During his much-anticipated public testimony before Congress, President Donald Trump’s former longtime attorney Michael Cohen will provide evidence of his old boss’s criminal conduct since becoming president, a knowledgeable source about what to expect told NBC News.
And, as this source laid out, there is much more that congressional investigators and viewers can expect Cohen to provide.
Trump’s ex-attorney, who testify before three committees this week, starting with the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday, will detail what he will describe as the president’s lies, racism and cheating as a private businessman while Cohen spent a decade working for him, the source said.
Cohen will also reveal information about Trump’s financial statements and may actually provide the statements, the source said. This information would require the president’s long-held secret tax returns in order to verify, providing an avenue for the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform to request those returns. As the source said, Trump deflated the value of his properties in some cases to reduce his property taxes.
The source said Cohen will address his motives for lying on behalf of Trump and why he lied to Congress about the Trump Tower Moscownegotiations — a charge he pleaded guilty to late last year. Cohen will additionally discuss if anyone told him to lie. After Cohen pleaded guilty, Trump defended his efforts to build a Trump-branded tower in Russia while running for president of the United States as “very legal” and “very cool.”
The infamous hush-money payments will be at the forefront of Cohen’s public testimony, too, this source said. Cohen is set to provide intimate details of any involvement Trump had in the scheme to keep porn star Stormy Daniels quiet about the affair she alleges to have had with Trump in 2006 by paying her $130,000 just before the 2016 election. Cohen will discuss the reimbursement he received for the payment as well.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement that it was “pathetic” Cohen was being brought in to testify.
“Disgraced felon Michael Cohen is going to prison for lying to Congress and making other false statements,” Sanders said. “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.”
As he arrived for Cohen’s closed-door testimony, Senate Intelligence Chairman Richard Burr, of North Carolina, said the most important thing the panel could learn today is the “truth,” but added that Cohen’s track record was “questionable” on that front. Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden, of Oregon, said he intends to focus on “untangling the very complicated financial arrangements between Donald Trump and Russia.”
In addition to his public session on Wednesday, Cohen will testify behind closed doors to the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday and the House Intelligence Committee on Thursday.
The House Oversight Committee earlier provided the framework for what they want Cohen to address during his open testimony. After the testimony was scheduled last week, Cohen tweeted: “Looking forward to the #American people hearing my story in my voice!”
Trump and his legal team have repeatedly called Cohen a liar. They’ve said he is not a credible witness and is just saying whatever he feels necessary to reduce his prison time. Trump has also publicly targeted other members of Cohen’s family, suggesting investigators should probe them. In response to Cohen’s allegation that Trump tried to intimidate him, the president told reporters last month that Cohen has “only been threatened by the truth.”
In December, Cohen was sentenced to three years in prison for what a Manhattan federal court judge called a “veritable smorgasbord” of criminal conduct, including facilitating secret payments to women who claimed they had affairs with Trump, lying to Congress about the president’s business dealings with Russia and failing to report millions of dollars in income