Cohen details ‘suspicions’ about Trump, Russia

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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)

11:17 a.m.

President Donald Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, says he doesn’t know whether Trump colluded with Russia to win the 2016 election, but he has “suspicions” about that.

Cohen tells a House committee that he witnessed instances before the election in which Trump was informed about WikiLeaks’ release of Democratic National Committee emails and about a Trump Tower meeting that included campaign advisers, Trump’s oldest son and a Russian lawyer.

Cohen says Trump had told him that the younger Trump “had the worst judgment of anyone in the world.”

Cohen also said Donald Trump Jr. “would never set up any meeting of any significance alone – and certainly not without checking with his father.”

Cohen has turned on his former boss and cooperated with special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation. Cohen begins a three-year prison sentence in May.

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11:15 a.m.

“Not true.”

That’s the word from Roger Stone, a confidant of President Donald Trump, in response to a claim by Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen.

Cohen has testified to a House committee that Stone told Trump that the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks planned to release emails damaging to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign.

Cohen says Stone told Trump in July 2016 that Stone had just gotten off the phone with Julian Assange, who run WikiLeaks, and that there would be a “massive dump” of emails harmful to the Clinton campaign.

Cohen’s allegation would contradict the president’s assertions that he was in the dark on this issue.

It’s not immediately clear what evidence Cohen has to support the allegation or how legally problematic the claim it might be for Trump.

Stone has pleaded not guilty to witness tampering and obstruction in Mueller’s investigation

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11:10 a.m.

President Donald Trump’s former lawyer is apologizing to Congress and the American people for, in his words, “actively working to hide from you the truth about Mr. Trump when you needed it most.”

Michael Cohen is also apologizing to lawmakers for lying to Congress in 2017. Cohen pleaded guilty to that lying, among other offenses, and is headed to prison in May.

Cohen tells a House committee that “it seems unbelievable that I was so mesmerized by Donald Trump that I was willing to do things for him that I knew were absolutely wrong.”

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11 a.m.

Former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen says he wouldn’t accept a pardon from the president and he didn’t ask for one.

Cohen is testifying under oath before the House Oversight and Reform Committee – and has said that Trump instructed him to pay off women who said they’d had affairs with the president. Trump has denied the claims.

For more than a decade, Cohen was a key power player in the Trump Organization and a fixture in Trump’s political life.

Cohen is set to begin a three-year prison sentence in May after pleading guilty to lying to Congress in 2017 and committing campaign finance violations while he was working for Trump.

Cohen says he’s speaking before the committee to set the record straight and try to atone for some of his mistakes.

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10:58 a.m.

President Donald Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, says Trump personally signed checks repaying him for hush money paid to porn actress Stormy Daniels.

Cohen has presented a check to the House Oversight and Reform Committee. The $35,000 check was from dated August 2017.

Cohen has pleaded guilty to campaign finance violations connected to a $130,000 hush-money deal involving porn actress Stormy Daniels. She alleges an affair; Trump denies it.

Cohen says he personally paid Daniels. But Trump’s current lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, has said Cohen was repaid through a retainer agreement.

Prosecutors have said the Trump Organization paid Cohen in monthly installments to reimburse him for the Daniels’ payment. They say Cohen used “sham” invoices to try to conceal the true nature of the payments.

A second check from March 2017 was signed by Donald Trump Jr. and Trump’s chief financial officer.

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10:55 a.m.

The president’s former personal lawyer says Donald Trump lied about his wealth to look richer to Forbes magazine and less wealthy for tax authorities.

Michael Cohen is testifying under oath before the House Oversight and Reform Committee.

Cohen says financial documents show Trump inflated his assets to rank higher on the Forbes world’s billionaires list. Trump ranked 766th on the publication’s latest list, which was released last March.

Cohen claims Trump would also deflate his assets to pay lower real estate taxes.

Democrats have promised an aggressive effort to investigate the president since they regained control of the House in January.

For more than a decade, Cohen was a key power player in the Trump Organization and a fixture in Trump’s political life.

Cohen is set to begin a three-year prison sentence in May after pleading guilty to lying to Congress in 2017 and committing campaign finance violations while he was working for Trump.

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10:52 a.m.

Former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen is telling Congress that President Donald Trump lied to the American people about negotiations during the 2016 presidential campaign about a proposed Trump building in Russia.

Cohen says in public testimony before the House Oversight and Reform Committee that Trump “knew of and directed” the negotiations about a proposed Trump Tower in Moscow. Cohen pleaded guilty last year to lying to Congress about the timing of the business proposal.

Cohen is testifying that Trump didn’t “directly” tell him to lie to Congress about the project but he did so “in his way.”

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