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#Cohen Opening Statement
2.Chairman @RepCummings, Ranking Member @Jim_Jordan , and Members of the Committee, thank you for inviting me here today. I have asked this Committee to ensure that my family be protected from Presidential threats

#MichaelCohenTestimony
3.And that the Committee be sensitive to the questions pertaining to ongoing investigations. Thank you for your help and for your understanding.

I am here under oath to correct the record, to answer the Committee’s questions truthfully

#MichaelCohenTestimony
4.And to offer the American people what I know about #Trump. I recognize that some of you may doubt and attack me on my credibility.

It is for this reason that I have incorporated into this opening statement documents that are irrefutable

#MichaelCohenTestimony
5.And demonstrate that the information you will hear is accurate and truthful. Never in a million years did I imagine, when I accepted a job in 2007 that he would one day run for President, launch a campaign on a platform of hate and intolerance

#MichaelCohenTestimony
6.And actually win. I regret the day I said “yes” to #Trump. I regret all the help and support I gave him along the way. I am ashamed of my own failings, and I publicly accepted responsibility for them by pleading guilty in the #SDNY

#MichaelCohenTestimony
7.I am ashamed of my weakness and misplaced loyalty – of the things I did for #Trump in an effort to protect and promote him. I am ashamed that I chose to take part in concealing #Trump’s illicit acts rather than listening to my own conscience

#MichaelCohenTestimony
8.I am ashamed because I know what #Trump is.

He is a racist.

He is a conman.

He is a cheat.

He was a presidential candidate who knew that #Stone was talking with #Assange about a #WikiLeaks drop of #DNC #emails.

#MichaelCohenTestimony
9.I will explain each in a few moments.
I am providing the Committee today with several documents. These include:

#MichaelCohenTestimony
10.A copy of a check #Trump wrote from his personal bank account – after he became president - to reimburse me for the hush money payments I made to cover up his affair with an adult film star and prevent damage to his campaign

#MichaelCohenTestimony
11.Copies of financial statements for 2011 – 2013 that he gave to such institutions as @DeutscheBank

#MichaelCohenTestimony
12.A copy of an article with #Trump’s handwriting on it that reported on the auction of a portrait of himself–he arranged for bidder ahead of time then reimbursed bidder from account of his non-profit charitable foundation, with the picture now hanging in one of his country clubs
13.Copies of letters I wrote at #Trump’s direction that threatened his high school, colleges, and the College Board not to release his grades or SAT scores.

#MichaelCohenTestimony
14.I hope my appearance here today, my guilty plea, and my work with law enforcement agencies are steps along a path of redemption that will restore faith in me and help this country understand #Trump better.

#MichaelCohenTestimony
15.Before going further, I want to apologize to each of you and to Congress as a whole.

The last time I appeared before Congress, I came to protect #Trump. Today, I’m here to tell the truth about #Trump.

#MichaelCohenTestimony
16.I lied to Congress about when #Trump stopped negotiating the #Moscow Tower project in #Russia. I stated that we stopped negotiating in January 2016. That was false – our negotiations continued for months later during the campaign

#MichaelCohenTestimony
17.#Trump did not directly tell me to lie to Congress. That’s not how he operates.

In conversations we had during the campaign, same time I was actively negotiating in #Russia for him, he would look me in the eye and tell me there’s no business in #Russia

#MichaelCohenTestimony
18.And then go out and lie to the American people by saying the same thing. In his way, he was telling me to lie.

There were at least a half-dozen times between the IA Caucus Jan 2016 & end of June when he would ask me “How’s it going in Russia?”

#MichaelCohenTestimony
19.#Trump’s personal lawyers reviewed & edited my statement to Congress about the timing of the #Moscow Tower negotiations before I gave it.

#Trump knew of and directed the #Trump #Moscow negotiations throughout the campaign and lied about it

#MichaelCohenTestimony
20.#Trump lied about it because he never expected to win the election. He also lied about it because he stood to make hundreds of millions of dollars on the #Moscow real estate project

#MichaelCohenTestimony
21. So I lied about it too–#Trump made clear to me, through personal statements to me that we both knew were false & through his lies to the country, he wanted me to lie. And his personal attorneys reviewed my statement before I gave it to Congress

#MichaelCohenTestimony
22.Over the past two years, I have been smeared as “a rat” by #Trump. The truth is much different, and let me take a brief moment to introduce myself.

My name is Michael Dean Cohen.
I am a blessed husband of 24 years

#MichaelCohenTestimony
23.And a father to an incredible daughter and son. When I married, I promised her that I would love her, cherish her, and protect her. As my father said countless times throughout my childhood, “you my wife, and you my children, are the air that I breathe.”
#MichaelCohenTestimony
24 .To my Laura, my Sami, and my Jake, there is nothing I wouldn’t do to protect you. I have always tried to live a life of loyalty, friendship, generosity, and compassion – qualities my parents ingrained in my siblings and me since childhood

#MichaelCohenTestimony
25. My father survived the Holocaust thanks to the compassion and selfless acts of others. He was helped by many who put themselves in harm’s way to do what they knew was right.

#MichaelCohenTestimony
26.That is why my first instinct has always been to help those in need. Mom and Dad...I am sorry that I let you down.
As many people that know me best would say, I am the person they would call at 3AM if they needed help.

#MichaelCohenTestimony
27.I proudly remember being the emergency contact for many of my children’s friends when they were growing up because their parents knew that I would drop everything and care for them as if they were my own.

#MichaelCohenTestimony
28.Yet, last fall I pled guilty in federal court to felonies for the benefit of, at the direction of, and in coordination with Individual #1.

For the record: Individual #1 is #Trump.

It is painful to admit that I was motivated by ambition at times.

#MichaelCohenTestimony
29. It is even more painful to admit that many times I ignored my conscience and acted loyal to a man when I should not have. Sitting here today, it seems unbelievable that I was so mesmerized by #Trump that I was willing to do things for him that I knew were absolutely wrong.
30.For that reason, I have come here to apologize to my family, to the government, and to the American people.

Accordingly, let me now tell you about #Trump.

#MichaelCohenTestimony
31.I got to know him very well, working very closely with him for more than 10 years, as his EVP and Special Counsel and then personal attorney when he became "President"

#MichaelCohenTestimony
32.When I first met #Trump, he was a successful entrepreneur, a real estate giant, and an icon. Being around #Trump was intoxicating. When you were in his presence, you felt like you were involved in something greater than yourself -- that you were somehow changing the world.
33.I wound up touting the #Trump narrative for over a decade. That was my job. Always stay on message. Always defend. It monopolized my life. At first, I worked mostly on real estate developments and other business transactions.

#MichaelCohenTestimony
34.Shortly thereafter, #Trump brought me into his personal life and private dealings. Over time, I saw his true character revealed.
#Trump is an enigma. He is complicated, as am I. He has both good and bad, as do we all. But the bad far outweighs the good,

#MichaelCohenTestimony
35.Since taking office, he has become the worst version of himself. He is capable of behaving kindly, but he is not kind. He is capable of committing acts of generosity, but he is not generous. He is capable of being loyal, but he is fundamentally disloyal

#MichaelCohenTestimony
36.#Trump is a man who ran for office to make his brand great, not to make our country great. He had no desire or intention to lead this nation – only to market himself and to build his wealth and power.

#MichaelCohenTestimony
37.#Trump would often say, this campaign was going to be the “greatest infomercial in political history.” He never expected to win the primary. He never expected to win the general election. The campaign – for him – was always a marketing opportunity.

#MichaelCohenTestimony
38.I knew early on in my work for #Trump that he would direct me to lie to further his business interests. I am ashamed to say, that when it was for a real estate mogul in the private sector, I considered it trivial. As the President, I consider it significant and dangerous.
39.But in the mix, lying for #Trump was normalized, and no one around him questioned it. In fairness, no one around him today questions it either.

#MichaelCohenTestimony
40.A lot of people have asked me about whether #Trump knew about the release of the hacked @DNC emails ahead of time. The answer is yes.

#MichaelCohenTestimony
41. As I earlier stated, #Trump knew from #Stone in advance about the #WikiLeaks drop of #emails.
In July 2016, days before the #Democratic convention, I was in #Trump’s office when his secretary announced that #Stone was on the phone.

#MichaelCohenTestimony
42.#Trump put #Stone on the speakerphone. #Stone told #Trump that he had just gotten off the phone with #Assange and that #Assange told #Stone that, within a couple of days, there would be a massive dump of emails that would damage #Clinton’s campaign.

#MichaelCohenTestimony
43.#Trump responded by stating to the effect of “wouldn’t that be great.”
#Trump is a racist. The country has seen #Trump court white supremacists and bigots. You have heard him call poorer countries “shitholes.”
In private, he is even worse.

#MichaelCohenTestimony
44.He once asked me if I could name a country run by a black person that wasn’t a “shithole.” This was when Barack #Obama was President of the #UnitedStates.

#MichaelCohenTestimony
45.While we were 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
And yet I continued to work for him

#MichaelCohenTestimony
46.#Trump is a cheat.
As previously stated, I’m giving the Committee today three years of #Trump’s financial statements, from 2011-2013, which he gave to @DeutscheBank to inquire about a loan to buy the #BuffaloBills and to @Forbes.

#MichaelCohenTestimony
47.These are Exhibits 1a, 1b, and 1c to my testimony. #Trump inflated his total assets when it served his purposes, such as trying to be listed among the wealthiest people in Forbes, and deflated his assets to reduce his real estate taxes.

#MichaelCohenTestimony
48.I am sharing with you two newspaper articles, side by side, that are examples of #Trump inflating and deflating his assets, as I said, to suit his financial interests. These are Exhibit 2 to my testimony.

#MichaelCohenTestimony
49. As I noted, I’m giving the Committee today an article he wrote on, and sent me, that reported on an auction of a portrait of Mr. Trump. This is Exhibit 3A to my testimony.

#MichaelCohenTestimony
50.#Trump directed me to find a straw bidder to purchase a portrait of him that was being auctioned at an Art Hamptons Event. 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.
51.The portrait was purchased by the fake bidder for $60,000. #Trump directed the #TrumpFoundation, which is supposed to be a charitable organization, to repay the fake bidder, despite keeping the art for himself. Please see Exhibit 3B to my testimony.

#MichaelCohenTestimony
52.And it should come as no surprise that one of my more common responsibilities was that #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.
53.When I advised #Trump of my success, he actually reveled in it.
And yet, I continued to work for him.

#MichaelCohenTestimony
54.#Trump is a conman.

He asked me to pay off an adult film star and to lie to @FLOTUS about it, which I did. Lying to @Flotus is one of my biggest regrets. She is a kind, good person. I respect her greatly – and she did not deserve that.

#MichaelCohenTestimony
55.I am giving the Committee today a copy of the $130,000 wire transfer from me to #StormyDaniel’s attorney during the closing days of the campaign that was demanded by #StormyDaniels to maintain her silence,This is Exhibit 4 to my testimony.

#MichaelCohenTestimony
56.#Trump directed me to use my own personal funds from a Home Equity Line of Credit to avoid any money being traced back to him that could negatively impact his campaign.

#MichaelCohenTestimony
57.I did that, too – without bothering to consider whether that was improper, much less whether it was the right thing to do or how it would impact me, my family, or the public.

#MichaelCohenTestimony
58.I am going to jail in part because of my decision to help #Trump hide that payment from the American people before they voted a few days later.

#MichaelCohenTestimony
59. As Ex 5 to my testimony shows, I am providing a copy of a $35,000 check that #Trump personally signed from his personal bank

#MichaelCohenTestimony
60.#Trump signed it from his account on August 1, 2017-while "President" – pursuant to the cover-up, which was the basis of my guilty plea, to reimburse me – the word used by #Trump’s TV lawyer -- for the illegal hush money I paid on his behalf.

#MichaelCohenTestimony
61.This $35,000 check was one of 11 check installments that was paid throughout the year – while he was President.

#MichaelCohenTestimony
62.#Trump thus wrote a personal check for the payment of hush money as part of a criminal scheme to violate campaign finance laws. You can find the details of that scheme, directed by #Trump, in the pleadings in the U.S. District Court for the SDNY.

#MichaelCohenTestimony
63. So picture this scene – in February 2017, I’m visiting #Trump in the Oval Office for the first time. It’s truly awe-inspiring, he’s showing me around and pointing to different paintings, and he says to me something to the effect of...

#MichaelCohenTestimony
64.Don’t worry, Michael, your January and February reimbursement checks are coming. They were Fed- Exed from #NewYork and it takes a while for that to get through #WhiteHouse system. As he promised, I received the first check for the reimbursement of $70,000 not long thereafter.
65.When I say conman, 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.

#MichaelCohenTestimony
66. As I mentioned, I’m giving the Committee today copies of a letter I sent at #Trump’s direction threatening these schools with civil and criminal actions if #Trump’s grades or SAT scores were ever disclosed without his permission. These are Exhibit 6.

#MichaelCohenTestimony
67.The irony wasn’t lost on me at the time that #Trump in 2011 had strongly criticized President #Obama for not releasing his grades. As you can see in Exhibit 7, #Trump said “Let him show his records” after calling President Obama “a terrible student.”

#MichaelCohenTestimony
68.The sad fact is that I never heard #Trump say anything in private that led me to believe he loved our nation or wanted to make it better. In fact,he did the opposite. When telling me in 2008 that he was cutting employees’ salaries in half –including mine
#MichaelCohenTestimony
69.He showed me what he claimed was a $10 million @IRS tax refund, and he said that he could not believe how stupid the government was for giving “someone like him” that much money back.

#MichaelCohenTestimony
70.During the campaign, #Trump said he did not consider Vietnam Veteran, and POW, Sen John #McCain to be “a hero” because he likes people who weren’t captured. At the same time, #Trump tasked me to handle negative press surrounding his medical deferment from the Vietnam draft.
71.#Trump claimed it was because of a bone spur, but when I asked for medical records, he gave me none and said there was no surgery.

#MichaelCohenTestimony
72.#Trump told me not to answer the specific questions by reporters but rather offer simply the fact that he received a medical deferment.

#MichaelCohenTestimony
73.#Trump finished the conversation with the following comment. “You think I’m stupid, I wasn’t going to Vietnam.”
I find it ironic, #Trump, that you are in Vietnam right now. And yet, I continued to work for him.

#MichaelCohenTestimony
74.Questions have been raised about whether I know of direct evidence that #Trump or his campaign colluded with #Russia. I do not. I want to be clear. But, I have my suspicions.

#MichaelCohenTestimony
75.Sometime in the summer of 2017, I read all over the media that there had been a meeting in #TrumpTower in June 2016 involving #DonJr. and others from the campaign with Russians, including a representative of the #Russian government, and an #email setting up the meeting
76.#Email had the subject line, “Dirt on Hillary Clinton.” Something clicked in my mind. I remember being in the room with #Trump, probably in early June 2016, when something peculiar happened.

#MichaelCohenTestimony
77.#DonJr. came into the room and walked behind #Trump’s desk – which in itself was unusual. People didn’t just walk behind #Trump’s desk to talk to him.

#MIchaelCohenTestimony
78. I recalled #DonJr. leaning over to #Trump and speaking in a low voice, which I could clearly hear, and saying:

“The meeting is all set.” I remember #Trump saying, “Ok good...let me know.”

#MichaelCohenTestimony
79.What struck me as I looked back and thought about that exchange between #DonJr. and #Trump was, first, that #Trump had frequently told me and others that #DonJr. had the worst judgment

#MichaelCohenTestimony
80.#Trump frequently told me and others that #DonJr had the worst judgment of anyone in the world. And also, that #DonJr. would never set up any meeting of any significance alone – and certainly not without checking with his father.

#MichaelCohenTestimony
81.I also knew that nothing went on in #Trump world, especially the campaign, without #Trump’s knowledge and approval.

#MichaelCohenTestimony
82. #DonJr was referring to the #TrumpTower meeting about dirt on #Hillary with the #Russian representative when he walked behind his dad’s desk that day—and #Trump knew that was the meeting #DonJr was talking about when he said “That’s good—let me know”

#MichaelCohenTestimony
83.Over the past year or so, I have done some real soul searching. I see now that my ambition and the intoxication of #Trump power had much to do with the bad decisions I made.

#MichaelCohenTestimony
84. To you, Chairman Cummings, Ranking Member Jordan, the other members of this Committee, and the other members of the House and Senate, I am sorry for my lies and for lying to Congress.

#MichaelCohenTestimony
85. To our nation, I am sorry for actively working to hide from you the truth about #Trump when you needed it most.

#MichaelCohenTestimony
86.For those who question my motives for being here today, I understand. I have lied, but I am not a liar. I have done bad things, but I am not a bad man. I have fixed things, but I am no longer your “fixer,” #Trump.

#MichaelCohenTestimony
87.I am going to prison & have shattered the safety & security I tried so hard to provide for my family. My testimony certainly does not diminish the pain I caused my family & friends–nothing can do that. And I have never asked for—nor would I accept—a pardon from #Trump
88.And, by coming today, I have caused my family to be the target of personal, scurrilous attacks by #Trump and his lawyer – trying to intimidate me from appearing before this panel.

#MichaelCohenTestimony
89.#Trump called me a “rat” for choosing to tell the truth – much like a mobster would do when one of his men decides to cooperate with the government.

#MichaelCohenTestimony
90. As Exhibit 8 shows, I have provided copies of Tweets that #Trump posted, attacking me and my family – only someone burying his head in the sand would not recognize them for what they are: encouragement to someone to do harm to me and my family.

#MichaelCohenTestimony
91.I never imagined that he would engage in vicious, false attacks on my family – and unleash his TV-lawyer to do the same.

#MichaelCohenTestimony
92.I hope this committee and all members of Congress on both sides of the aisle will make it clear: As a nation, we should not tolerate attempts to intimidate witnesses before congress and attacks on family are out of bounds and not acceptable.

#MichaelCohenTestimony
93.I wish to especially thank @SpeakerPelosi for her statements in Exhibit 9 to protect this institution and me, and the @RepAdamSchiff and @RepCummings
for likewise defending this institution and my family

#MichaelCohenTestimony
94.Against the attacks by #Trump, and also the many Republicans who have admonished #Trump as well.

#MichaelCohenTestimony
95.I am not a perfect man. I have done things I am not proud of, and I will live with the consequences of my actions for the rest of my life.

#MichaelCohenTestimony
96.But today, I get to decide the example I set for my children & how I attempt to change how history will remember me. I may not be able to change the past, but I can do right by the American people here today.

#MichaelCohenTestimony
97. Thank you for your attention. I’m happy to answer the Cmte’s questions.

#MichaelCohenTestimony
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