Trump distances himself from his former attorney ahead of Congress hearing
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Trump distances himself from his former attorney ahead of Congress hearing

US president tweets that Michael Cohen, who is set to give damning public testimony, was just ‘one of my lawyers’

This combination of pictures created on February 26, 2019 shows US President Donald Trump, right, arriving to deliver remarks in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington, DC on February 15, 2019, and Michael Cohen left, Trump's former personal lawyer, leaving federal court on August 21, 2018, in New York. (Don Emmert and Brendan SMIALOWSKI/AFP)
This combination of pictures created on February 26, 2019 shows US President Donald Trump, right, arriving to deliver remarks in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington, DC on February 15, 2019, and Michael Cohen left, Trump's former personal lawyer, leaving federal court on August 21, 2018, in New York. (Don Emmert and Brendan SMIALOWSKI/AFP)

US President Donald Trump lashed out Wednesday at his former lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen, ahead of a public hearing in which Cohen is expected to say Trump indicated to him he should lie about a real estate deal in Moscow during his 2016 presidential campaign.

Trump distanced himself from Cohen in a tweet from Hanoi, Vietnam, where he has traveled for a summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Trump insisted Cohen was just “one of many lawyers who represented me (unfortunately).” He also said Cohen “had other clients also” and “did bad things unrelated to Trump.”

Cohen plans to tell a House committee on Wednesday that Trump knew ahead of time that WikiLeaks had emails damaging to 2016 Democratic rival Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and that Trump is a “racist,” a “conman” and a “cheat.”

In prepared testimony obtained by media, Cohen also says that Trump implicitly told him to lie about a Moscow real estate project.

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.”

Michael Cohen, US President Donald Trump’s former lawyer, departs after testifying before a closed door hearing of the Senate Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill, in Washington, February 26, 2019. (Alex Brandon/AP)

On the matter of racism, Cohen says the president made racist comments “disparaging African-Americans, saying at one point that black people would never vote for him because they were too stupid.”

Ahead of his appearance, Cohen said Tuesday that the American people can decide “exactly who is telling the truth” when he testifies Wednesday before the House Oversight and Reform committee.

Cohen previously pleaded guilty to lying to Congress about the project in Russia. Trump accuses Cohen of now lying to reduce his prison sentence.

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