Donald Dossier: How Cohen's Reveal Reduces the Risk of Impeachment

Michael Cohen Live Stream: Watch Ex-Trump Lawyer's House Testimony

The Five Biggest Takeaways from Michael Cohen’s Testimony

When President Donald Trump's former personal attorney, Michael Cohen, testified before the House Oversight Committee on Wednesday, two of the Republicans who questioned him the most aggressively were Rep. Jim Jordan of OH and North Carolina Rep. Mark Meadows (who heads the far-right House Freedom Caucus).

Cohen said he was present when the president's son Donald Jr. quietly informed Trump at the beginning of June that "the meeting is set".

So media coverage has been completely consumed by the smorgasbord of Trump scandals rather than Trump's summit with Kim Jong Un.

Cohen told lawmakers Mr Trump had directed him to lie about the payment of hush money to women, and about negotiations for a Moscow property deal during the 2016 White House election campaign.

"I think we all feel it was a very productive interview today where he was able to shed light on a lot of issues that are very important to our investigation". He said no collusion with the Russian hoax, ' Trump said, deeply paraphrasing.

The Republicans who controlled Congress in the first two years of Trump's administration obscured the machinations of their leadership even as evidence of criminal activity mounted. Cohen said he could not discuss that conversation, the last contact he said he has had with the president or anyone acting on his behalf, because it remains under investigation.

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Later, after the payment to Daniels became public, Cohen said Trump called him in February 2018 and asked him to lie about it. Cohen's testimony may pose a problem for Trump Jr., who told Congress in 2017 that was only "peripherally aware" of the proposal. "He is lying in order to reduce his prison time".

Cohen also traced out some of the pathways federal prosecutors could pursue toward potential bank fraud or insurance fraud by Trump's business or its executives. Trump told Cohen to say that Trump "was not knowledgeable of these reimbursements and he wasn't knowledgeable of" what Cohen was doing.

And he said he was left with the impression Trump wanted him to lie to Congress about a Moscow real estate project, though the president never directly told him so. And under the Republicans' "Liar, liar, trousers on fire" standard - so eloquently proffered by Rep. Paul Gosar of Arizona - no one should believe anything he had to say. In two months, Cohen will begin serving a three-year prison sentence.

The chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg, was involved with Cohen in paying hush money to an adult film actress in the days before the election - with Trump's blessing, Cohen said.

That claim contradicts reporting and statements by the USA attorney for the Southern District of NY, who stated in court documents that in private communications, Cohen had told friends that he wanted a Trump administration job - and that when he didn't get one, he "found a way to monetise his relationship with an access to the President".

Stone disputed that account Wednesday, and Barry Pollack, a lawyer for Assange, said Stone and Assange did not have the telephone call that Cohen described. "I am ashamed because I know what Mr. Trump is".

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Cohen, shaking off incessant criticism from Republicans, was the first Trump insider to pull back the curtain on a version of the inner workings of Trump's political and business operations.

That's what Cohen says he is now, particularly for his own children.

Pressed on Wednesday to explain why the misleading testimony wouldn't raise a protest among those lawyers, Cohen said the edits were in keeping with a "party line".

Cohen recalled Trump responding, "OK good... let me know".

He said Trump did not ask him directly to lie to Congress, specifying that's not the president's style.

He also said Trump knew in advance in mid-2016 that WikiLeaks would publish emails stolen from rival Hillary Clinton's campaign by the Russians.

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Ahead of his appearance, Cohen said Tuesday that the American people can decide "exactly who is telling the truth" when he testifies Wednesday before the House Oversight and Reform committee. "Yes, but I'm not really sure I can answer that question in terms of collusion", he said, adding, however, that he had his "suspicions".

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