• Michael Cohen testifies before Congress: Live updates

    By: Debbie Lord, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

    Updated:

    Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s former personal attorney, testified before a U.S. House committee Wednesday, saying that the man he worked for for more than a decade is a racist, a conman and a cheat.

    Below are live updates from the 10-hour hearing. 

    Live updates:

    5:21 p.m. The hearing is over.

    Cummings gets the final word

    5:15 p.m. ET, Feb. 27, 2019: Cummings seems frustrated, says “We are so much better than this.” 

    Johnson adds his final statement

    5:13 p.m. ET, Feb. 27, 2019: Rep. Johnson says Cohen’s words “don’t add up.” Says this hearing was disgraceful.

    Cohen closing arguments

    5:10 p.m. ET, Feb. 27, 2019: Cohen says there will be no peaceful transfer of power if Trump does not win the 2020 election. Cohen then goes through a list of things that “you don’t do.” 

    Tlaib calls Patton a “prop”

    4:56 p.m. ET, Feb. 27 2019: Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Michigan, asks if Cohen thinks Trump is making decisions in the best interest of all Americans. He says no. Tlaib calls Lynne Patton “a prop.” Rep. Meadows brought Patton into the chamber, and angrily responds to Tlaib’s remarks. Tlaib says she was not calling Meadows a racist. She was referring to “someone.” Meadows complains to Cummings who says he knows Meadows is not a racist and that they are friends Cummings said. 

    Ocasio-Cortez is questioning Cohen

    4:46 p.m. ET, Feb. 27, 2019: Ocasio-Cortez asks if Trump ever provided inflated financial information to an insurance company. Cohen says yes. Ocasio-Cortez then asks if Trump participated in tax fraud by devaluing his golf courses to get a break on his real estate taxes.

    Cohen does not want to update his form

    4:31 p.m. ET, Feb. 27, 2019: Cohen is declining the opportunity to change a form that he signed before the hearing that requires him to disclose payments he has  received from foreign governments. Republicans claim that Cohen received money from a Kazakhstan-owned bank that he did not disclose.

    Back in session

    4:27 p.m. ET, Feb. 27, 2019: The hearing has restarted.

    Trump’s 2020 campaign responds

    4:04 p.m. ET, Feb. 27, 2019: President Trump's reelection campaign has released a statement about Cohen's testimony, calling him "a felon, a disbarred lawyer, and a convicted perjurer."

    "This is the same Michael Cohen who has admitted that he lied to Congress previously. Why did they even bother to swear him in this time?” Kayleigh McEnany, National Press Secretary, said in the statement from the campaign.

    Meadows file complaint against Cohen

    3:55 p.m. ET, Feb. 27, 2019: Rep. Meadows filed a criminal referral for Cohen on Wednesday,  claiming he violated the Foreign Agents Registration Act when he failed to disclose contacts with foreign nations.

    “I just entered a referral for criminal investigation of Michael Cohen, who violated the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) by illegally lobbying on behalf of foreign entities without registering,” Meadows tweeted Wednesday during the hearing.

    Gaetz being investigated 

    3:29 p.m. ET, Feb. 27, 2019: According to a story from The Daily Beast, Rep. Matt Gaetz, a Republican, is being investigated by the Florida state bar. Gaetz is being investigated based on a complaint from a member of the general public, the story said. The investigation into whether Gaetz violated professional conduct rules comes after he posted a tweet Tuesday night that was directed to Cohen.

    Cohen says he is worried about his family

    2:45 p.m. ET, Feb. 27, 2019: Cohen says he does not walk out in New York with his family because he fears for their safety.

    Recess for an hour

    2:33 p.m. ET, Feb. 27, 2019: The hearing is in recess for about an hour.

    What was the method used to pay Stormy Daniels?

    2:15 p.m. ET, Feb. 27, 2019: Rep. Robin Kelly, D-Illinois, asks Cohen how he paid Stormy Daniels for her silence. He said he set up an LLC because he did not want his wife to know about the $130,000 payment to Daniels. Did Trump “know you were going through this process to hide the payment?, Kelly asked. Cohen: “Yes. … We discussed it. Everything had to go through Mr Trump.”

    Armstrong confronts Cohen for recordings

    2 p.m. ET, Feb. 27, 2019: Rep. Kelly Armstrong, R-North Dakota, slams Cohen for recording clients without their consent. Cohen says it was not illegal. Armstrong says it was not ethical.

    Stormy Daniel’s statement to Cohen 

    1:50 p.m. ET, Feb. 27, 2019: Stormy Daniels had this to say to Cohen as he testifies:

    Did Trump slap Melania? Is there a love child?

    1:45 p.m. ET, Feb. 27, 2019: Cohen is asked by Rep. Jackie Speier, D-California, if there is a tape that shows Trump slapping Melania Trump while they are riding in an elevator. That is not true, Cohen says. He says he does not believe that Trump would ever strike his wife. Speier also asks if Trump has a “love child.” Cohen says that is not true.

    Cohen says Trump did know what was in the email dump

    1:41 p.m. ET, Feb. 27, 2019: Cohen tells Rep. Phillip Welch, D-Vermont, that Trump did know a dump of emails was coming from Wikileaks that had something to do with Hillary Clinton, but that Trump did not know what was in the emails.

    Where are the boxes?

    1:32 p.m. ET, Feb. 27, 2019: Rep. Clay Higgins, R-Louisiana, asks where the boxes Cohen referenced earlier in the day are. He asks that the boxes be seized. Cohen says the boxes were the ones seized by the FBI and then returned to him.  Higgins asks again about a book deal for Cohen.

    Cohen says he started Trump’s campaign

    1:20 p.m. ET, Feb. 27, 2019: Cohen tells Rep. Jordan he started a website that was the beginning of the Trump campaign for president. “You started the campaign,” Jordan asks. “I did,” Cohen said. “Wow,” Jordan said. He also asks Cohen what he talked to Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Caliornia, about prior to today’s testimony. Cohen said topics to be discussed.

    Does Cohen know of any other wrongding?

    1 p.m. ET, Feb.27, 2019: Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Illinois, asks Cohen for details on when he last spoke with Trump. Cohen answers, “Unfortunately this topic is actually something that’s being investigated right now by the Southern District of New York, and I’ve been asked by them not to discuss and not to talk about these issues.” Krishnamoorthi follows up by asking if he knows of any other wrongdoing or illegality by Trump. “Yes and again those are part of the investigation that’s currently being looked at by the Southern District of New York.”

    Meadows and Cohen go at it

    12:50 p.m. ET, Feb. 27, 2019: Rep. Meadows shouts at Cohen asking him again why he didn’t reveal he had a contract with a foreign entity. Cohen said he didn’t read have to reveal that. Meadows shouted that he did have an obligation to do that. “Were you advised to withhold your written testimony to the latest possible date?” Cohen said,  “No.” We were working on it until late.

    Will he get a reduction in sentence?

    12:45 p.m. ET, Feb. 27, 2019: Cohen says there is a chance to get a reduction in his sentences. He says there is a possiblity, if he gives prosecutors something they could use in other investigations.

    What about a book deal?

    12:30 p.m. ET Feb. 27, 2019: Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-North Carolina, asks Cohen if he will commit to not engaging in any possible book, TV or movie deals in the future. Cohen says he will not commit to that.

    Cohen says he is partially responsible for "silly" behavior

    12:15 p.m. ET, Feb. 27, 2019: Cohen said he protected Trump for a decade but decided to break with the president after Trump’s comments on Charlottesville and “watching the daily destruction of our civility. … I'm responsible for your silliness because I did the same thing that you're doing now for 10 years. I protected Mr. Trump for 10 years," he said.

    Liar, liar, ....

    12:10 p.m. ET, Feb. 27, 2019: Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Arizona, called Cohen "a pathological liar,” saying “You are a disgraced lawyer. We've been disbarred. I'm sure you remember, maybe you don't remember, duty of loyalty, duty of confidentiality, attorney-client privilege. I think the gentleman over your right side actually understands that very, very well and would do what you are doing here today. So let's go back at this credibility. You want us to make sure that we think of you as a real philanthropic icon, that you're about justice that you're the person that someone would call at three the morning. No, they wouldn't. Not at all. We saw Mr. Comer dissect you right in front of this committee you conflicted your testimony, sir. You're a pathological liar. You don't know truth from falsehood. Cohen answers, “Sir, I'm sorry. Are you referring to me or the President?” Gosar then goes on to say, “… as our mothers told us, liar, liar, pants on fire.”

    Hice asks if Cohen talked to Democrats before the hearing

    12:09 p.m. ET, Feb. 27, 2019: Jody Hice, R-Georgia, asks Cohen if he spoke to certain Democrats ahead of the hearing. Cohen says he has talked to some Democrats prior to the hearing. 

    Clay asks if Trump inflated assets

    12:01 p.m. ET, Feb. 27, 2019: William Clay, D-Missouri, asks Cohen, “Did the president ever provide inflated assets to a bank” in order to obtain a loan? Cohen says some documents were provided to Deutsche Bank to obtain a loan that he thinks were inflated.

    Meadows asks if Cohen knows Lynne Patton

    11:55 p.m. ET, Feb. 27, 2019: Rep. Mark Meadows, R-North Carolina, has Lynne Patton, a black woman who works for the Department of Housing and Urban Development, standing behind him as he questions Cohen. Meadows asks if he knows Patton. Cohen says he does. He says he got Patton a job with Trump. Meadows asks Cohen if he would be surprised that Patton said she wouldn’t work for a racist. Cohen says he is the son of a Holocaust survivor and he still worked for Trump.

    Rep. Norton asks about “Access Hollywood” video

    11:47 a.m. ET, Feb. 27, 2019: Rep. Eleanor Norton, D-D.C., asks about the “Access Hollywood” video where Trump is caught saying derogatory comments about women. She asks if Trump was upset about it. Cohen says yes and that he received a call from Hope Hicks to try to calm the reaction to the comments.

    Comer wants to know about financial crimes

    11:40 a.m. ET, Feb. 27, 2019: Rep. James Comer, R-Kentucky, is asking Cohen about his financial crimes. He asked them if they were committed to serve and protect the president. Cohen says no. Comer asks the chairman why a convicted felon was called as a witness.

    Maloney asks about catch and kill

    11:33 a.m. ET, Feb. 27, 2019: Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D- New York, asks Cohen what ‘catch and kill’ means. He says it means buying a person’s story in order to keep it from being published in any other place. 

    Green asks about Cohen’s crimes and how he got to D.C.

    11:30 a.m. ET, Feb. 27, 2019: Rep. Mark Green, R-Tennessee, lists some of Cohen’s crimes and says, “We’re asking a guy going to jail for lying about his debts to comment on the president’s debts.” He also asks Cohen who paid for his expenses to come to testify and what his source of income will be in the future. Cohen says he won’t earn money in prison. Green asks if he has a book deal. Cohen says no. Green yields time back to Rep. Jordan who asks how many times did he speak to the special counsel’s office. Cohen said he spoke to them seven times.

    Wasserman Schultz asks if Trump colluded with Russia

    11:16 a.m. ET, Feb. 27, 2019: Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Florida, asks Cohen if Trump colluded with Russia to win the election. Cohen says he wouldn’t call it collusion, but that “Mr Trump’s desire to win would have him work with anyone ... We never expected to win the election.” 

    Wasserman Schultz asked Cohen if there was a reason to believe that Trump’s family was conflicted with a foreign adversary before the 2016 election, Cohen replied: "Yes."

    Jordan to Cohen: “Did you lie to protect Donald Trump or yourself?”

    11:04 a.m. ET, Feb. 27, 2019: Jordan begins his questioning of Cohen by reading a statement Cohen made, threatening someone on behalf of Trump. Jordan asks if Cohen did that to protect the president? Cohen says yes, he did it to protect Trump and his children. Jordan asks if when he filed false tax returns if Cohen was doing it out of blind loyalty to Trump.  

    Cummings says lying will not be tolerated

    11 a.m. ET, Feb. 27, 2019: Cummings warns Cohen not to lie to the committee.

    Trump knew of dirt on Hillary Clinton

    10:58 a.m., ET, Feb. 27, 2019: Cohen says Trump knew members of his campaign met with a Russian offering materal that would hurt Hillary Clinton.

    “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 Mr. Trump’s desk to talk to him,” Cohen says.

    “I recalled 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, ‘Ok good…let me know.’”

    Trump is a conman, Cohen says 

    10:55 a.m. ET, Feb. 27, 2019: Cohen: “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.

    I am giving the Committee today a copy of the $130,000 wire transfer from me to Ms. Clifford’s attorney 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. 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 ...”

    Trump is a racist, Cohen says 

    10:46 a.m. ET, Feb. 27, 2019: Cohen: “Mr. Trump is a racist. The country has seen Mr. Trump court white supremacists and bigots. You have heard him call poorer countries “sh--holes.” 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 “sh--hole.” This was when Barack Obama was President of the United States. 

    “While we were once 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.”

    He knew about the email drop, Cohen says

    10:41 a.m. ET, Feb. 27, 2019: Cohen: “A lot of people have asked me about whether Mr. Trump knew about the release of the hacked Democratic National Committee emails ahead of time. The answer is yes. 

    “ As I earlier stated, 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. Mr. Stone told Mr. Trump that he had just gotten off the phone with Julian Assange and that Mr. Assange told Mr. Stone that, within a couple of days, there would be a massive dump of emails that would damage Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Mr. Trump responded by stating to the effect of “wouldn’t that be great.” 

    ‘The greatest infomercial in history’ 

    10:39 a.m. ET, Feb. 27, 2019: Cohen testifies: “Over time, I saw his true character revealed. Mr. 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, and since taking office, he has become the worst version of himself. ... “Mr. Trump would often say, this campaign was going to be the “greatest infomercial in political history.” 

    He lied because he believed Trump wanted him to

    10:35 a.m. ET, Feb. 27, 2019: Cohen says he lied to Congress about the Trump Tower deal in Moscow. He said he was not directly told to lie by Trump, but that that was not how Trump did business. He said he knew what Trump expected him to do. Cohen said Trump knew of and directed Trump Tower negotiations during the campaign because he never expected to win the presidency.

    Buying his own portrait 

    10:30 a.m. ET, Feb. 27, 2019: Cohen says Trump asked him to get a bidder to purchase a large portrait of Trump himself for $60,000. Trump repaid the bidder, Cohen said, with money from Trump’s charitable foundation. Trump kept the portrait, Cohen said.

    Cohen is being sworn in

    10:25 a.m. ET Feb. 27, 2019: Cohen is sworn in and is reading his opening statement. You can read the opening statment here.

    Jordan attacks Cummings

    10:22 a.m. ET, Feb. 27, 2019: Rep. Jim Jordan immediately attacks Cummings for holding the hearing. Jordan calls it the “Michael Cohen hearing presented by Lanny Davis.” Davis is Cohen’s attorney. Jordan continues to slam Cohen calling him a liar. Cohen shakes his head at Jordan. 

    Russia is back in the hearing

    10:18 a.m. ET, Feb. 27, 2019: Cummings announces that Cohen can answer questions about Russian collusion. There had been an agreement before the hearing to avoid comments about the question of Russian collusion.

    Cummings gives his statement

    10:15 a.m. ET, Feb. 27, 2019: Cummings is moving on with the hearing after the call to postpone is voted down. Cummings is giving his opening statement which is laying out what Cohen is expected to testify to.

    The hearing is beginning

    10:02 a.m. ET, Feb. 27, 2019: Comittee Chairman Elijah Cummings gavels the hearing to order. Rep. Mark Meadows, R-North Carolina, immediate calls for the hearing to be postponed because members of the committee did not get Cohen’s testimony and evidence 24 hours in advance.

    Cohen has entered the hearing room

    10 a.m. ET, Feb. 27, 2019: Cohen has come into the room and is making his way to his seat.

    What does Roger Stone say?

    9:50 a.m. ET, Feb. 27, 2019: What does Stone say about Cohen’s opening statement released late Tuesday? According to CNN, Stone says Cohen “is not telling the truth.”

    Who is on the committee?

    9:48 a.m. ET, Feb. 27, 2019: Here’s a list of the members of the Oversight Committee:

    Democrats

    Elijah Cummings, Maryland, Chairman

    Carolyn Maloney, New York

    Eleanor Holmes Norton, District of Columbia

    Lacy Clay, Missouri

    Stephen F. Lynch, Massachusetts

    Jim Cooper, Tennessee

    Gerry Connolly, Virginia

    Raja Krishnamoorthi, Illinois

    Jamie Raskin, Maryland

    Harley Rouda, California

    Katie Hill, California, Vice Chair

    Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Florida

    John Sarbanes, Maryland

    Peter Welch, Vermont

    Jackie Speier, California

    Robin Kelly, Illinois

    Mark DeSaulnier, California

    Brenda Lawrence, Michigan

    Stacey Plaskett, U.S. Virgin Islands

    Ro Khanna, California

    Jimmy Gomez, California

    Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, New York

    Ayanna Pressley, Massachusetts

    Rashida Tlaib, Michigan

    Republicans

    Jim Jordan, Ohio, Ranking Member

    Justin Amash, Michigan

    Paul Gosar, Arizona

    Virginia Foxx, North Carolina

    Thomas Massie, Kentucky

    Mark Meadows, North Carolina

    Jody Hice, Georgia

    Glenn Grothman, Wisconsin

    James Comer, Kentucky

    Michael Cloud, Texas

    Bob Gibbs, Ohio

    Clay Higgins, Louisiana

    Ralph Norman, South Carolina

    Chip Roy, Texas

    Carol Miller, West Virginia

    Mark E. Green, Tennessee

    Kelly Armstrong, North Dakota

    Greg Steube, Florida

    The room is beginning to fill up

    9:39 a.m. ET, Feb. 27, 2019: Members of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee are beginning to take their seats in the hearing room. 

    Gaetz tweets, deletes comments aimed at Cohen 

    8:58 a.m. ET, Feb. 27, 2019: Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Florida, apologized last night for a tweet suggesting Cohen had been unfaithful to his wife.

    Gaetz posted the tweet Tuesday afternoon, but then deleted it and apologized to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California.

    The tweet read: “Hey @MichaelCohen212 - Do your wife & father-in-law know about your girlfriends?” Gaetz tweeted. “Maybe tonight would be a good time for that chat. I wonder if she’ll remain faithful when you’re in prison. She’s about to learn a lot…”

    The apology read: "While it is important 2 create context around the testimony of liars like Michael Cohen, it was NOT my intent to threaten, as some believe I did," Gaetz tweeted. "I’m deleting the tweet & I should have chosen words that better showed my intent. I’m sorry."

    Cohen arrives on Capitol Hill

    8:43 a.m. ET, Feb. 27, 2019: Cohen has arrived at the Capitol in advance of his testimony that is set to begin at 10 a.m.

    Cohen says he ‘looks forward’ to testimony 

    8:38 a.m. ET, Feb. 27, 2019: Cohen told reporters shortly after his closed-door Senate testimony ended on Tuesday, "I really appreciate the opportunity that was given to me to clear the record and to tell the truth.

    "And I look forward to tomorrow to being able to in my voice to tell the American people my story and I'm going to let the American people decide exactly who is telling the truth.”

    Trump tweets

    7:40 a.m. ET, Feb. 27, 2019: Trump has tweeted about Cohen from his summit with Kim Jong Un in Vietnam.

    Cohen opening statement released 

    11:40 p.m. ET, Feb. 26, 2019: The U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform has released Cohen’s opening statement. In it, Cohen says he will provide documents that he says prove Trump committed “illicit” acts and that his former boss is a racist and a conman.

    AP Photo/Alex Brandon

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