President’s former lawyer expected to say Trump knew of Roger Stone’s contact with WikiLeaks during 2016 campaign
Michael Cohen is to accuse Donald Trump of being a “conman” and a “cheat” who had advanced knowledge that a longtime adviser was communicating with WikiLeaks during the 2016 campaign, according to opening testimony he will deliver to Congress on Wednesday.
Cohen’s prepared remarks, confirmed by the Guardian, include a series of explosive allegations about the presidential campaign.
The president’s former lawyer, who will publicly testify before the House oversight committee on Wednesday, will state that Trump was told by Roger Stone that WikiLeaks would publish emails stolen from the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
“In July 2016, days before the Democratic convention, I was in Mr Trump’s office when his secretary announced that Roger Stone was on the phone. Mr Trump put Mr Stone on the speakerphone,” Cohen’s opening statement reads.
“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. Mr Trump responded by stating to the effect of ‘wouldn’t that be great.’”
Who is Michael Cohen?
Michael Cohen was a lawyer for Donald Trump from 2006 until 2018. He was a vice-president of The Trump Organization, and was part of Trump’s campaign team for the 2016 presidential election. Considered a close friend and confidant of the US president, Cohen faced criminal charges for his work for Trump.
In August 2018 Cohen pleaded guilty to eight counts of campaign finance violations, tax fraud, and bank fraud, admitting that on the eve of the 2016 presidential election he made a $130,000 payment to porn star Stormy Daniels, and arranged for a $150,000 payment to the former Playboy model Karen McDougal.
Cohen also admitted lying during campaign about a Trump property deal in Russia. He is one of of five of Trump’s presidential aides to have been found to have broken the law.
He was sentenced to three years in prison in December 2018, and was also ordered to pay nearly $2m in fines and restitution requirements.
Having previously described himself as “the guy who would take a bullet for the president”, when sentenced, Cohen said “I have been living in a personal and mental incarceration ever since the day that I accepted the offer to work for a real estate mogul whose business acumen that I deeply admired. I know now, in fact, there is little to be admired.”
The 52 year old is married with two children, and has, over the years flipped between being a member of both the Democrats and the Republicans. He is expected to report to jail in May 2019.
Martin Belam – theguardian
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