Michael Cohen will present a check to the House Oversight Committee Wednesday signed by Donald Trump, which the president’s former lawyer says was reimbursement for hush money payments to porn star Stormy Daniels.
In prepared remarks published hours before his testimony, Cohen said the check is proof that Trump knowingly conspired to prevent negative stories about his personal life becoming public.
The testimony will also include allegations of criminal, racist and unethical activity by Trump since he became president.
Here are the six most explosive revelations in Cohen’s opening remarks to Congress:
The hush money check: “I am providing a copy of a $35,000 check that President Trump personally signed from his personal bank account on August 1, 2017 — when he was President of the United States — pursuant to the cover-up,” Cohen said.
CNN published a copy of the check on Wednesday morning:
The former lawyer, who is scheduled to begin his prison sentence in May, says the $35,000 check was one of 11 installments paid throughout the year as reimbursement for a $130,000 payment he made from his personal account to Stormy Daniels, real name Stephanie Clifford.
“The President of the United States thus wrote a personal check for the payment of hush money as part of a criminal scheme to violate campaign finance laws,” Cohen claims.
Roger Stone told Trump about the upcoming Wikileaks dump: Cohen says he was in the room when Roger Stone called Trump and told him that Wikileaks was about to publish emails stolen from the DNC. “Mr. Stone told Mr. Trump that he had just gotten off the phone with Julian Assange and that Mr. Assange told Mr. Stone that, within a couple of days, there would be a massive dump of emails that would damage Hillary Clinton’s campaign,” Cohen says. Trump allegedly responded: “Wouldn’t that be great.”
Cohen says Trump is a racist: Cohen will say Trump is more racist in private than his public persona suggests. “While we were once driving through a struggling neighborhood in Chicago, he commented that only black people could live that way. And, he told me that black people would never vote for him because they were too stupid.”
Trump threatened his former schools: Cohen will present a letter Trump asked him to write to his former schools threatening them not to release his SAT scores. “I’m talking about a man who declares himself brilliant but directed me to threaten his high school, his colleges, and the College Board to never release his grades or SAT scores.”
Cohen thinks he saw Don Jr. tell Trump about Trump Tower meeting: Cohen says he has no direct evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia but says he has his suspicions after witnessing an encounter between Trump and his son in early June 2016. “Don Jr. came into the room and walked behind his father’s desk — which in itself was unusual. People didn’t just walk behind Mr. Trump’s desk to talk to him. I recalled Don Jr. leaning over to his father and speaking in a low voice, which I could clearly hear, and saying: 'The meeting is all set.' I remember Mr. Trump saying, “Ok good…let me know”.”
Trump paid $60,000 for his own portrait at an auction to ensure it was the highest price: Trump allegedly directed Cohen to find a fake bidder for a portrait of the then-businessman that was up for auction. “The objective was to ensure that his portrait, which was going to be auctioned last, would go for the highest price of any portrait that afternoon. Mr. Trump directed the Trump Foundation, which is supposed to be a charitable organization, to repay the fake bidder, despite keeping the art for himself,” Cohen says.
Trump tweeted in 2013 about his surprise that his portrait had raised so much money.
Trump didn’t like paying some people: Cohen said one of his jobs was to call people who Trump owed money to and tell them they wouldn’t be paid in full. “Mr. Trump directed me to call business owners, many of whom were small businesses, that were owed money for their services and told them no payment or a reduced payment would be coming. When I advised Mr. Trump of my success, he actually reveled in it.”
Cover image: Michael Cohen (R), former attorney and fixer for President Donald Trump, speaks to the media at the Hart Senate Office Building after testifying to the Senate Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill February 26, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)