Michael Cohen Accuses Trump of Expansive Pattern of Lies and Criminality – The New York Times

“I did not want to go to the White House,” Mr. Cohen asserted.

Eric Trump, one of the president’s sons, took issue with that on Twitter. “Michael was lobbying EVERYONE to be ‘Chief of Staff,’” he wrote. “It was the biggest joke in the campaign and around the office. Did he just perjure himself again?”

The hearing drew enormous interest on Capitol Hill, where Democrats just last month took control of the House and are under enormous pressure from their liberal base to impeach Mr. Trump. The crowds were huge and the sense of drama palpable. Lawmakers of both parties sat rapt during Mr. Cohen’s 30-minute opening statement as he outlined his accusations.

Representative Matt Gaetz, a Florida Republican who threatened to reveal what he said were Cohen’s extramarital affairs on Twitter on Tuesday, showed up for the hearing, although he is not on the committee.

Mr. Cohen laid out a series of actions by Mr. Trump that bolster previous allegations and presented documents to corroborate his account, including copies of checks issued by the president or his trust that he said were reimbursements for $130,000 in hush payments Mr. Cohen made to Stormy Daniels, a pornographic film actress who alleged an affair with Mr. Trump.

Mr. Cohen said that Mr. Trump, as a candidate, initiated the hush payment plan and, while president, arranged for 11 checks reimbursing the lawyer “as part of a criminal scheme to violate campaign finance laws,” a crime to which Mr. Cohen has pleaded guilty.

After news reports about the payments in February 2018, Mr. Cohen told lawmakers, the president called him to discuss what the lawyer should say publicly about the scheme. Mr. Trump told him to say that the president “was not knowledgeable of these reimbursements and he wasn’t knowledgeable of” Mr. Cohen’s actions.

Democrats pressed Mr. Cohen on whether Mr. Trump provided false financial information to hide the hush payments. Mr. Trump’s annual personal financial disclosure statement in 2017 made no reference to reimbursing Mr. Cohen that year.

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