Donald Trump’s attorney Michael Cohen turned on his former boss after a conversation with his father in which the elder Cohen told his son that he did not survive the Holocaust to have his name tarnished by the US president, the Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.
The longtime lawyer and fixer pleaded guilty Tuesday to eight counts, including violations of campaign finance rules during the 2016 presidential race — and implicated his former boss in the process.
Questioned by the federal judge, Cohen said he had paid sums of $130,000 and $150,000 each to two women who claimed they had affairs with Trump, acting at his boss’s request, in a bid to buy their silence “with the purpose of influencing the election.”
Cohen said the first payment was “in coordination and at the direction of a candidate for federal office,” and the second was made “under direction of the same candidate.” The payments were made to prevent publication of information that would have harmed that candidate’s campaign.
The payments, apparently made using campaign funds, would be a violation of campaign finance laws.
Cohen’s explosive assertion — which suggests Trump may have committed a crime — was all the more spectacular coming from a man who once declared he was so loyal he would “take a bullet for the president.”
But as federal prosecutors began progressing in their case against Cohen, the attorney’s once close relationship began to be tested.
Following April 9 raids of Cohen’s office, home and hotel, Trump stood by his then attorney calling the measures against him a “disgrace” and a “witch hunt.”
But the Journal reported that the rupture began soon after when the Trump family stopped paying for part of Cohen’s legal fees, which the attorney had claimed were driving him into bankruptcy.
Cohen told associates that he felt the president “didn’t have his back,” the WSJ reported.
As the attorney’s legal woes expanded, Cohen eventually turned on Trump for good.
However, the “turning point,” as the Journal referred to it, was a conversation that the former Trump confidant had with his father, Maurice Cohen, a Polish Holocaust survivor.
The elder Cohen told his son that he did not survive the Holocaust to have his name “sullied” by Trump, WSJ reported.
The younger Cohen went on to reference his father’s history when he publicly broke with the president on June 20.
Then, the attorney tweeted (and later deleted), “as the son of a Polish holocaust survivor, the images and sounds of this family separation policy [are] heart wrenching.”
Since the guilty pleas this week, Trump has hit back at Cohen, accusing him of making up “stories” in order to get a plea deal.
He went on to claim Wednesday that hush payments made by his former lawyer before the 2016 election did not breach campaign finance rules.