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Michael Cohen is about to testify before the House Oversight Committee. Follow along for a video thread.
LOL -- An angry @RepMarkMeadows begins by trying to do Trump's bidding by moving to postpone the hearing, because Cohen's testimony wasn't given to members early enough.
.@Jim_Jordan is out here pushing conspiracy theories about CNN before Cohen has even had a chance to say a single word
.@RepCummings to Republicans: "Let me say this. You made it clear that you do not want the American people to hear what Mr. Cohen has to say. But the American people have a right to hear him. So we're going to proceed. The American people can judge his credibility for themselves"
CUMMINGS on the timeline: "Cohen has provided a copy of a check sent while Trump was in office [in Aug. 2017] w/Trump's signature on it to reimburse Cohen for the hush money payment to Stormy Daniels... Six months later [in April 2018] Trump denied knowing anything about it."
CUMMINGS: "Ladies and gentlemen, the days of this committee protecting the president at all costs are over. They're over." 🔥🔥🔥
Cummings announces that Russia-related questions are in fact on the table for Cohen's testimony today, because the DOJ has no objections to it.
Jim Jordan uses his opening statement to discredit Cohen -- Trump's personal lawyer for more than a decade -- as a "fraudster" and "convicted felon" who can't be trusted.
Republicans are extremely into the rules today
Michael Cohen is sworn in
COHEN: "I recognize some of you may attack me on my credibility. It's for this reason that I have incorporated into this opening statement documents that are irrefutable & demonstrate the information you will hear is accurate & truthful"

Calls Trump a "racist, conman, & a cheat"
Cohen says he has receipts of Trump's shady financial dealings, hush payments to women during campaign, & fraud related to his foundation & academic records.

"Last time I appeared before Congress I came to protect Mr. Trump. Today, I am here to tell the truth about Mr. Trump."
COHEN: "To be clear, Trump knew of & directed the Trump Moscow negotiations throughout the campaign, & lied about it. He lied about it because he never expected to win. He also lied about it b/c he stood to make hundreds of millions of dollars. And so I lied about it too."
COHEN: "Last fall I pled guilty in federal court to felonies for the benefit of, at the direction of, and in coordination with Individual Number 1. And for the record, Individual Number 1 is President Donald J. Trump."
COHEN: "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 & build his wealth... Trump would say, 'this campaign's going to be the greatest infomercial in history.'"
Cohen talks about racist comments he heard Trump make, and says he has records of Trump "inflating his total assets when it served his purposes."
COHEN: "I am giving the committee today a copy of the $130k wire transfer from me to Ms Clifford's attorney during the closing days of the presidential campaign...I am going to jail in part because of my decision to help Trump hide that payment from the people before they voted."
Cohen says Trump asked him to handle negative press coverage of his 5 draft deferments during the campaign, then addresses Trump directly: "I find it ironic, Mr President, that you are in Vietnam right now."
Cohen says he has no direct evidence of collusion between Trump and Russia, but details an incident he recalls just before the Trump Tower meeting where Don Jr entered Trump's office and said, "the meeting is all set."
Cohen says he was contacted in 2016 by Keith Davidson, who was then the lawyer for Stormy Daniels, & entered into negotiations w/him to buy rights to Daniels' story about her affair w/Trump. Cohen says he "went straight into Trump's office" per usual "& discussed the issue w/him"
Cummings brandishes a check w/Trump's signature and says, "let me make sure I understand -- Trump wrote a check out of his personal account while he was POTUS to reimburse you for hush money payments?"

Cohen confirms that is the case.
Jim Jordan highlights tax fraud Cohen committed in recent years, and asks him if he did it to protect Trump. Cohen says he did not.

Jordan's strategy is to protect Trump by more broadly discrediting Cohen.
Jordan asks Cohen about the infamous @WomenForCohen Twitter account. Cohen says it was just meant to be fun.
Jordan closes his questioning by advancing a theory that Cohen is just bitter with Trump because he didn't get a job in the White House.
.@DWStweets: "If Trump and his daughter Ivanka and son Donald Jr. are involved in the Russian Trump Tower deal, is it possible the whole family is conflicted or compromised with a foreign adversary in the months before the election?"

COHEN: "Yes"
COHEN: "When it came to the Trump Tower Moscow project, it was worth hundreds of millions of dollars, and we never expected to win the election, so this was just business as usual."
After @RepMarkGreen goes on an angry rant, he finally gets around to asking Cohen what his source of income is. Cohen replies, "I don't expect I'm going to have a source of income when I'm in federal penitentiary."
COHEN: "There was nothing that happened at the Trump Organization... that did not go through Mr. Trump with his approval."
🚨 Cohen says there were "catch and kill" deals between AMI and Trump "long before I started working for him in 2007." 🚨
.@KYComer: "You called Donald Trump a cheat in your opening testimony. What would you call yourself?"

COHEN: "A fool"
WOW -- Cohen gets into a heated exchange with Jim Jordan after Jordan mischaracterizes his statements to portray him as a remorseless liar.

"Shame on you, Mr Jordan," Cohen says.
OMG -- @RepMarkMeadows displays a black Trump admin official, Lynne Patton, to push back on Cohen's claim that Trump is racist.

"Ask Ms Patton how many black people are executives at the Trump Organization? The answer is zero," Cohen says. 🔥
Cohen explains that Trump would artificially inflate his net worth because he wanted to steadily rise in Forbes' list of the wealthiest people
.@CongressmanHice suggests nefarious forces are secretly paying Cohen's attorney, Lanny Davis
After Hice claims that Dems just want to bring down Trump, @RepLynch says, "for 2 years, my friends on the other side of the aisle refused to bring anyone up before the committee... Your side ran away from the truth. We are trying to bring it to the American people."
COHEN: "The lies I told to Congress benefitted Trump, in furtherance of my protection of Mr Trump...I am not protecting Trump anymore...it's for exactly that reason I spent the last week searching boxes to find the information that I did so you don't have to take my word for it."
.@RepGosar tries to look really tough
Cohen refuses to commit to not writing a book, doing TV commentary, or even running for office based on his experiences with Trump
Jordan and Cohen get into it again after Jordan repeatedly cuts him off. Cohen notes that it's "interesting" how Republicans haven't asked him a single question about the president of the United States. 🤔
.@GerryConnolly questions Cohen about a White House email indicating Trump had a conversation with Cohen about his false 2017 congressional testimony just before it happened
🚨 @CongressmanRaja "Is there any other wrongdoing or illegal act regarding Donald Trump we haven't discussed today?"

COHEN: "Yes... and those are part of the investigation being looked at by the Southern District of New York."🚨
Cohen says that Trump was supposed to reimburse AMI for the $150,000 hush payment to Karen McDougal, but stiffed them.

"David Pecker was angry," he says.
COHEN: "There are ongoing investigations currently being conducted that have nothing to do with this committee or Congress that I am assisting in." 👀
Mark Meadows yells at Cohen for a bit
REP @HarleyRouda: In 2013, Trump testified that he didn't know Felix Sater. But Sater actually had an office in Trump Tower. Did Trump lie under oath?

COHEN: Yes.
Under questioning from @RepKatieHill, Cohen says that Trump called him to coordinate messaging about the hush payment to Stormy Daniels in February 2018 -- two months before Trump denied knowing anything about it.
.@RepBobGibbs is in way over his head. Yikes.
Note how @Jim_Jordan subtly mischaracterizes Cohen's statement about creating a website for Trump's presidential bid to make him look like an exaggerator. He's completely dishonest.
It's pretty lame how House Republicans keep tagging in Jordan and Meadows to ask questions for them. They aren't capable of doing it on their own?
Michael Cohen on the absurd rates the Trump International Hotel in DC was commanding during the inauguration: "Even I couldn't afford to stay there."
.@RepClayHiggins desperately tries to gin up a scandal surrounding "boxes" of evidence *that the FBI has already seized*. He then says he didn't even know who Cohen is "until today, really."

Some of these House Republicans are totally beyond parody.
Under questioning from @PeterWelch, Cohen accuses Trump of lying in January 2019 when he said he never spoke to Roger Stone about WikiLeaks during the 2016 campaign
Wow -- Cohen says that AMI is in possession of so much incriminating material about Trump, that when David Pecker was in the running to become the CEO of Time Magazine, they were worried that "somebody could open a drawer [at AMI] and find all this information."
Cohen says that he secretly recorded Trump talking about the Karen McDougal payment during the campaign because he knew that Trump wouldn't pay David Pecker back and he wanted to have receipts.
Cohen says he has never been to Prague -- a claim that, if true, refutes a key claim in the Steele Dossier
.@RepSpeier: How many times did Mr. Trump ask you to threaten an individual or entity on his behalf?

COHEN: Quite a few times.

SPEIER: 50 times?

C: More.

S: 100 times?

C: More.

S: 200 times.

C: More.

S: 500 times?

C: Probably. Over the 10 years.
LOL. @CarolMillerWV (R) suggests Congress should hold more hearings about border security, instead of wasting time trying to get to the bottom of the president's alleged criminal behavior
Cohen says he used a shell company to make the payment to Stormy Daniels because he didn't want his wife to learn about it. He adds that Trump knew about the process he was using & endorsed it b/c he wanted the payment to stay secret.

"The goal was to keep him far away from it"
Cohen says that the Trump Organization decided to reimburse him for the Daniels payment over the course of a year instead of in one shot because they wanted to "make it look like a retainer."
Republicans like @RepArmstrongND are doing a great job proving that Cohen is a bad and unethical lawyer. What they can't explain is why the president they're defending decided to employ him as his personal fixer for more than a decade.
Cohen says Trump directed him to manipulate online polls of Republican presidential contenders in 2014.

He then says that he thinks members of the Trump administration risk ending up in his situation if they follow Trump blindly, like he did.
Cohen says his previous lies to Congress weren't at Trump's direction, but were made to "stay on [the] party line."

"I knew what he wanted me to do."
LOL @RepGregSteube (R) suggests Cohen might have just made the $130,000 payment to Stormy Daniels on his own, without Trump indicating he wanted him to do it. #LikelyStory
WOW -- @RepLawrence *goes in* on Mark Meadows for citing one black Trump administration official to argue Trump can't be racist.

"To prop up one member of our entire race of black people and say that that nullifies [racist statements] is insulting," she says.
Rep. Lawrence on Trump's tweets encouraging scrutiny on Cohen's family that resulted in his testimony being delayed: "I want to be clear -- any efforts to prevent a witness from testifying in front of Congress is against the law... it's a textbook mob tactic."
.@chiproytx (R): What the American people really care about is reducing federal debt.

(Does he... does he realize it's at an all-time high following two years of total Republican control?)
.@StaceyPlaskett rebukes Republicans who keep whining that Congress isn't doing more important things than getting to the bottom of the president's crimes: "Thank God the Democratic majority can walk and chew gum at the same time." 🔥🔥🔥
.@RepArmstrongND’s latest tweet is getting ratio’d by people unhappy with his desperate defenses of Trump
This video of Trump saying he knew nothing about the Stormy Daniels hush payment is very awkward now. #CohenTestimony vox.com/2019/2/27/1824…
.@RoKhanna: With regard to the Stormy Daniels payment, are you telling us that President Trump directed a criminal conspiracy with his son & the Trump Organization to commit financial fraud?

COHEN: Yes

KHANNA: Is this being investigated by SDNY?

COHEN: I'd rather not say.
.@AOC uses her questioning time to ask follow-ups highlighting some figures in Trumpworld who could help answer questions raised by Cohen's testimony -- David Pecker and Allen Weisselberg among them
WOW -- @RashidaTlaib accuses Mark Meadows of racism for using a black Trump administration official as a prop earlier during the hearing. Meadows interrupts her to "ask that her words be taken down."
Meadows angrily accuses Tlaib of racism for calling him racist
An impromptu therapy session is breaking out here at the end of this hearing
COHEN closes with this disconcerting thought: "Given my experience working for Mr. Trump, I fear that if he loses the election in 2020, that there will never be a peaceful transition of power."
.@RepCummings' closing comments: "I live in the inner city of Baltimore, & when you call somebody a rat, that's one of the worst things you can call them, b/c when they go to prison, that means a snitch. And so the president called you a rat. We're better than that!"
CUMMINGS ends it with this: "When we're dancing w/the angels the question will be asked, 'in 2019 what did we do to make sure we kept our democracy? Did we stand on the sidelines and say nothing?'... we have got to get back to normal. And with that, this meeting is adjourned."
This woman's reaction to Cohen saying there might not be a peaceful transition of power if Trump loses next year pretty much says it all
Michael Cohen’s testimony could be bad news for Donald Trump Jr. vox.com/2019/2/27/1824…
This was the most explosive evidence presented today. An August 2017 check signed by President Trump to Cohen indicating Trump covered up an illegal campaign contribution while in office, then brazenly lied to the American people about it.
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