President Trump is continuing to distance himself from his former lawyer and fixer of 12 years Michael Cohen, telling a reporter that he only hired Cohen because he once did him a “favor.”
This Thursday morning, news broke that Cohen pleaded guilty to making false statements to Congress in regards to the Russia investigation. The new developments are significant because they suggest Trump was participating in business dealings with Russia during the height of the 2016 campaign, which Trump has previously denied.
While talking to a gaggle of reporters Thursday morning, Trump called Cohen “weak” and “not a very smart person,” accusing him of “lying” to get a reduced prison sentence.
"He is a weak person… Michael Cohen is lying and he's trying to get a reduced sentence for things that have nothing to do with me," Donald Trump said.
Earlier today, Cohen pleaded guilty to lying to Congress about work he did on a project to build a Trump Tower in Russia pic.twitter.com/N38VGGCduI
— POLITICO (@politico) November 29, 2018
At one point, a reporter asked why Cohen was such a long-trusted aide if Trump thought so lowly of him.
“If Cohen is such a bum, why did you hire him, have him on your payroll for 12 years, and have him do so much of your dirty work?” the reporter asked.
“Because a long time ago he did me a favor,” Trump replied. “A long time ago he did me a favor.”
Questioner: "If Cohen is such a bum, why did you hire him, have him on your payroll for 12 years, and have him do so much of your dirty work?"
— The Hill (@thehill) November 29, 2018
Cohen told the court Thursday that discussions about a Trump real estate project in Moscow ended in June of 2016 and that Trump and his family members had been briefed on it multiple times. Cohen had previously told the House Intelligence Committee that the discussions ended in January of that same year — a claim that he now admits is false.
“In truth and in fact, and as Cohen well knew, Cohen’s representations about the Moscow Project he made to (House and Senate intelligence committees) were false and misleading,” Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office said in a court filing. “Cohen made the false statements to … give the false impression that the Moscow Project ended before ‘the Iowa caucus and….the very first primary,’ in hopes of limiting the ongoing Russia investigations.”
Featured image via screen grab