On March 6, Michael Cohen, Donald Trump’s former “fixer” and right-hand man testified in front of the House Intelligence Committee, talking about his work for the president during the 2016 campaign.
During the hearing, Cohen called his former boss a racist and a con man. In his opening statement, Cohen explained how he made payments on behalf of Trump to women alleging extramarital affairs with Trump, an allegation that the president has previously denied. He also testified that Trump had advance knowledge of WikiLeaks’ publishing of damaging emails by the Clinton Campaign. Trump has also previously denied these claims.
Republicans on the House Oversight Committee pointedly attacked Cohen’s credibility, given his previous false written statements to Congress in 2017.
“A pattern of deception for personal greed and ambition, and you just got 30 minutes of an opening statement where you trashed the president of the United States of America,” said Republican ranking committee member Jim Jordan of Ohio in response to Cohen. “Here’s what I see; here’s what I see. I see a guy work for 10 years and is here trashing the guy he worked for, for 10 years, didn’t get a job in the White House and now—and now, you’re behaving just like everyone else who’s got fired or didn’t get the job they wanted.”
Jordan also noted that Cohen has pled guilty to a number of charges, including tax evasion and lying to Congress. Jordan worked throughout the hearing to portray Cohen as a liar.
Cohen made many remarks defaming the president, including calling him a racist.
“Trump once asked me if I could name a country run by a black person that wasn’t a [redacted]hole. This was when Barack Obama was president of the United States,” said Cohen during the hearing.
Republican Rep. Mark Meadows of North Carolina attempted to dispel those charges. He asked Lynne Patton, a current Department of Housing and Urban Development official and friend of the president to attend the hearing. She silently stood next to Meadows as he explained that she does not think Trump is racist. She did not speak herself.
“[Patton] says that as a daughter of a man born in Birmingham, Alabama, that there is no way that she would work for an individual who was racist,” said Meadows.
Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan said she believed that Meadows bringing up Patton “as a prop” was a racist act.
“Just because someone has a person of color, a black person, working for them does not mean that they aren’t racist,” said Tlaib.
Cohen seemed remorseful for devoting much of his life to Trump, often driving him to illegal actions.
“I wish I could go back in time,” said Cohen.
Cohen ended his testimony with a warning about President Trump.
“It’s that sort of behavior that I’m responsible for. I’m responsible for your silliness, because I did the same thing that you’re doing now for 10 years,” said Cohen. “I can only warn people. The more people that follow Mr. Trump as I did blindly, [the more people are] going to follow the same consequences that I’m suffering.”
Cohen has now received a sentence of three years in prison.