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.”
Michael Cohen was one of many lawyers who represented me (unfortunately). He had other clients also. He was just disbarred by the State Supreme Court for lying & fraud. He did bad things unrelated to Trump. He is lying in order to reduce his prison time. Using Crooked’s lawyer!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 27, 2019
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.”
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.