously lied to Congress.
“Why are Oversight Dems hastily issuing a subpoena? Maybe they want to be the first committee to issue a subpoena against this administration. Why not have a hearing first?”
Cohen testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday behind closed doors. He refrained from answering questions by the press about why Congress should believe him after he pled guilty to lying to Congress about Trump’s past business dealings in Russia.
He will testify again on Thursday before the House Intelligence Committee detailing his relationship with Trump.