Donald Trump intensified his attacks on his former lawyer and aide, on Tuesday morning, claiming that Michael Cohen had asked him for a presidential pardon three times.
Cohen is a key witness as prosecutors build their case against Trump with more than $130,000 in hush money paid to adult movie star Stormy Daniels.
Security has been tight around the courthouse complex in Manhattan as a grand jury considers whether to file an indictment against the former president.
Trump resorted to Truth Social in an effort to undermine Cohen’s credibility.
“Remember, Michael Cohen was an attorney who also represented clients other than me, and did business transactions for himself, like taxi medals, etc. I had nothing to do with his offshore companies,” Trump wrote.
Former President Donald Trump on Tuesday tried to undermine the credibility of Michael Cohen, a former aide who is now a key witness in the case against him in New York.
Trump used his social media platform to ask questions about Cohen’s motives
On three separate occasions, Cohen has asked me to grant him a presidential pardon for events related to these outside interests.
I said, correctly, “No.” Sometime after that he became a fake storyteller, and started lying about events! “
In 2017, Cohen pleaded guilty to tax fraud (among other charges) related to income from his taxi business.
Trump revealed over the weekend that he was expecting to be arrested on Tuesday, though aides have since said he was responding to leaks and media reports and not an official plan for his surrender.
Instead, reports indicate that the grand jury has not yet finished hearing evidence and another witness may be called on Wednesday.
And on Monday I heard from Robert Costello, a lawyer with close ties to Trump aides.
Analysts said it was a last chance to distance the grand jury from an indictment after he publicly said he had information that undermined Cohen’s testimony.
“If they want to go after Donald Trump and they have solid evidence, so be it,” Costello told reporters. But Michael Cohen is far from solid evidence.
Trump and Cohen are in happier times. The then-Republican presidential candidate appeared accompanied by his personal attorney during a campaign stop in Cleveland Heights, Ohio. in September 2016
On Monday evening, Trump also posted a video to Truth Social condemning the “witch hunt” against him and criticizing Stormy Daniels
Either way, Cohen is at the center of the case.
Cohen paid $130,000 in hush money to Daniels, 44, during Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign to secure her silence.
Trump has always denied having an affair.
Cohen says he made the payment at Trump’s request using his own money from a home equity line of credit, and that Trump later repaid him.
However, the payments were reported as legal fees in Trump’s business records, which could mean they amounted to an undisclosed campaign contribution.
These allegations surfaced while Trump was in office, prompting a federal investigation.
And in 2017, Cohen pleaded guilty to eight federal charges, including tax evasion, fraud and campaign finance violations, and told a Manhattan court that Trump had ordered him to make the payments.
On Monday, the New York Police Department erected barricades around the lower Manhattan courthouse complex
This highlights his credibility as a witness.
Costello said Cohen had previously said he did not use Trump’s money for repayment.
“The crux of the matter is that Michael Cohen told us that he was contacted by Stormy Daniels’ attorney and that Stormy Daniels had negative information that she wanted to file a lawsuit against Trump,” he said. So Michael Cohen decided on his own — that’s what he told us, on his own — to see if he could take care of this.
For his part, Cohen said that Trump’s classic tactics of launching a public relations campaign against witnesses who had negative information about him were classic.
“It’s a typical Donald J. Trump play outside the playbook,” Cohen told MSNBC Monday night. Figure out how you are going to muddy the waters as best you can, discredit the person, and belittle them.
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