Trump claims Michael Cohen asked him for a pardon three times and calls his fixer a ‘serial liar’
Donald Trump stepped up his attacks on his former lawyer and fixer on Tuesday morning, claiming that Michael Cohen had asked him for a presidential pardon three times.
Cohen is a star witness as prosecutors build their case against Trump over $130,000 in hush money paid to adult film star Stormy Daniels.
Security around the Lower Manhattan courthouse has been tightened as a grand jury considers indicting the former president.
Trump went to Truth Social in an attempt to undermine Cohen’s credibility.
“Remember, Michael Cohen was a lawyer who represented clients other than me as well, and made business transactions for himself, such as taxi medallions, etc. I had nothing to do with his outside affairs,” Trump wrote.
Former President Donald Trump on Tuesday tried to undermine the credibility of Michael Cohen, his former fixer and now 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 false storyteller and started lying about events!”
In 2017, Cohen was found guilty of tax fraud (among other things) related to revenue from his taxi business.
Trump revealed over the weekend that he expected to be arrested Tuesday, though aides have since said he was responding to leaks and media reports rather than a formal plan for his surrender.
Instead, reports suggest the grand jury has yet to finalize its hearing of evidence and another witness may be called on Wednesday.
Heard on Monday from Robert Costello, a lawyer with close ties to Trump aides.
Analysts said it was a last chance to keep the grand jury away from indictment after he publicly said he had information to undermine 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 in happier times. The then Republican presidential nominee appeared with his personal attorney at a campaign stop in Cleveland Heights, Ohio. in September 2016
Trump also posted a video on Truth Social on Monday evening condemning the “witch hunt” against him and slaying Stormy Daniels
Either way, Cohen is at the center of the case.
Cohen made the $130,000 hush money payment to 44-year-old Daniels during Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign to ensure her silence.
Trump has always denied having an affair.
Cohen says he made the payment at Trump’s request with his own money from a home equity line of credit and that Trump later paid him back.
However, the payments were reportedly reported as legal fees in Trump’s business records, which could mean they amount to an undeclared campaign contribution.
The allegations came to light 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, telling a Manhattan court that Trump ordered him to make the payments.
New York Police Department set up barricades around the courthouse in lower Manhattan on Monday
That puts his credibility as a witness in the spotlight.
Costello said Cohen previously said he had not used Trump’s money for the payout.
“The bottom line is that Michael Cohen told us he was approached by Stormy Daniels’ attorney and that Stormy Daniels had negative information that she wanted to sue Trump,” he said. “So Michael Cohen decided on his own – that’s what he told us, on his own – to see if he could handle this.”
For his part, Cohen said it was a classic Trump tactic to run a public relations campaign against witnesses with negative information about him.
“It’s a typical Donald J. Trump play off the screenplay,” Cohen told MSNBC Monday night. “Find out the best way to muddy the water, belittle the person, discredit the person.”