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Michael Cohen Testifies Before Congress; President Trump Meets With Kim Jong-un. Aired 4-4:30p ET

Aired February 27, 2019 - 16:00   ET




MICHAEL COHEN, FORMER ATTORNEY/FIXER FOR DONALD TRUMP: I am ashamed because I know what Mr. Trump is.

He is a racist, he is a con man, and he is a cheat.


JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Cohen trying to lay out his recollections on several key points, such as the hush money payment to Stormy Daniels and other so-called catch-and-kill stories, also what President Trump may have known about the now infamous WikiLeaks e-mail dump targeting Democrats during the 2016 presidential election.


COHEN: A lot of people have asked me about whether Mr. Trump knew about the release of the hacked documents, the Democratic National Committee e-mail, ahead of time. And the answer is yes.

As I earlier stated, Mr. Trump knew from Roger Stone in advance about the WikiLeaks drop of e-mails.


TAPPER: We should point out that Roger Cohen and the White House both deny that.

Cohen also apologized for lying to Congress previously. He had lied about how long talks lasted into the 2016 campaign, talks between Russia and the Trump Organization to build a Trump Tower in Moscow.

And that conversation, that part of the testimony led to the potentially, potentially most damning suggestion in the hearing, potentially one that could live down in infamy, that the president's lawyers in the White House may have edited Cohen's untruthful testimony before he shared it with Congress under oath.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Which specific lawyers reviewed and edited your statement to Congress on the Moscow tower negotiations? And did they make any changes to your statement?

COHEN: There were changes made, additions. Jay Sekulow, for one.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Were there changes about the timing?

COHEN: There were several changes that were made, including how we were going to handle that message.


REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS (D), MARYLAND: Were you finished?


The message, of course, being the length of time that the Trump Tower Moscow project stayed and remained alive.


TAPPER: It remains unclear right now what changes were made and which lawyers helped make them.

But CNN's Pamela Brown joins me now live from Capitol Hill, where the Cohen hearing is about to pick back up.

Pamela, how are members Congress, other people that are part of the story reacting to this contentious hearing so far?

PAMELA BROWN, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: It really depends on who you talk to, Jake.

Some, mainly Democrats, believe what he has said has been damaging to President Trump, that he has had credibility in today's hearing. Others, Republican Senator Graham, has said actually he's helping the president and making the case that there was no collusion with Russia.

His credibility came up repeatedly. But it is true, Jake, that Cohen is testifying today under different circumstances from last time, when he lied to Congress. He has been cooperating in two different investigations.

So if what he said today contradicts what he has told investigators, that would be very problematic for him. And he knows investigators are watching.

And he started off the hearing today taking direct aim at President Trump.


COHEN: Shame on you, Mr. Jordan.

BROWN (voice-over): A heated hearing on Capitol Hill, as Donald Trump's former personal attorney and fixer, Michael Cohen, faces off with House Oversight Committee members. Democrats wanting to dig into Cohen's allegations that President Trump told him to commit crimes. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did the president have any involvement...


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... in directing you to do this?


BROWN: And Republicans attacking Cohen's credibility.

REP. MARK MEADOWS (R), NORTH CAROLINA: I'm concerned about your lies.

BROWN: The daylong hearing starting with Cohen dropping bombshell accusations against the president in his opening statement.

COHEN: I am ashamed because I know what Mr. Trump is. He is a racist, he is a con man, and he is a cheat.

BROWN: Cohen also saying Trump knew that WikiLeaks was about to release the stolen Democratic National Committee e-mails during a phone call with his longtime friend and adviser Roger Stone.

REP. PETER WELCH (D), VERMONT: And you testified you were actually meeting with Donald Trump in July 2016, when Roger Stone happened to call and tell Mr. Trump that he had just spoken to Julian Assange. Is that correct?

COHEN: That is correct.

It was a short conversation. And he said: "Mr. Trump, I just want to let that I just got off the phone with Julian Assange. And in a couple of days, there's going to be a massive dump of e-mails that's going to severely hurt the Clinton campaign."

WELCH: So Mr. Trump was aware of the upcoming dump before it actually happened?


BROWN: The president previously told "The New York Times" he never discussed WikiLeaks with Stone.

WikiLeaks tweeted today that Julian Assange never spoke by phone with Stone. And Roger Stone released this statement today: "Mr. Cohen's statement is not true."

Cohen also revealed Trump directed him to lie to the public about his involvement in hush money payments to Stormy Daniels during the election, for which Cohen provided a check as proof.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did the president call you to coordinate on public messaging about the payments to Ms. Clifford in or around February 2018?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What did the president ask or suggest that you say about the payments or reimbursements?

COHEN: He was not knowledgeable of these reimbursements, and he wasn't knowledgeable of my actions.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He asked you to say that?

COHEN: Yes, ma'am.

BROWN: Meanwhile, Republicans kept bringing up Cohen's past and how he had lied repeatedly and to Congress, for which he's heading to prison for in May, along with other crimes he pleaded guilty to.

Cohen was pressed on why he worked for Trump for so long if he was such a bad person.

REP. JIM JORDAN (R), OHIO: You said all these bad things about the president there in that last 30 minutes, and yet you worked for him for 10 years? All those bad things. I mean, it's that bad, I can see you working for him for 10 days, maybe 10 weeks, maybe even 10 months, but you worked for him for 10 years.

Mr. Cohen, how long did you work in the White House?

COHEN: I never worked in the White House.

JORDAN: And that's the point, isn't it, Mr. Cohen?

COHEN: No, sir.

JORDAN: Yes, it is.

COHEN: No, it's not, sir.

JORDAN: You wanted to work in the White House.

COHEN: No, sir.

JORDAN: You didn't get brought to the dance.

COHEN: I did not want to go to the White House.

BROWN: Sources tell CNN Cohen did want to work at the White House. Republicans pressed Cohen about if he was planning to make money off all of this.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What is your source of income in the future?

COHEN: I don't expect I'm going to have a source of income when I'm in federal penitentiary.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What -- is there a book deal coming or anything like that?

COHEN: I have no book deal right now in the process. I have been contacted by many, including for television, a movie.


BROWN: Now, so far, there hasn't been a reaction from President Trump to this hearing with Michael Cohen, his former lawyer.

Now, it is overnight in Hanoi, where the president is, so aides expected him to stay up and watch this. It's clear this has been on the president's mind.

In fact, Senator Graham told my colleague Sunlen Serfaty, Jake, that he talked to the president last night, and he was unhappy about the dueling shows and the split-screen of him in Vietnam for this second meeting with Kim Jong-un and Michael Cohen here on Capitol Hill today -- Jake.

TAPPER: Well, he was right to be concerned about that. Pamela Brown, thank you so much. I appreciate it.

It seems potentially one of the biggest stories out of this is the idea that people in the White House may have known about Michael Cohen giving -- about to give false testimony to Congress or may have even helped shape it.

Let me just run a little bit of that testimony in which he talked about changes being made to his testimony by Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow, among others.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Which specific lawyers reviewed and edited your statement to Congress on the Moscow tower negotiations? And did they make any changes to your statement?

COHEN: There were changes made, additions. Jay Sekulow, for one.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Were there changes about the timing?

COHEN: There were several changes that were made, including how we were going to handle that message.


CUMMINGS: Were you finished?


The message, of course, being the length of time that the Trump Tower Moscow project stayed and remained alive.


TAPPER: So, one of the things that's interesting about that, of course -- and we should point out Jay Sekulow is the president's personal attorney. He's not a White House attorney.

But did people at the White House, did people who had anything to do with President Trump have any effect on that?

David Urban, we don't know what changes were made or who may have made them. And at the time, there was a joint defense agreement. But if they knew about perjury about to be committed, that's a big deal.

DAVID URBAN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: It's a big deal if it's in fact true, right?

So there's a lot of this testimony today that's uncorroborated and unverified. You heard the explosive comments about, the president was there, Roger Stone called, he said, I talked to Julian Assange, and the dump is coming.

And, well, who else very can verify that? I'm sure that the special counsel or SDNY has talked to Rhona, who's the person -- who's the president's secretary at the time who would have connected the call, might have heard -- other people may have been in the hall.

But right now it's simply Michael Cohen's word again here. And it's not that useful.

AMANDA CARPENTER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: One thing I do know that I'm delighted to see is that House Republicans came down on Michael Cohen like a ton of bricks for lying about Moscow Trump Tower, for the bank and tax fraud, and for the campaign finance violations.

So you tell me, House Republicans, how you crack down on Michael Cohen for that, when Donald Trump, the RNC and all his associates and surrogates lied about the very same thing. I look forward to a consistent standard being applied.




TAPPER: Let me know.


URBAN: Amanda is the Republicans' side.


CARPENTER: I'm on the side of honesty as well.

TAPPER: But she's also in favor of consistency.


URBAN: I agree. Yes.


TAPPER: So, Cohen claimed that then candidate Trump got this phone call from Roger Stone saying that this WikiLeaks dump is coming.

Just last month, President Trump told "The New York Times" he never spoke to Roger Stone.

Take a listen.


QUESTION: Did you ever talk to him about WikiLeaks? Because that seemed to be what Mueller was...


QUESTION: You never had a conversation with him?

TRUMP: No, I didn't.


QUESTION: And did you ever tell him to or other people to get in touch with him?

TRUMP: Never did.


TAPPER: And for what it's worth, and I understand we have a lot of unreliable narrators, as they say, in this story.

But for what's it's worth, WikiLeaks also tweeted -- quote -- "WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange has never had a telephone call with Roger Stone."

FINNEY: Well, here's the problem.

I think it was, in 2018, "The Washington Post" reported that the president said about 15 false statements per day.

TAPPER: I think it's down to eight or nine.


FINNEY: So, I'm just saying.

As you say, as a narrator, he's not exactly a credible source of information in all this.

So -- but the point is, we don't know. We only know a portion. I bet you Bob Mueller knows. And I think the one other thing, though, to your original point, that I thought it was interesting, it was reported, if I'm not mistaken, some time ago that there may have been some contacts between Mr. Cohen's legal team and the White House at some point.

And I think what...

TAPPER: They had a joint defense agreement at one point.


FINNEY: Correct. And so we learned today a little bit more about what some of -- the nature of the -- under contact, what does that actually mean?

Does that actually mean editing a statement? And I will tell you, as a communications professional, when he was talking about, you want to limit the exposure, you want to limit this national -- the story, yes, that's what you would tell someone when you want to stay on the message. You don't want to create new avenues of exploration or new questions.

You want to try to limit it. So that sounds very credible to me, actually.

TAPPER: What did you think was most important today, Paul?

PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I thought the most important thing was that Mr. Cohen, a proven liar, put the president on the phone with Roger Stone with advanced knowledge of WikiLeaks. That's direct collusion.

Now, again, Mr. Cohen is a convicted liar. Mr. Stone denies it, and he's an indicted liar, has a presumption of innocence.

TAPPER: Right.

BEGALA: Mr. Trump is an absolute liar. I mean, he's the biggest liar who ever lived.

TAPPER: Never convicted.

BEGALA: He makes Pinocchio look like an amateur.


BEGALA: Oh, my God. He just -- he takes in oxygen, he exhales lies. That's Trump respiration.

He lies when the truth suits his interest. So I don't know who to believe here, but I think Urban's point is right. Mr. Mueller will. He will be able to find at least those calls. Now, nobody taped those calls, but Trump certainly acted like he knew WikiLeaks...


URBAN: Quickly on that point, in the indictment of Roger Stone, none of this has been -- was in there.

So if there's conspiracy, criminal conspiracy...

TAPPER: Well, there's stuff about him lying about contact with WikiLeaks.


URBAN: But there is no criminal conspiracy charge and covering up anything.

Listen, Roger Stone, as I said before, played Roger Stone. Get me Roger Stone. That's his whole persona his whole life, right? He's a puffer. His whole life, he has been trying to be bigger than he is. And so he may have guaranteed overstated his own importance, guaranteed overstated things.

TAPPER: So I want to ask also -- so many things have come up in this testimony -- Cohen also said he made the payment to Stormy Daniels at the direction of and in coordination with Donald Trump.

Take a listen to how he described it today.


COHEN: And I had gone into Mr. Trump's offices, as I did after each and every conversation.

And he had told me that he had spoken to a couple of friends and it's $130,000. It's not a lot of money, and we should just do it, so go ahead and do it.

And I was at the time with Allen Weisselberg, where he directed us to go back to Mr. Weisselberg's office and figure this all out.


TAPPER: Mr. Weisselberg is the chief financial officer of the Trump Organization, but go ahead and do it, that's a pretty direct order.

CARPENTER: Yes. And it's also for the purpose of winning the election.


TAPPER: Your point is that the president might have been doing it to hide it from his wife, not to win the election.


URBAN: That is something that prosecutors will have to prove.

TAPPER: Why he did it is an important part of it.


TAPPER: Continue.

CARPENTER: Prosecutors have pretty much laid out that argument in prosecution documents for Michael Cohen.

But what is also interesting is that Michael Cohen talked about how he rigged polls for Donald Trump. I mean, there is a narrative, if someone smart wants to make it -- hint, hint -- that Donald Trump won the election through fraud.

I don't know if that reaches a criminal level. But think about how he inflated his assets. Think about how he hid information from voters. Think about the poll rigging that he paid for.


CARPENTER: He won dishonestly. Donald Trump is proving to be a fraud bit by bit by bit.


TAPPER: These are Internet polls.


CARPENTER: ... showing that he could gain traction within the Republican primary.


URBAN: Michael Cohen stole money during that transaction as well.


TAPPER: I'm coming to you. I'm coming to you.


TAPPER: In terms of fraud...


TAPPER: ... Cohen described being asked by Trump to say that Trump didn't know about Cohen's payments to Stormy Daniels. And this is while Donald Trump was president.


FINNEY: Correct.

TAPPER: Take a listen.


REP. KATIE HILL (D), CALIFORNIA: Did the president call you to coordinate on public messaging about the payments to Ms. Clifford's in or around February?


HILL: What did the president ask or suggest that you say about the payments or reimbursements?

COHEN: He was not knowledgeable of these reimbursements and he wasn't knowledgeable of my actions. HILL: He asked you to say that.

COHEN: Yes, ma'am.


TAPPER: And that would be a lie.

FINNEY: Yes, it was known as a lie.

TAPPER: But we should note, lying to a reporter, although I wish it were a federal crime, it's not -- it's not a federal crime.

FINNEY: It is not a federal crime. However, it does go to what this hearing today was really about although, there were lots of other side issues. I mean, you were talking before about race and what-have-you, which is learning more information about what the president may have done, not just the lies but the laws broken, fraud potentially in terms of getting into office and then as it always tends to be the cover-up once in office.

So, it is not uncredible that the president would want his fixer to lie for him to cover up the fact that he fraudulently may have engaged in various behaviors -- again the spectrum of lying to actually collusion -- to then cover that up once you're in office. That makes sense in terms of a narrative, that makes plenty of sense that you would want to cover that up.

TAPPER: And, Paul, he did not bring proof of conspiracy with the Russians, but he was asked what he thought about the president's willingness or whether he ever would do such a thing. Take a listen.


REP. DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ (D), FLORIDA: Would he have the potential to cooperate or collude with a foreign power to win the presidency at all costs?


SCHULTZ: Did he lie about colluding and coordinating with the Russians at any point?

COHEN: I wouldn't use the word "colluding". Was there something odd about the back-and-forth praise with President Putin? Yes.


TAPPER: That's not conspiracy though.

BEGALA: Well, that's right. That's right.

TAPPER: It's an oddity.

BEGALA: And it's speculation. Now, I'm not a hardly a Trump defender, but Cohen knows him very well, but I didn't like him getting away from the hard facts. He brought receipts on the Stormy Daniels payment, literally. We've got the signed check. So that's documentary evidence.

We don't even need his speculation, though. It's in front of God and everyone. On July 27, 2016, Donald J. Trump stood up in public and called on Russia to hack Hillary Clinton's emails and they did. What the hell more do we need?

CARPENTER: And then in August, Paul Manafort started meeting with Konstantin Kilimnik.

TAPPER: Who has ties to Russian military intelligence.

Here's what the Trump campaign had to say today about the Cohen testimony. Quote: Michael Cohen is a felon, a disbarred lawyer and a convicted perjurer who lied to both Congress and the special counsel in a, quote, deliberate and premeditated fashion, according to the special counsel's office. Now, he offers what he says is evidence but the only support for that is his own testimony which has proven before to be worthless.

Much of that -- much of that is accurate, except he did bring some documentary evidence as well in terms of receipts and checks.

URBAN: And I've talked to Paul about this before. You know, Michael Cohen had his conversion of that good Donald Trump to bad Donald Trump on the way to jail, right? He

found religion on the way to Allenwood, right?

I mean, so, it's not like he worked for him for 10 years and said, you know what, I really have -- I'm having a crisis of conscience, I got to come clean.

TAPPER: Right.

URBAN: But he came clean when it's convenient for him to be the person he is now. To tell the story is now, but not before.

FINNEY: But that's a given, right? Can we just stipulate? We all agree, he's a liar, he's a convicted liar, he's a lying liar, we also stipulate that, right? I mean, that's not -- that's actually not the question.

The question is, is anything -- that doesn't mean and we know this is a classic tactic in any kind of case where you're talking about going after the mob or a criminal syndicate or going after gangs, you get somebody to flip on the others, right, and that person is already a criminal when they flip. That does not necessarily mean that -- hold on, let me finish, that doesn't mean that when they then offer testimony or offer evidence like receipts, that it's not actually true.

URBAN: So, again --

FINNEY: So it's great.

URBAN: There's only what -- there's an individual that probably knows this stuff, right?

FINNEY: It's not like it's common tactic in law enforcement.

URBAN: Bob Mueller, Bob Mueller and the special counsel knows this. They've been doing this for two years.

TAPPER: And Rob Khuzami of the Southern District of New York.

URBAN: Southern -- SDNY, right, knows this. So this today was for what? We're not going to uncover any new information.

CARPENTER: I think --

URBAN: Michael Cohen was not allowed to testify --


URBAN: I'm pretty certain that they that nothing that was said today was said that wasn't allowed to be said by Rob Mueller --


CARPENTER: Four points that I think are going to have lasting implications. Michael Cohen brought the Trump family into the conversation twice. He said in response a questioning, he thought the Trump family had a conflict of interest during the election because of ongoing Moscow Trump Tower talks.

[16:20:02] And then he also placed Jared and Ivanka's lawyer at discussions with his lawyers and the White House lawyers when they're discussing his dishonest congressional testimony.

TAPPER: And you can see there's the chairman of the House Oversight Committee, Elijah Cummings, Democrat of Maryland, about to gavel the hearing and have it recommenced. There's Michael Cohen, the man of the hour, preparing to talk more about what happened.

You see Lanny Davis, the famous or infamous, depending on your political persuasion, a Democratic attorney used to do damage control for Clinton during the Clinton impeachment years. Paul Begala having flashbacks to my right.


Amanda, I did want to ask you one thing and I'll have to interrupt when the gavel comes down, but that is there -- I have heard criticism from people, analysts at this very table saying that the Cohen testimony was too personal, bringing up the bone spurs, bringing up his net worth and deceptions about that, bringing up all -- you know, the racism which is if true horrific but also not a crime to say racist things in this country.

What did you think? Did he go too far?

CARPENTER: Yes, I think he's going out of his way to try to gain sympathy, possibly from Democrats who think that Donald Trump is racist, et cetera. He definitely needed an editor on those points because it wasn't -- you know, ten weeks from now, nobody's going to remember those points.

FINNEY: Although having worked with Lanny, I hate to admit that. That did sound like little sprinkles of Lanny Davis in there to, you know, throw some fodder in there, for certain parts of our party, shall we say, to say, we knew he's a racist, OK? The guy wrote, you know, C on, you know, housing applications of black and brown people. So that -- I mean, that whole element was a little bit bizarre.

And again, I think it distracts away from what the true purpose of this was supposed to be and is supposed to be, which is about trying to get to the bottom of what happened?

TAPPER: What happened in the election and also happen --


BEGALA: Russian invaded America and cheated, and Trump prospered and benefited from that cheating. What we want to know is did he abet it? And it looks like he did, that's what Cohen said today.

URBAN: We'll see.

FINNEY: There's another piece that I thought was interesting in the Cohen testimony when he talked about the Trump code and the way of speaking. That's something you heard Comey talk about when he -- in his testimony, when they were asking him the question about what they thought the president was directing him to do, he said he seemed to suggest that there was some sort of way he was trying to tell him to say something or do something.

So, I think that's another element of this that I find very interesting that I would be curious to hear from others who work for Trump --


URBAN: I talk to the guy, I work for the president, I talk to the president. If the president wants you to do something, he just tells you. There's no -- he's not -- it would be surprise you, but he is not subtle about his views and opinion, OK?

TAPPER: So, David, let me ask you a question because what this gets to, in terms of what Comey said, and in terms of what Cohen said, and I understand you have issues with both of them in terms of their credibility, but what the suggestion is, is when he wants you to do something that might not be legal or ethical or proper, he would say it in such a way, and I doubt as the man who ran --

URBAN: I can't speak to that.

TAPPER: Well, that's what I'm saying. You ran Pennsylvania for him during the 2016 campaign, he wouldn't have asked you to do anything illegal, unethical or improper, one would think.

URBAN: I can't speak to that, obviously.

TAPPER: Works for -- there's the gavel. There's gavel.

Let's listen back in.


TAPPER: All right. Obviously, that gavel was a premature, shall we say.

We're still waiting for this hearing to recommence. You see the Republican vice chair of the committee or I suppose it'd be ranking member in the House of Representative, Jim Jordan, Republican of Ohio. Elijah Cummings, Democrat of Maryland, is now the chairman of this committee one of the many results of the fact that the Democrats recaptured the House of Representatives. This hearing would not be happening right now if Democrats had not recaptured the House of Representatives.

If you are inclined to like President Trump, you think this is perhaps a witch hunt, overzealous. And if you do not like President Trump, this is welcome oversight and thank god for it. Really depending on your point of view.

But you two, we were talking about this before. You do -- you both agree that that some of his testimony in terms of the things that don't have to do with questions of ethics or legality were resistance chum -- for want of a better term.

[16:25:09] The idea, just something to put in the water to make people looking to hate President Trump even more happier.

BEGALA: Right, John Dean when he testified in Watergate a million years ago, he had worked for Nixon who we now know from the tapes was a vicious anti-Semite. I don't remember --

TAPPER: Also a racist, give him the credits.

BEGALA: And a racist, OK, fine, yes, a racist.

TAPPER: He hated lots of people.

BEGALA: I don't believe and I'm sure John's watching he could correct us, I don't believe Dean went into any of that. I think you need a lot of Joe Friday particularly if you're a convicted liar. You just need the facts, man.

Now, he did bring a lot of facts, a lot, some of them stunning. Many of them we did not know, I'm sure Mueller does know. But I had -- I didn't counsel him, but if I were sitting here instead of Lanny, I would have said, you need Joe Friday, member from dragnet. Just the facts, man.

TAPPER: Just the facts.

But let me ask you, Nia-Malika Henderson was here earlier and she said she thought the reason for all of the stories about racist comments the President Trump had made which if true are -- let me just reiterate, I'm sure we all agree -- horrific and despicable, were there to show he was an insider. He was there with President Trump in times that no one else in that room, including Mark Meadows who's had more than 300 conversations with President Trump, including him, have not experienced.

FINNEY: I think that's absolutely right. Look, and also to go to the duplicity of the character of Donald Trump, right, that this is a person who is willing to, able to, the part where he said, you know, he's able of doing acts of kindness but he's not kind. I think one of the references that he made, that he's good show in front of the cameras, but that behind the scenes, there's a different man.

And I do think at some point, there's a conversation to be had about a spectrum of race and the way it played out today, because certainly having the one black person who happened to have worked for him there and to have an older white male member of Congress say I talked to him. I don't think he's a racist. That's not exactly how you would -- the way I would enter into a conversation to try to suggest that someone was not racist, particularly when they themselves engaged in practices like writing C on the back of housing applications of black and brown people to your buildings.

TAPPER: David, I'm going to apologize if I interrupt you, but I do want to ask you. You mentioned something, that kind of contradicts -- Jim Jordan, the ranking Republican on this hearing, basically suggesting that Michael Cohen is here because he didn't get a job in the White House, that he wanted to.

While it is true that Michael Cohen was telling friends and associates that he did expect to have a job in the White House and he was no doubt disappointed that he didn't get one, I think the -- here is the gavel. So, let's listen in.

CUMMINGS: Ladies and gentlemen, we will come to order. Mr. Cohen, I want to finalize that this (ph) relating to your truth in testimony form. The form requires you to list your contracts or payments originating from a foreign government, not from all foreign entities. We said we would give you a chance to consult your attorneys. Have you done that and do you have any additional information?

COHEN: My four attorneys to continue to believe as they did before, that the language of the truth in testimony form which I was given and signed just right before this hearing, and which requires disclosure of any contracts or payments from foreign governments in the last two years did not apply to my work for BTA Bank, which is Kazakh-owned entity. They advised that had entities been intended for disclosure, that word would have been in the disclosure definition. However, if the committee's counsel has a different view that I should disclose my contract with BTA Bank, we'd be willing to do that.

CUMMINGS: All right, now.

MEADOWS: Mr. Chairman?

CUMMINGS: Let me finish.


CUMMINGS: I want to understand clearly you sought for the advice of your council, is that right?

COHEN: That's correct.

CUMMINGS: And your counsel advised you say what you just said, is that right?

COHEN: That's correct.

CUMMINGS: And you know that to be the truth, is that right?

COHEN: Yes, sir.

CUMMINGS: I will yield to the gentleman.

MEADOWS: I thank that the chairman for his courtesy. Mr. Chairman, instead of making points of order and going back and forth on this, perhaps a way to solve this is for the chairman to request Mr. Cohen give to this committee all the foreign payments that he has received over the last two years whether they're an entity or a government, because we have strong belief, Mr. Chairman, there is over $900,000 that came from the government of Kazakhstan on behalf of Mr. Cohen. And it is either the truth or the whole truth and nothing but the truth and -- and the rules as Mr. Chair -- Chairman really look at foreign payments that come from or with foreign governments. And -- and -- and the bank he's talking about is owned 81 percent by the Kazakhstan government.