Michael Cohen released his opening remarks for the House Committee on Oversight and Reform on Tuesday night, saying Donald Trump, essentially, had lied for years to the American people.
“The sad fact is that I never heard Mr. Trump say anything in private that led me to believe he loved our nation or wanted to make it better,” Cohen says in his opening remarks. “In fact, he did the opposite.”
Cohen reiterated his regret for lying to Congress about his work with President Trump.
“I regret the day I said “yes” to Mr. Trump. I regret all the help and support I gave him along the way,” Cohen says in his opening remarks for Wednesday’s hearing.
In his statement, Cohen talks about his family and apologizes to his mother and father for letting them down.
“As many people that know me best would say, I am the person they would call at 3AM if they needed help,” he says in his opening remarks. “Yet, last fall I pled guilty in federal court to felonies for the benefit of, at the direction of, and in coordination with Individual #1. For the record: Individual #1 is President Donald J. Trump.”
Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer and self-described fixer, also says that he will submit documentation that shows how the president lied to the American people. He goes on to say that Trump did not direct him to lie to Congress, but rather implied that he should.
“In conversations we had during the campaign, at the same time I was actively negotiating in Russia for him, he would look me in the eye and tell me there’s no business in Russia and then go out and lie to the American people,” Cohen says in his statement. “In his way, he was telling me to lie.”
Cohen will provide the committee with a copy of a check Trump signed for the hush payments to two former Playboy models, copies of financial statements for 2011 to 2013 that Trump gave to institutions such as Deutsche Bank, and copies of letters Cohen wrote at Mr. Trump’s direction that threatened his high school, colleges, and the College Board not to release his grades or SAT scores.
Beyond establishing his regret for working for Trump, Cohen goes on to talk about exactly how Trump worked on the Trump Tower Moscow deal and says that he did indeed lie about the timeline, adding that Trump’s personal lawyers reviewed and edited his statement to Congress about the timing of the Moscow tower negotiations.
“To be clear: Mr. Trump knew of and directed the Trump Moscow negotiations throughout the campaign and lied about it,” Cohen says. “ He lied about it because he never expected to win the election. He also lied about it because he stood to make hundreds of millions of dollars on the Moscow real estate project.”
Throughout his opening remarks, Cohen reiterates, over and over again, how Trump never truly believed he would win the primary let alone the 2016 presidential election.
“The campaign—for him—was always a marketing opportunity,” Cohen says.
But perhaps the most alarming allegation by Cohen has to do with the release of the Democratic National Committee emails. He says Trump in fact knew about the hacked records ahead of time.
“Mr. Trump knew from Roger Stone in advance about the WikiLeaks drop of emails,” Cohen says, adding that he was with Trump when he was on the phone with Stone who said he “had just gotten off the phone with Julian Assange.”
“[Stone said] Mr. Assange told [him] that, within a couple of days, there would be a massive dump of emails that would damage Hillary Clinton’s campaign,” Cohen says.
Lastly, Cohen talks about a check President Trump signed to pay Stephanie Clifford as a hush payment about their interactions. Cohen demanded the payment to stay silent, Cohen says, adding that he regrets having lied to Trump’s wife, Melania, about it.
“Lying to the First Lady is one of my biggest regrets,” he says. “She is a kind, good person. I respect her greatly—and she did not deserve that.”