WASHINGTON, United States — Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen will tell Congress Wednesday that the president is a “racist” and “conman” and knew in advance that WikiLeaks would publish dirt on Hillary Clinton, US media reported.
In explosive public testimony to Congress, Cohen will also state that Trump essentially instructed him to lie about a real estate project Trump had in the works in Russia while running for president in 2016, according to a prepared statement by Cohen that was provided to The New York Times and other US news outlets.
Cohen will testify Wednesday before the House of Representatives Oversight Committee on the second of three scheduled days of testimony on Capitol Hill. Tuesday’s first session at the senate was behind closed doors.
Cohen, 52, worked closely with Trump for more than 12 years becoming vice president of the Trump Organization, where he was the billionaire property magnate’s behind-the-scenes “fixer.”
Last year, Cohen pleaded guilty to illegally using campaign funds for hush payments to two women who said they had affairs with Trump.
He also pleaded guilty to lying to Congress in testimony in 2017 when he sought to cover up Trump’s pursuit of a lucrative Moscow real estate project during the previous year’s presidential election.
In the testimony Wednesday, Cohen will tell Congress again that he kept working on a Trump Tower project in Moscow well into the 2016 presidential campaign and did not stop in January of that year as he had originally told lawmakers. Trump has insisted he had no contacts with Russia during the campaign.
“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 by saying the same thing,” Cohen plans to say.
“In his way, he was telling me to lie.”
Cohen will state that he is ashamed of what he calls his misplaced loyalty in working with Trump.
“I am ashamed that I chose to take part in concealing Mr. Trump’s illicit acts rather than listening to my own conscience. I am ashamed because I know what Mr. Trump is. He is a racist. He is a conman. He is a cheat,” Cohen will say, according to the statement.
He will also state that Trump had advanced knowledge through longtime adviser Roger Stone that WikiLeaks planned to publish hacked emails from the Clinton campaign.
Cohen will testify that Trump, when he learned this from Stone, said “Wouldn’t that be great?”
But Cohen will state that he does not have direct evidence that Trump or his campaign colluded with Russia to defeat Clinton.