By Emanuela Gallo ‘19
Source: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Michael Dean Cohen, President Trump’s former lawyer, has represented Donald Trump for a decade. However, his loyalty has shifted away from the man he now describes as a racist, conman, and cheat. On Wednesday, February 27th, he spoke about Trump in a sworn testimony to the House Committee on Oversight and Reform. During the daylong hearing, he accused him of following a pattern of lies, criminal activity, and deception.
Republicans worked to discredit Cohen, accusing him of lying just as he lied under oath to Congress before (to which he pleaded guilty). Across the aisle, Democrats sought to extract more and more details of Trump's world behind closed doors. Cohen revealed several bits of information during the five-hour period. He described working for Trump as “intoxicating” due to his tendency to heed his ambition rather than his conscience. “Sitting here today, it seems unbelievable that I was so mesmerized by Donald Trump that I was willing to do things for him that I knew were absolutely wrong,” Cohen said.
The now-disbarred lawyer made other accusations, including that Trump lied to the press concerning Hillary Clinton’s emails. Cohen claimed he was in Trump’s office during a conversation between him and advisor Roger J. Stone Jr. on speakerphone. Stone allegedly stated that he had just talked to the founder of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, who said that “within a couple of days, there would be a massive dump of emails that would damage Hillary Clinton’s campaign.” In an interview with the New York Times in January, Trump affirmed that he never spoke with Stone about WikiLeaks or the emails it posted.
The information Cohen revealed painted the president as a man of doubtful character. He stated that over the decade he worked for Trump, he was asked to threaten individuals an estimated 500 times. He referred to the idea of “catch and kill,” which is a method of preventing an unfavorable article from being published. Cohen also presented letters the president asked him to write to his high school, colleges, and the College Board. These letters threatened these entities not to reveal his academic records, grades or testing scores. In addition, Cohen disclosed a few racist comments stated by Trump insulting African-Americans. His testimony also included a confession of hush payments made to Stormy Daniels, who claimed to have an affair with Trump. He presented copies of checks Trump gave him displaying $130,000 in reimbursements.
“My loyalty to Mr. Trump has cost me everything,” Cohen said. “I will not sit back, say nothing and allow him to do the same to the country.