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Watch and read Michael Cohen's full opening statement before Congress

Cohen told Congress that his Donald Trump is a "racist," a "conman," and a "cheat."

by Emma Ockerman
Feb 27 2019, 4:26pm

Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s longtime personal attorney, told Congress Wednesday that his former boss is a “racist,” a “conman,” and a “cheat.”

“I am ashamed that I chose to take part in concealing Mr. Trump’s illicit acts rather than listening to my own conscience,” Cohen told the Democrat-led House Oversight Committee Wednesday in his prepared remarks. “I am ashamed because I know what Mr. Trump is.

During the course of his opening statement, Cohen accused the president of directing him to make a hush money payment to keep adult film actress Stormy Daniels quiet about an affair she had with the president — an allegation which Trump has previously denied. Cohen also provided various checks and letters showing the president sought to cover up information about his personal life, including extramarital affairs, his finances, and his educational records.

Republicans, led by the vocal Rep. Jim Jordan from Ohio, sought to delay Cohen’s hearing because of the late release of his opening statement. They also attacked his credibility. “This might be the first time someone convicted of lying to Congress has appeared so quickly again in front of Congress,” Jordan said ahead of Cohen’s opening remarks.

Cohen has pleaded guilty to a litany of financial crimes as well as lying to Congress about the timeline of a Trump Tower project in Moscow. He’s been sentenced to three years in prison.

“I stated that we stopped negotiating in January 2016,” Cohen reiterated Wednesday. “That was false — our negotiations continued for months later during the campaign.”

Read Cohen's full opening statement here:

Cover image: Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump's former personal lawyer, arrives to testify before the House Oversight and Reform Committee, on Capitol Hill, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

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