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(THREAD) This thread contains the HIGHLIGHTS of Michael Cohen's opening remarks to the House Oversight Committee. Cohen's statement may be the most damning public statement ever made about a President of the United States in American history. I hope you will read on and RETWEET.
1/ "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, and demonstrate that the information you will hear is accurate and truthful."
2/ "I regret the day I said yes to Mr. 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. I am ashamed of my weakness and misplaced loyalty."
3/ "I am ashamed of the things I did for Mr. Trump in an effort to protect and promote him. I am ashamed that I chose to take part in concealing Mr. Trump's illicit acts...I am ashamed because I know what Mr. Trump is. He is a racist. He is a conman. He is a cheat."
4/ "Donald Trump was a presidential candidate who knew that Roger Stone was talking with Julian Assange about a WikiLeaks drop of Democratic National Committee emails."
5/ "I'm here to tell the truth about Mr. Trump. I lied to Congress about when Mr. 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."
6/ "In conversations we had during the campaign, at the same time I was actively negotiating in Russia for him, Mr. Trump would look me in the eye and tell
me there's no business in Russia and then go out and lie to the American people by saying the same thing."
7/ "In his way, Mr. Trump was telling me to lie. There were at least a half-dozen times between the Iowa Caucus in January 2016 and the end of June when he would ask me, 'How's it going in Russia?'—referring to the Moscow Tower project."
8/ "You need to know that Mr. Trump's personal lawyers reviewed and edited my [false] statement to Congress about the timing of the Moscow Tower negotiations before I gave it."
9/ "Mr. Trump knew of and directed the Trump Moscow negotiations throughout the campaign and lied about it. He lied about it because he never expected to win the election. He also lied...because he stood to make hundreds of millions of dollars on the Moscow real estate project."
10/ "So I lied about [the Moscow project], too—because Mr. Trump had made clear to me, through his personal statements to me that we both knew were false and through his lies to the country, that he wanted me to lie."
11/ "For the record: 'Individual #1' is President Donald J. Trump."
12/ "It is...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 Donald Trump that I was willing to do things for him that I knew were absolutely wrong."
13/ "I have come here to apologize to my family, to the government, and to the American people. Accordingly, let me now tell you about Mr. Trump."
14/ "Being around Mr. Trump was intoxicating. When you were in his presence, you felt like you were involved in something greater....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."
15/ "Over time, I saw Mr. Trump's true character revealed. He is an enigma....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."
16/ "He 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 build his wealth and power. He would often say, this campaign...[will] be the 'greatest infomercial in political history.'"
17/ "He never expected to win the primary. He never expected to win the general election. The campaign—for him—was always a marketing opportunity."
18/ "I knew early on in my work for Mr. 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."
19/ "Lying for Mr. Trump was normalized, and no one around him questioned it. In fairness, no one around him today questions it, either. A lot of people have asked me about whether Mr. Trump knew about the release of the hacked DNC emails ahead of time. The answer is yes."
20/ "Mr. Trump knew from Roger Stone in advance about the WikiLeaks drop of emails. In July 2016—days before the Democratic convention—I was in Mr. Trump's office when his secretary announced that Roger Stone was on the phone. Mr. Trump put Mr. Stone on the speakerphone...{cont.}
21/ "...Stone told Mr. Trump he had just gotten off the phone with Julian Assange and that Assange told Stone that—within a couple days—there would be a massive dump of emails that would damage Clinton's campaign. Mr. Trump responded...to the effect of, 'wouldn't that be great.'"
22/ "Mr. Trump is a racist. The country has seen Mr. Trump court white supremacists and bigots. You have heard him call poorer countries 'shitholes.'
In private, he is even worse. He once asked me if I could name a country run by a black person that wasn't a 'shithole.'"
23/ "While we were once driving through a struggling neighborhood in Chicago, Mr. Trump 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."
24/ "Mr. Trump is a cheat.... It was my experience that Mr. 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."
25/ "He directed me to find a straw bidder to purchase a portrait of him that was being auctioned. The objective was to ensure that his portrait would go for the highest price of any portrait. It was purchased by the fake bidder for 60K. He directed the Trump Foundation...{cont.}
26/ "...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."
27/ "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."
28/ "Mr. Trump is a conman. He asked me to pay off an adult film star with whom he had an affair, and to lie to his wife about it, which I did. Lying to the First Lady is one of my biggest regrets. She is a kind, good person. I respect her greatly—and she did not deserve that."
29/ "I'm giving the Committee a copy of the $130,000 wire transfer from me to Ms. Clifford's lawyer during the closing days of the presidential campaign that was demanded by Ms. Clifford to maintain her silence about her affair with Mr. Trump. This is Exhibit 4 to my testimony."
30/ "Mr. 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. I did that, too."
31/ "I'm providing a copy of a 35K check that President Trump personally signed from his personal bank account on August 1, 2017...pursuant to the cover-up...to 'reimburse' me—the word used by Mr. Trump's TV lawyer—for the illegal hush money I paid on his behalf."
32/ "This $35,000 check [I am providing to Congress] was one of eleven check installments that was paid throughout the year—while Mr. Trump was President."
33/ "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. You can find the details of that scheme, directed by Mr. Trump, in the pleadings in the U.S. District Court for SDNY."
34/ "In February 2017...I'm visiting President Trump in the Oval Office...[and he says to me], 'Don't worry, Michael, your January and February reimbursement checks are coming. They were Fed-Exed from New York and it takes a while for that to get through the White House system.'"
35/ "When I say [Mr. Trump is a] '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."
36/ "The irony wasn't lost on me at the time [that Mr. Trump asked me to threaten his alma maters] that he in 2011 had strongly criticized President Obama for not releasing his grades. He'd declared, 'Let him show his records' after calling President Obama 'a terrible student.'"
37/ "The sad fact is that I never heard Mr. 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."
38/ "When telling me in 2008 that he was cutting employees' salaries in half—including mine—Mr. Trump showed me what he claimed was a $10 million IRS tax refund, and said that he couldn't believe how stupid the government was for giving 'someone like him' that much money back."
39/ "He tasked me to handle the negative press surrounding his medical deferment from the Vietnam draft. He 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. He told me not to answer specific questions."
40/ "Mr. Trump finished the conversation [about his deferments from the Vietnam draft] with the following comment. 'You think I'm stupid? I wasn't going to Vietnam.'"
41/ "I remember being in the room with Mr. Trump—probably in early June 2016—when something peculiar happened. Don Jr. came into the room and walked behind his father's desk—which in itself was unusual. People didn't just walk behind his desk to talk to him. I recalled...{cont.}
42/ "...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, 'Okay, good. Let me know.'...[later] I concluded Don was referring to that June 2016 Trump Tower meeting."
43/ "Mr. Trump frequently told me...Don had the worst judgment of anyone in the world. And also, that Don would never set up any meeting of any significance alone—and certainly not without checking with his father...{cont.}
44/ "...nothing went on in Trump world, especially the campaign, without his knowledge and approval. So, I concluded that Don was referring to that June 2016 Trump Tower meeting about dirt on Hillary with the Russian representative when he walked behind his dad's desk that day."
45/ "To our nation, I am sorry for actively working to hide from you the truth about Mr. Trump when you needed it most. 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."
46/ "[Mr. Trump has tried] to intimidate me from appearing before this panel. Mr. 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."
47/ "Only someone burying his head in the sand would not recognize [Trump's tweets] for what they are: encouragement to someone to do harm to me and my family. I never imagined that he would engage in vicious, false attacks on my family—and unleash his TV lawyer to do the same."
48/ "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."
49/ "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. But today, I get to decide the example I set for my children and how I attempt to change how history will remember me...{cont.}
50/ "...I may not be able to change the past, but I can do right by the American people here today. Thank you for your attention. I am happy to answer the Committee's questions." /end
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