The House Intelligence Committee on Monday released the transcripts from its closed-door sessions with Michael Cohen, which took place earlier this year. The committee voted 12-7 in favor of making the transcripts public.
In the interviews with the lawmakers, Michael Cohen told the committee that Trump’s attorney Jay Sekulow knew that he would be lying when he testified before Congress last year.
According to the transcripts, Cohen told lawmakers that Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump’s attorney, Abbe Lowell, was also aware that he would be giving false testimony, and had reviewed Cohen’s prepared testimony before Congress. Cohen also said that Lowell had ordered Cohen to edit his testimony for the specific purpose of distancing Ivanka and Jared from the Trump Tower meetings.
Cohen also told lawmaker Adam Schiff (D-CA) that Trump himself was known to give him false statements and then ask him to repeat back to him word-for-word what he had just said:
‘Schiff: Mr. Cohen, I had one question. We’ll get into the Moscow Trump Tower in your testimony down the line, but are there other illustrations you can give us of situations where Mr. Trump would make false statements in your presence and in the presence of others and then ask you to confirm what he had just said?
‘Schiff: And how frequently would that happen?
‘Schiff: And was it understood that when he said something you both knew was false and he would turn to you that you would repeat the falsehood?
‘Schiff: Was that more or less a modis operandi that the two of you had?
‘Cohen: For everyone. If you said something — I hate to use the example, it’s like Ramses from the Ten Commandments: So it has to be said, so it shall be done. That is how The Trump Organization works.
‘Schiff: So it was understood by you and by others working for him that if he said something either publicly or in the presence of others that you all knew to be untrue, you were to repeat the untruth?
‘Schiff: Nothing further.’
During the second part of the interview, Cohen told lawmakers how Trump’s attorney Jay Sekulow had reviewed and edited testimony about the Trump Tower meetings:
‘The point of putting this in was to show that, yes, while it might be in Moscow, The Trump Organization also had foreign hotels and golf as well as land projects in the following countries of Canada, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Panama, Philippines, Scotland, South Korea, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, and Uruguay. So it was basically to show that Moscow as just another — or I should say Russia was just another country that The Trump Organization was looking do a project in,” Cohen said, referencing a document he turned over to the Committee. “It also – the line preceding it – this is something I do recall having conversation about, that there are quite a few other U.S. companies that have hotels in the Soviet – in Russia, specifically Moscow, the Hyatt, Marriott, the Ritz Carlton Hotel Company.’
Sekulow’s attorneys were quick to dismiss Cohen’s statements, saying:
‘Michael Cohen’s alleged statements are more of the same from him and confirm the observations of prosecutors in the Southern District of New York that Cohen’s ‘instinct to blame others is strong,'” they wrote in a statement. “That this or any Committee would rely on the word of Michael Cohen for any purpose — much less to try and pierce the attorney-client privilege and discover confidential communications of four respected lawyers — defies logic, well-established law and common sense.’
Michael Cohen reported to federal prison earlier this month for several crimes, including lying to Congress about the Trump Tower project.
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