Michael Cohen did not pull any punches when he testified in front of the House Oversight Committee Wednesday morning. The former first fixer—if he is to be believed—confirmed much of what the public already believes is true.
Cohen’s opening statement laid out a series of jaw-droppers. Here’s a fast look at the nastiest personal dirt that was dished out loud on national TV this morning:
‘I Find It Ironic, President Trump, That You Are in Vietnam Right Now’
Cohen claimed that Trump asked him to put off reporters who were asking about his medical deferment from the Vietnam War draft, privately telling his consigliere that there were no medical records of the bone spurs that he has said affected his heel in the late ’60s and early ’70s.
“When I asked for medical records, he gave me none and said there was no surgery,” Cohen told the House committee. “He told me not to answer the specific questions by reporters but rather offer simply the fact that he received a medical deferment.” When Cohen pressed him for more details, he said Trump finished the conversation abruptly. “You think I’m stupid,” Trump said, according to Cohen. “I wasn’t going to Vietnam.”
‘Stone Told Trump That He Had Just Gotten Off the Phone With Julian Assange...’
Cohen dished on Roger Stone, recalling a phone call a few days before the Democratic National Convention in 2016 when Trump put Stone on speakerphone in Cohen’s presence. “As I earlier stated, Mr. Trump knew from Roger Stone in advance about the WikiLeaks drop of emails,” Cohen testified. “Mr. Trump put Mr. Stone on the speakerphone. Mr. Stone told Mr. Trump that he had just gotten off the phone with Julian Assange and that Mr. Assange told Mr. Stone that, within a couple of days, there would be a massive dump of emails that would damage Hillary Clinton’s campaign.” Then Cohen recalled Trump stating something to the effect of “wouldn’t that be great.”
Trump Said Don Jr. ‘Had the Worst Judgment of Anyone in the World’
Cohen said he searched his mind to remember details about the alleged Trump Tower meeting discussing Hillary Clinton with the Russians and Donald Trump Jr. “Something clicked in my mind. I remember being in the room with Mr. Trump, probably in early June 2016, when something peculiar happened. Don Jr. came into the room and walked behind his father’s desk—which in itself was unusual. People didn’t just walk behind Mr. Trump’s desk to talk to him.”
Cohen said he then recalled Don Jr. leaning over to his father and whispering, “The meeting is all set.” “I remember Mr. Trump saying, ‘OK good… let me know.’ What struck me as I looked back and thought about that 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,” he added.
Cohen went on to testify that “Don Jr. would never set up any meeting of any 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.”
‘Mr. Trump Is a Racist… In Private, He Is Even Worse’
Cohen did not mince words about what he said was his former boss’ blatant racism. “The country has seen Mr. Trump court white supremacists and bigots,” he said. “You have heard him call poorer countries ‘shitholes.’ He once asked me if I could name a country run by a black person that wasn’t a ‘shithole.’ This was when Barack Obama was president of the United States.”
Cohen testified that once, while he and the then presidential candidate Trump were driving through a poor Chicago neighborhood, he commented that “only black people could live that way.” He later told Cohen that he would not get the black vote because “black people would never vote for him because they were too stupid. And yet I continued to work for him.”
Trump Inflated His Wealth for Forbes, Deflated It for Tax Time
Cohen testified that Trump directed him to find a straw bidder to purchase a Trump portrait set to be auctioned at an Art Hamptons Event. “The objective was to ensure that his portrait, which was going to be auctioned last, would go for the highest price of any portrait that afternoon,” Cohen said. He revealed the Trump portrait was purchased by the fake bidder he found for $60,000. “Mr. Trump directed the Trump Foundation, which is supposed to be a charitable organization, to repay the fake bidder, despite keeping the art for himself.”
Trump also tasked Cohen with calling small businesses the Trump Organization owed money to tell them the payments would not be made or that reduced payments were on the way. “When I advised Mr. Trump of my success, he actually reveled in it,” Cohen said.
Trump ‘Directed Me to Threaten’ His Schools to Never Release His Grades or SAT Scores
Trump was so worried that sleuthing reporters would find his high-school and college transcripts that he asked Cohen to threaten institutions not to release letters. Cohen said he’d entered into evidence copies of a letter he sent “at Mr. Trump’s direction threatening these schools with civil and criminal actions if Mr. Trump’s grades or SAT scores were ever disclosed without his permission.”
The Government Was ‘Stupid’ for Giving ‘Someone Like Him’ a Tax Refund
Cohen recalled Trump telling him in 2008 about a plan to cut some of his employees’ salaries in half—including his own. He then boasted about a $10 million tax refund from the IRS. “He said that he could not believe how stupid the government was for giving ‘someone like him’ that much money back.”
During his testimony, Cohen said twice: “And yet, I continued to work for him.”
“For those who question my motives for being here today, I understand,” Cohen said at the conclusion of his prepared remarks. “I have lied, but I am not a liar. I have done bad things, but I am not a bad man. I have fixed things, but I am no longer your ‘fixer,’ Mr. Trump.”