Michael Cohen's Opening Statement to the House Oversight Committee

Automatic TRANSCRIPT

Hi, everyone June Thomas here. We know that many slate podcast listeners were at work during Michael Cohen testimony before the house oversight committee today. So we're going to bring it to you in podcast form. I we're bringing you Coen's opening testimony and the wrangling that preceded it and when the hearings are over will provide the entire day's proceedings. Enjoy testimony Michael Cohen, former attorney President Donald Trump. Mr Chairman, I have a point of order you'll fade your own rule. F- real rule nine f of the committee rules say that any testimony from your witness needs to be here. Twenty four hours in advance the committee, the chairman knows well that at ten eight we receive the written testimony, and then we were seved evidence this morning at seven fifty four. Now, this was just an oversight. Mr chairman. I I could. Look beyond it. But it was an intentional effort by this witness and his advisors to once again show, his disdain for this body. And with that I move that we postpone this hearing. Thank you, gentlemen. Let me say that said we got the testimony late last night. We did. And we got it. You all. I pretty much the same time that we got it. I want to move forward with this hearing, Mr Chairman with all due respect. Mr chairman. This is a violation of the rule. And if it was not intentional. I would I would not have a problem. I'm not saying it was intentional on your part. I'm saying is intangible on his part because Mr. dean last night on Cable News Network, actually made it all very evident. John dean, and I'll quote, Mr Chairman, he said as a former committee council in the House Judiciary committee, and then a long-term witness sitting alone at the table is import quote, holding your statement as long as you can. So the other side can't chew it up is is important as well close quote. And so so it was advised that are witness got for this particular body. And Mr Chairman when. You were in the minority. You wouldn't have stood for it? And I can tell you that we should not stand for it as a body. Let me say that. But let me say this chairman. Yes. Eighty two table chairman. The second issue chairman, Mr Chairman, I was asked to be recognized before the motion voted so in tabling the motion unit who had this material before all the members of the committees me CNN had it before. It had the exert before. We did. Yeah. Well, the vote is when tabling the motion to postpone all in favor say Aye, all opposed say, no the eyes have it. And I appeal the ruling of the chair. Yes. I I I can assure you it's in the rules. I appeal the ruling of the chair do the rules matter, Mr Chairman. Gentle eighty. Waive the rules. His motion. Airman mode is devote. She made two motions. What's the motion? The vote is one tabling I moved to table the appeal to the ruling of the chair. Vote is is on that all in favor. Say Aye all oppose say, no dies Avak. I asked for I asked for a recorded vote. Miss chairman, very well. The clerk. We'll call the roll. Mister cummings. Yes. Mr coming. Yes. Mr. Maloney, miss Maloney, votes. Yes. Miss norton. Miss Norton votes. Yes. Mr. Klay, Mr. Klay votes. Yes. Mr. Lynch, Mr. Lynch votes. Yes. Mr. Cooper, Mr. Kuba votes. Yes. Mr. Connelly, Mr. Connelly votes. Yes. Mr. Krishnamurti, Mr. Krishnan were-they votes. Yes. Mr. Raskin, Mr. Raskin votes. Yes. Mr. Rueda, Mr. Roosevelt's. Yes. Miss hill. Miss hill votes. Yes. Miss Wasserman Schultz, miss Wasserman Schultz votes. Yes. Mr. Sarbanes, Mr. Sarbanes votes. Yes. Mr. Welsh, Mr. Welsh votes. Yes. Miss spear MS spear votes. Yes. Miskelly Miskelly votes. Yes. Mr. Sonya, Mr. just Sonya votes. Yes. Miss Lawrence, Mr. Lawrence, misl- aren't votes. Yes. Miss get miss Plaskitt votes. Yes. Mr. Khanna mis-, mister Khanna votes. Yes. Mr. Gomez, Mr. Gomez votes. Yes. Mr. Garcia Cortez. Miss the cost. Cortez votes. Yes. Miss Presley, MS Presley votes. Yes. Miss to leave Mr Lee votes. Yes. Mr. Jordan, Mr. Jordan votes. No, MR Marsh, Mr. mosh votes. No, MR gosar, Mr. gosar votes. No miss. Fox miss FOX votes. No mis- mister Massey. Mr. Massey votes. No, MR meadows, Mr. medals votes. No, MR high slow, Mr. heist votes. No, MR graffman. Oh, Mr. graffman votes. No, MR Comber, go, Mr. coma votes. No, MR cloud. Mr. cloud votes. No, mister, Gibbs mister Gibbs votes. No, MR Higgins, Mr. Norman, Mr. Norman votes. No, MR ROY, Mr. ROY votes. No, miss Miller. Miss Miller votes. No, mister, green mister green votes. No, MR Armstrong, Mr. Armstrong votes. No, MR stupi, Mr. Steuben votes. No. On this vote. We have twenty four. Yes is seventeen knows. Motion to table is agreed to let me say this. You've made it clear that you do not want the American people to hear what Mr. Cohen answer saying. But the American people have a right to take your him. So we're going to proceed American people can judge his credibility for themselves. Now. Yes. We did not say that we just had. We wanted to follow the rules. We had he didn't say stop the hearing just said postponent, so we can get his testimony and the exhibits when we were supposed to get them. According to the rules of this committee. That's always said we didn't say we didn't want to hear from the guy we claiming Montale the rule requiring me much now recognize myself for five minutes to give an opening statement. Today. The committee will hear the testimony a Michael Cohen. President Donald Trump's longtime personal attorney and one of his closest and most trusted advisers over the last decade. August twenty first Mr. coin appeared in federal court and admitted to arranging secret. Hey, offs of hundreds of thousands of dollars when the eve of the election to silence women, alleging affairs with Donald Trump. Mr. Cohen admitted to violating campaign, finance laws and other laws. Get netted to committing these felonies quote in coordination with and at the direction of unquote, President Trump. And he admitted admitted lying about his actions to protect the president. Some will certainly ask if Mr. coin with lying, then why should we believe in now? This is a legitimate question as a trial lawyer for many years I faced this situation over and over again. And I asked the same question. Here is how I view our own. Every one of us in this room has a duty to serve as an independent check on the executive branch. Ladies and gentlemen, we are in search of the truth. The president has made many statements of his own. And now the American people have a right. To hear the side. They can watch Mr. Cohen's testimony and make their own judgment. We received a copy of Mexico and written statement late last night. It includes not only personal eyewitness accounts of meetings with Donald Trump as president inside the Oval Office. But it also includes documents. And other corroborating evidence for some of Mr. coin statements. Example, Mr. Cohen has provided a copy of a check sent while President Trump was in office. With Donald Trump's signature on it. To reimburse mystical and. Hush money payment. Me daniels. This is new this new evidence raises. A host of troubling legal and ethical concerns about the president's actions in the White House and before. We'd go close that door. Please. Thank you. This second day. August I watch each seventeen. Six months later. In April of two thousand eighteen the president denied anything about it. In April twenty eighteen. President Trump with flying on air Air Force One. When a reporter asked them the question. Did you know about one hundred and fifty thousand dollar payment to stormy Daniels? The answer was quote, no. A month after that the president admitted to making payments to midst coin but claim they were part of a quote, a monthly retain a quote for legal services. This claim fell apart in August. When federal prosecutors looted, and I quote in truth it, in fact. There was no such retainer agreement and the quote. Today. We we will also hear Mr. coins account. A meeting in two thousand sixteen Donald Trump's office during which Roger stone's said over speakerphone. And he had just spoken with Julian Assange who said there would be a quote massive dump of emails that would damage Hillary Clinton's campaign and the quote, according to coin MRs Trump replied, quote, wouldn't that be great, and quote that the testimony that Michael Cohen will provide today, ladies and gentlemen, is deeply disturbing disturbing. And it should be troubling to all Americans. We all have to make our own evaluation of the evidence, and Mr. Cohen's credibility. S? He admits he has repeatedly lied in the past. I agree with ranking member Jordan that this is an important factor. We need to weigh. What we must weigh it. And we must hear from him. Where I disagree fundamentally with the ranking member involves his efforts to prevent the American people from hearing from his colon. Mr. Cohen testimony raises questions about the legality Donald Trump's president Donald Trump's conduct and the truthfulness of statements while he was president. We need to assess an investigate this new evidence as we have hold are concentrated on scissors. Oversight responsibilities and we will continue after today together. More documents and testimony in our search for the truth. I made it abundantly clear to Mr. coin that if he comes here today, and he does not tell him the truth. Tell us the drew. I will be the first one. So refer that does untruthful sabres DOJ. So when people say he doesn't have anything to lose. He does have a lot to lose. If you lies and the American people, by the way, voted for accountability in November. They have a right to give us a coin in public. So they can make their own judgments, Mr. Cohen Sesa Mony is the beginning of the process. Not the end, ladies and gentlemen. The days of this committee protecting the president at all costs over there over before I close I want to comment about the scope of today's hearing at the request of the house intelligence committee. My very good friend, Adam Schiff. Airman? I intended over the objections of the ranking member of our committee to limit to slow from today's hearing to avoid questions about Russia. I'll ever. Mr. Cohen written testimony in his ridden. Those of he's made statements relating to Russia, and these are topics that we understand do not raise concern from the department of Justice. So in fairness to the ranking member and all committee members, we will not restrict questions relating to the witnesses testimony or related questions. He is willing to answer. Finally. I remind members that we will need to be made mindful of those areas where there are ongoing department of Justice investigations those scoping. Limitations have not seines. Finally. And to miss the colon. King. Mr. coin said. Words that I leave with you today before you testify. He said faith. Taking the first step. Even when you can't see the whole staircase. There comes a time when silence. Becomes betrayal. Allies began to end the day. We become silent about things that truly matter in the end. He says we will remember not the words of our enemies, but Desailly. Silence. Of our friends and with that I yield to the thing when Doman the ranking member of our committee, Mr. Jordan, Mr Chairman point of parliamentary inquiry, yes to the to the points. Visit join me recognize. Mr. Gordon is recognized for naming mister chairman here we go. Here we go your first big hearing your first announce witness Michael Cohen when everyone in this room to think about this the first announce witness for the hundred and sixteenth, congress is a guy who is going to prison in two months for lying to congress. Mr Chairman, your chairmanship will always be dented fide with this hearing. And we all need to understand what this is. This is the Michael Cohen hearing presented by Lanny Davis. That's right. Lanny Davis choreographed the whole darn thing the Clintons best friend loyalists operative. Lanny Davis put this all together. You know, how we know he told her staff he told the committee staff, he said, the hearing was his idea he selected this committee. He had to talk Michael Cohen into common. And most importantly, he had to persuade the chairman to actually have it. He told us took two months to get that job done. But here we are. He talked him into it. This might be the first time. Someone convicted of lying to congress has appeared again so quickly in front of congress. Certainly it's the first time a convicted perjurer has been brought back to be a star witness in a hearing. And there's a reason this is the first because no other committee would do it think about this with Mr. Cohen here this committee. We got lots of lawyers on this committee. This committee is actually encouraging a witness to violate attorney client privilege. Mr Chairman, we legitimize dishonesty, we de-legitimize this institution. We're supposed to pursue the truth. But you have stacked the deck against the truth. We're only allowed to ask certain questions even with that amendment. You just told us about Russia's now on the table. You initially told us we can't ask questions about the special counsel. Kenneth ask questions about southern district of New York. Can't ask questions about Russia. Nope. Nope. Only subjects. We can talk about are ones. You think are going to be harmful to the president of the United States and the answers to those questions. Are gonna come from a guy who can't be trusted. Here's what the US attorney said about Mr. Cohen. Mr. cone enjoyed a privileged life his desire for ever, greater wealth and influence precipitated. An extensive course of criminal conduct. Mr. Cohen committed four four distinct federal crimes over a period of several years. He was motivated to do. So by personal greed and repeatedly repeatedly used his power and influence for deceptive ins, but the Democrats don't care. They don't care. They just wanna use you Mr. Cohen, you're their Patsy today. They gotta find somebody somewhere to say something. So they can try to remove the president from office. 'cause Tom Starr told him to Tom style last week organized town hall guess where chairman Nadler's district in Manhattan, two nights ago. Tom star organized a town hall guess where chairman Cummings district in Baltimore. The best. They can find the best. They can find to start this process. Michael Cohen fraudster cheat convicted felon and in two months federal inmate. Well, actually, they didn't find him any Davis founding. I'll say one thing about the Democrats they stick to the playbook. Remember, remember, how all this started the Clinton campaign hired Perkins. QE law firm who hired Glenn Simpson who hired a foreigner. Christopher Steele who put together the fake dossier that the FBI used to go get a warrant to spy on the Trump campaign, but when that whole scheme failed and the American people said we're gonna make Donald Trump president. They said we got to do something else. So now Clinton loyalists Clinton operative. Lanny Davis has persuaded the chairman of the oversight committee to give a convicted felon a. Forum just tell stories and lie about the president of the United States. So they can all start their impeachment process. Mr Chairman, we are better than this. We are better than this. I you back. Actually, I wanted to know the chairman actually I want. I I have a motion. I have a motion. Those motion under rule two K six of rule Baxter yielded back. Mr. Chairman. You took seven minutes. I took four times the gentleman yield it back. That's how you could operate. I you don't follow the rules. And now, you're going to say you, so you don't get you get you. From the rules. Water. I just have a simple motion. Mr chairman. Thank you. It's one quarter. They have the testimony twenty four hours in advance. Excuse me. I wanted to know dress down to rule eleven costs for all media and photographers must be officially credential to record these proceedings and take photographs also wanted to briefly address spectators in the hearing room today. We welcome you. And we respect your right to be here. We also asked intern for your respect as we proceed with the business of the committee today, it is the intention of the committee chip proceed without any disruptions. Any disruptions of this committee will result in the United States capitol police restoring order, and that protesters will be removed, and we are grateful for your presence here today in your operation. Now, I want to welcome Mr. Cohen and thank him for participating in today's hearing, Mr.. Orion going if you would please rise, and I will begin just where you in. Raise your right hand. Do you swear or firm that the testimony that you are about to give is a whole true? And nothing but the truth so help you God. That record show that the widgets answered in the affirmative and thank you, and you may be seated the microphones are sensitive, so please speak directly into them without objection. Your written statement will be made a part of the record with that. Mr. coin, you anelle recognize to give an oral presentation of your testimony. Mike one. Yes. Chairman Cummings ranking member Jordan and members of the committee. Thank you for inviting me here today. I had this this committee to ensure that my family be protected from presidential threats, and that the committee be sensitive to the questions pertaining to ongoing investigations, I 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. And to offer the American people what I know about President 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. 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 two thousand seven to work for Donald Trump that he would one day run for the presidency to launch a campaign on a platform of hate and intolerance and actively win. 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 publicly accepted responsibility for them by pleading guilty in the southern district of New York. I am ashamed of my weakness and my misplaced loyalty of the things. I did for Mr. Trump in an effort to protect and promote him. I am shamed. That I chose to take part in concealing, Mr. Trump's illicit axe rather than listening to my own conscience. I am ashamed. Because I know what Mr. Trump is. He is a racist. He's a con, man. And he is a cheat. He was a presidential candidate. Who knew that? Roger stone was talking with Julian Assange about a Wiki leaks drop on Democratic National Committee. Emails I will explain each few moments. I am providing the committee today with several documents. And these include it copy of a check Mr. 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 to prevent damage to his campaign. Copies of financial statements from twenty eleven twenty twelve and twenty thirteen that he gave to such institutions such as Deutsche Bank. A copy of an article with Mr. Trump's handwriting on it that reported on the auction of a portrait of himself. That he arranged for the bitter ahead of time. And then reimbursed the bidder from the account of his nonprofit charitable foundation with the picture now hanging in one of his country clubs. And copies of letters. I wrote at Mr. Trump's direction that threatened his high school colleges, and the college board not to release his grades or SAT scores. 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 our president better. And before going further. I want to apologize to each member to US Congress as a whole. The last time I appeared before congress I came to protect Mr. Trump today. I am here to tell the truth about Mr. Trump. I lied to congress when Mr. Trump stop negotiating the Moscow tower project in Russia. I stayed that we stopped to go sheeting in January of twenty sixteen that was false our negotiations continued for months later during the campaign. Mr. Trump did not directly tell me to lie to congress. That's not how he operates. In conversations we had during the campaign at the same time. I was actively negotiating in Russia for him. He would look me in the eye and tell me there's no Russian business and then go on to 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 a dozen times between the Iowa caucus in January of two thousand sixteen and the end of June. When he would ask me, how's it going in Russia referring to the Moscow tower project? You need to know that Mr. Trump's personal lawyers reviewed and edited my statement to congress about the timing of the Moscow tower negotiations before I gave it so to be clear. 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. He also lied about it because he stood to make hundreds of millions of dollars on the Moscow real estate project. And so I lied about it too. Because Mr. Trump had made clear to me to his personal statements to me that we both knew to be false and through his lies to the country that he wanted me to lie, and he made it clear to me because his personal attorneys reviewed my statement before I gave it to congress. Over the past two years. I have been spirit as a rat by the president of the United States. The truth is much different. And let me take a brief moment to introduce myself. My name is Michael dean Cohen, and I am a blessed husband of twenty four years and a father to an incredible daughter and son when I married my wife, I promised her that I would love her I would cherish her. And I would protect her as my father said countless times throughout my childhood, you my wife, and you might children of the air that I breathe. So to my Laura into my Sammy to my Jake. There's 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 in me since childhood. 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. And that is why my first instinct has always been to help those in need and mom and dad. I am sorry. I let you down. As the many people that know me best would say, I am the person that they call it three A M if they needed help I proudly remember being emergency contact from 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 yet last fall, I plead guilty in federal court to felonies for the benefit of at the direction of an incarnation with individual number one. And for the record individual number one is president Donald J Trump. It is painful to admit that I was motivated by 'em Bishen times. 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 Donald Trump that I was willing to do things for him that I knew were absolutely wrong for that reason. I have come here to apologize to my family to my government and to the American people. Accordingly. Let me now tell you about Mr. Trump. I got to know him very well working very closely with him for more than ten years as his executive vice president and special counsel. And then as personal attorney when he became president. When I first met, Mr. Trump, he was a successful entrepreneur a real estate giant and then icon being around. Mr. 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. 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. Shortly thereafter, Mr. Trump brought me into his personal life and private dealings over time. I saw his true character revealed. Mr. Trump is an enigma. He is complicated as Emo. Moi? Here's both good in bed. As do we all, but the bed far outweighs the good and since taking office, he has become the worst version of himself. He is capable of behaving kindly, but he's not kind. He's capable of committing acts of generosity, but he's not generous. He's capable of being loyal. But he's fundamentally disloyal. Donald Trump is a man who ran for office to make his brain 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. Mr. 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. I knew early on in my work for Mr. Trump that he would direct me to lie to further his business interests. And I am shamed. To say that when was for a real estate mogul in the private sector? I considered a trivial as the president. I consider it significant and dangerous, but in the mix lying for Mr. Trump was normalized, and no one around him questioned it in fairness, no one around him today. Questions of either. Lot of people have asked me about whether Mr. Trump knew about the release of the documents Democratic National Committee, Email ahead of time. And the answer is. Yes, as I earlier stated, Mr. Trump new from Roger stone in advance about the WikiLeaks drop of emails in July of twenty sixteen days before the democratic convention. I was in Mr. Trump's office when his secretary announced the Roger stone was on the phone. Mr. Trump, Mr. stone on the speakerphone, Mr. stone told Mr. Trump that he had just gotten off the phone with Julian Assange, and that Mr. Stange 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 when that be great. Mr. Trump is a racist. The country has seen Mr. Trump court white supremacists and bigots you have heard him call poorer countries shit holes his private in private. He is even worse. He once asked me if I can name a country run by a black person that wasn't a shit hole. This was when Barack Obama was president of the United States. And while we were once driving through 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. Mr. Trump is a cheat. As previously stated I'm giving to the committee today. Three years of Mr. Trump's personal financial statements from twenty eleven twenty twelve and twenty thirteen which he gave to Deutsche Bank to inquire about a loan to buy the Buffalo Bills and two forms. These are exhibits one a one b and one c to my testimony. It was my experience that Mr. Trump inflated his total assets when it served his purposes such as trying to be listed amongst the wealthiest people in forms and deflated his assets to reduce his real estate taxes. I'm sharing with you to newspaper articles side-by-side that are examples of Mr. Trump inflating and deflating his assets as I said to suit his financial interests, these are exhibit to to my testimony. As I noted I'm giving the committee today in article he wrote on and sent to me that reported on an auction of a portrait of Mr. Trump. This is exhibit three eight to my testimony. Mr. Trump directed me to find a Strobe bidder to purchase a portrait of him that was being auctioned off at an art Hamptons event. The objective was to ensure that this portrait which was going to be auctioned last would go for the highest price of any portrait that afternoon. The portrait was purchased by the fake bidder for sixty thousand dollars Mr. Trump directed the Trump foundation, which is supposed to be a charitable organization to repay the fake bitter despite keeping the art for himself, and please see exhibit three B to my testimony. And it should come. As no surprise that. One of my more common responsibilities. Was that Mr. Trump directed me to call business owners, many of whom are small businesses that were owed money for their services and told them that no payment or reduce payment would becoming when I asked Mr. Trump, or when I told Mr. Trump of my success, he actually revelled in it. And yet I continued to work for him. Mr. Trump is a con, man. He asked me to pay off an adult film star with whom he had an affair and to lie about it to his wife, which I did and lying to the first lady is one of my biggest regrets because she is kind good person. And I respect her greatly. And she did not deserve that. And I'm giving the committee today a copy of the one hundred thirty thousand dollar wire transfer from me to miss Clifford's attorney during the closing days of the presidential campaign. That was demanded by miss Clifford to maintain her silence about her affair with Mr. Trump, and this is exhibit four to my testimony. Mr. Trump directed me to use my own personal funds from the home equity line of credit to avoid any money being traced back to him that could negatively impact his campaign, and I did that too without bothering to consider whether that was improper much less weather. It was the right thing to do. Or how would it impact me my family or the public, and I am going to jail in part because of my decision to help Mr. Trump hide that payment from the American people before they voted a few days later. As exhibit five eighty to my testimony shows, I am providing a copy of a thirty five thousand dollar check that President Trump personally signed from his personal Bank account on August, first of twenty seventeen when he was president of the United States pursuant to the cover up, which was the basis of my guilty. Plea to reimburse me the word used by Mr. Trump's TV lawyer for the illegal hush money. I paid on his behalf this thirty five thousand dollar. Check was one of eleven check installments that was paid throughout the year while he was president other checks to reimburse me for the hush money payments were signed by Donald Trump junior and Alan Weisselberg and see for that example, five eight. 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, and you can find the details of that scheme directed by Mr. Trump in the pleadings in the US district court for the southern district of New York. So picture this scene in February of twenty seventeen one month into his presidency and visiting President Trump in the Oval Office for the first time, and it's truly awe inspiring. He's showing me all around and pointing to different paintings. And he says to me something to the effect of don't worry. Michael your January and February reimbursement checks are coming. They were FedEx from New York. And it takes a while for that to get through the White House system as he promised I received the first check for the reimbursement of seventy thousand dollars. Not long thereafter. 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 as I mentioned, I'm giving the committee today copies of a letter. I sent at Mr. Trump's direction threatening these schools with civil and criminal actions, if Mr. Trump's grades or SAT scores wherever disclosed without his permission in these are under exhibit, see six. The irony wasn't lost on me at the time that Mr. Trump into twenty eleven had strongly criticized President Obama for not releasing his grades as you can see in exhibit seven Mr. Trump declared let him show his records after calling President Obama a terrible student. 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. When telling me in two thousand and eight or two thousand nine that he was cutting employees salaries in half, including mine, he showed me what he claims a ten million dollar IRS tax refund. And he said that he could not believe how stupid the government was forgiving. Someone like him that much money back. During the campaign. Mr. Trump said that he did not consider Vietnam veteran and prisoner of war. Senator John McCain to be a hero because he likes people who weren't captured at the same time. Mr. Trump tasked me to handle too negative press surrounding his medical deferment from the Vietnam draft. Mr. Trump claimed it was because of a bone spur. But when I asked for better call records, he gave me none and said that there was no surgery. He told me not to answer the specific questions by reporters. But rather offer simply the fact that he received a medical deferment. He finished the conversation the following comment. You think I'm stupid not going to Vietnam? And I find it ironic STA president that you are in Vietnam right now. And yet I continued to work for him. Questions have been raised about whether I know direct evidence that Mr. Trump or his campaign colluded with Russia. I do not. And I wanna be clear, but I have my suspicions. Some time in the summer of twenty seventeen. I read all over the media that there had been a meeting in Trump Tower in June of twenty sixteen involving Don jR, and others from the campaign with Russians including irreparably entity of of the Russian government and an Email setting up the meeting with the subject line dirt on Hillary Clinton, something clicked in my mind, I remembered being in a room with Mr. Trump probably in early June of two thousand sixteen when something peculiar happened. Don, Trump junior came into the room and walked behind his father's desk, which in and of itself was unusual. People didn't just walk behind Mr. Trump's desk to talk to him. And I recall, Don, jR, leave leaning over to his father and speaking in a low voice, which I could clearly here and saying the meeting is all set. And I remember Mr. Trump saying, okay, good. Let me know. What struck me as I look back and thought about the exchange between Don junior, and his father was first that Mr. Trump had frequently told me and others that his son Don, jR, had the worst judgment of anyone in the world. And also that Don jR, would never set up any meeting of significance alone. And certainly not without checking with his father. I also knew. That nothing went on in Trump world, especially the campaign without Mr. Trump's knowledge and approval. So I concluded that Don, jR, was referring to that June twenty sixteen Trump Tower meeting about dirt on Hillary with the Russian representatives when he walked behind his dad's desk that day, and that Mr. Trump knew that was the meeting Don, jR, was talking about when he said, that's good. Let me know. Over the past year or so. I have done some real soul searching, and I see now that my end Bishen and the intoxication of Trump power had much to do with the bed decisions in part that I made and to you chairman Cummings ranking member Jordan, the other members of this committee, the members of the house and Senate. I am sorry for my lies and for lying to congress and 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 questioned my motives for being here today. I understand I have lied, but I am not a liar, and I have done bad things. But I am not a bad, man. I have fixed things, but I am no longer your fixer, Mr. Trump. And I'm going to prison and of shattered the safety and security that I tried so hard to provide for my family. My testimony certainly does not diminish the pain that I have caused my family, and my friends nothing can do that. And I have never asked for nor would I accept a pardon from President Trump. And by coming today, I have caused my family to be the target of personal scurrilous attacks by the president and his lawyer trying to intimidate me from the peering 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. As exhibit h shows, I have provided the committee with copies of tweets that Mr. Trump posted attacking me and my family and only someone burning his head in the sand. When not recognize them for what they are encouragement to someone to do harm to me and my family. I never imagined that he would engage in vicious force attacks on my family and unleash his TV lawyer to do the same, and I hope this committee and all members of congress on both sides of the I'll make it clear that as a nation. We should not tolerate attempts to intimidate witnesses before congress and attacks on family are out of bounce and not acceptable. I wished with specially thanks speaker Pelosi for her statements, and it's exhibit nine to protect this institution and me and the chairman of the house, permanent select committee on intelligence, Adam Schiff, and you Chinon Cummings for likewise defending the institution and my family against the attacks by Mr. Trump and also the many Republicans who have admonished the president as well. 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 that I set from my children and 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, and I thank you for your attention and happy to answer the committee's questions.

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