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THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER

Michael Cohen Testifies Before House Oversight Committee. Aired 4:30-5p ET

Aired February 27, 2019 - 16:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[16:30:00]

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.

CUMMINGS: I'm reclaiming my time -- reclaiming my time and then we're going to move on. What I will take -- first of all, let me be clear, I said to Mr. Cohen that if he came in here and lied, I would nail him to the cross. Didn't I? Didn't I tell you that?

COHEN: Yes you did, more than once.

CUMMINGS: All right. So if there's any ambiguity, I want to be cleared up. I have no problem in working with you to make sure that's straightened out, but I don't want to be a thing where he thinks the one thing, we think one thing, and we can -- we can clear that up, all right? All right, we have a number of members that have been waiting.

JORDAN: I just want to add something if I can, Mr. Chairman.

CUMMINGS: Go ahead.

JORDAN: I don't think we should limit it just to the BTA Bank, which has affiliation with Kazakhstan. I think we should also look at Korea Aerospace industries, one of his other clients and any other client that's foreign that may have some connection to that respective country's government. (Inaudible) look at all those and we get the (inaudible) exactly right. As Mr. Meadows wants.

CUMMINGS: Reclaiming my time. We will take that certainly under advisement. You are -- I'm a man of my word, we would do -- we will work with you and see what we can do to come up with that. I don't think that it's an unreasonable request.

Mr. Khanna. Hello, Mr. Khanna? Yes, yes.

KHANNA: Mr. Cohen, I want to focus my questions on the smoking gun document you have provided this committee. This document is compelling evidence of federal and state crimes, including financial fraud. You provided this committee with a check from President Donald J Trump's revocable trust account which is marked as exhibit 5B. it is a check for $35,000 and it is dated March 17, 2017, after the president took office. It's right now on the screen. Do you see it, sir?

COHEN: Yes, sir.

KHANNA: To be clear, the Trump Revocable Trust is the trust the president set up to hold his assets after he became president. Is that correct?

COHEN: I believe so.

KHANNA: You know why you were paid from the trust as opposed to the president's personal account?

COHEN: I don't know the answer to that.

KHANNA: Did you think it was odd that he paid you once from his personal account and then he's paying you through the scheme of a trust?

COHEN: I'll be honest, I was just happy to get the check.

KHANNA: Today you testified that the check was signed by Donald Trump, Jr. and the Trump Organization, CFO, Allen Weisselberg. Is that correct?

COHEN: That is correct.

KHANNA: According to the criminal charges against you, you sent monthly invoices containing false information to an individual identified as Executive One. Weisselberg is Executive One, correct?

COHEN: Yes.

KHANNA: The criminal charge against you then states that Executive One forwarded your invoice to someone referred to as Executive Two, presumably Donald Trump, Jr., who is signing this check is Executive Two. Correct?

COHEN: I believe so.

KHANNA: As federal prosecutors laid out in their criminal charges, payments like this check resulted in numerous false statements in the books and records of the Trump organization. It's important for the American public to understand this. It is nothing to do with collusion. This is financial fraud - garden variety financial fraud. It was disguised as a payment for legal services to you but this was not a payment for legal services was it Mr. Cohen?

COHEN: No, sir. KHANNA: It could give rise to serious state and federal criminal liability if a corporation is cooking its books. Based on your testimony today, Donald Trump, Jr., and Alan Weisselberg directed this payment to you and approved this payment. Is that right?

COHEN: Mr. Trump initially acknowledged the obligation, the debt. Myself and Allen Weisselberg went back to his office and I was instructed by Allen at the time that they were going to do this over 12 installments and what he decided to do then was have me send an invoice in which case they can have a check cut and then, yes. The answer would be yes to your follow up.

KHANNA: And Donald Trump, Jr., obviously signed off on this?

COHEN: Yes, it would either be Eric Trump, Donald Trump, Jr., and/or Allen Weisselberg, but always Allen Weisselberg on the check.

KHANNA: And you think Executive Two is Donald Trump, Jr.?

COHEN: Yes.

KHANNA: They knew that this payment was false and illegal. Correct?

COHEN: I - I can't make that conclusion.

KHANNA: You told Representative Kelly that the president was aware of this scheme. Is that correct?

COHEN: That's correct.

[16:35:00] KHANNA: I just want the American public to understand the explosive nature of your testimony in this document. Are you telling us, Mr. Cohen, that the president directed transpections(ph) in conspiracy with Allen Weisselberg and his son, Donald Trump, Jr., as part of a civil criminal - part of a criminal conspiracy of financial fraud. Is that your testimony today?

COHEN: Yes.

KHANNA: And do you know if this criminal financial scheme that the president, Allen Weisselberg and Donald Trump, Jr., are involved in is being investigated by the Southern District of New York?

COHEN: I'd rather not discuss that question because it could be part of an investigation that's currently ongoing.

KHANNA: But I just want the American public to understand that's solely apart from Bob Mueller's investigation, there is garden variety financial fraud and your allegation and the explosive smoking gun documents suggest the president, his son, and his CFO may be involved in a criminal conspiracy and isn't it true, Mr. Cohen, that this criminal conspiracy that involved four people, that there is only one person so far who suffered the repercussions and that is why you are in jail?

COHEN: Will be going to jail. Yes. KHANNA: There were three other people, though, who were equally involved in this conspiracy. Is that true?

COHEN: Yes, it is true.

KHANNA: Thank you Mr. Cohen. I yield back my time.

CUMMINGS: Mr. Gomez.

GOMEZ: Thank you Mr. Chair. Mr. Cohen, I'm going to tackle the president's tax returns. During the 2016 campaign you said you personally wouldn't quote, "allow him to release those returns until the audits are over," unquote.

For the record, nothing prevents individuals from sharing their own tax returns even while under audit by the IRS. Mr. Cohen, do you know whether President Trump's tax returns were really under audit by the IRS in 2016?

COHEN: I don't know the answer. I asked for a copy of the audit so that I could use it in terms of my statements to the press and I was never able to obtain one.

GOMEZ: OK. So do you have any inside knowledge about what was in the president's tax returns that he refused to release?

COHEN: I - I do not.

GOMEZ: Can you give us any insight into what the real reason is that the president has refused to release his tax returns?

COHEN: Statements that he had said to me is that what he did not want was to have an entire group of think tanks that are tax experts run through his tax return and start ripping it to pieces and then he will end up in an audit and until ultimately have tax -- taxable consequences, penalties, and so on.

GOMEZ: So that's an interesting point that basically said he did not want to release his tax returns because he might end up in an audit. So could you presume from that statement that he wasn't under audit?

COHEN: I presume that he is not under audit.

GOMEZ: And the reason why I bring this up because I'm also the only democrat on this committee that also serves on the committee of Ways and Means; it's the chief tax-writing committee in the House of Representatives and its the only committee in the House of Representatives has jurisdiction to request an American's tax returns and that includes the President of the United States.

My constituents need to know whether the president has financial ties that are causing him to protect his own bottom line rather than the best interest of this country. Can he be blackmailed because of his financial and business ventures, including by foreign governments, and I know that the opposition is the first thing they're going to ask or say is that he released his financial disclosure forms. But I believe there are other things we can learn from his taxes.

Do you - do you have any idea what we can learn in his tax returns if we actually received -- we got our hands on them?

COHEN: No, I've seen them, I just have never gone through them, they are quite long.

GOMEZ: Quite long. One of the things I also find ironic is the way they're kind of attacking you is to undermine your credibility is one of the ways is by saying that you committed bank fraud and tax evasion. And the reason why it's a big deal is that it really goes down to the person's character when it comes to taxes but yet the republican minority has never asked to see his taxes, right? Something that for 40 years democrats and republicans alike have released their tax returns to prove to the American people that they didn't have financial interests that would be leveragable(ph) by a foreign government, but this minority refuses to ask for his tax returns.

I also want to kind of go on. I am noticing a pattern -- I am noticing a pattern about the president and those in his inner circle. Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team has indicted or received guilty pleas from 34 people and three companies that we know of, the latest being long-term Trump adviser Roger Stone.

[16:40:00] That group includes six former Trump advisers. It appears that the present has a fondness for entrusting those who will, one, lie for him, two, break the law for him, three, cheat the system for him. Essentially, he wants to surround himself with people who are just like him.

Would you agree with that statement?

COHEN: From the facts and circumstances, it appears so.

GOMEZ: Mr. Cohen, the American people have a lot of questions when it comes to this president, to his conduct, when he went to Helsinki and he bowed before down Vladimir Putin. And nobody can really understand why he acts the way he acts. And we believe that the way we get those answers is really looking at everybody that surrounds him, who he has been associated with, and his tax returns because that is the only way that we can get down to the to the bottom line.

Thank you and I yield back.

MEADOWS: Mr. Chairman -- Mr. Chairman, I have a unanimous consent request.

CUMMINGS: All right. Go ahead.

MEADOWS: I asked unanimous consent that we read into -- or for the record a tweet from Dr. Darrell Scott, which says: "Michael Cohen asked, no, begged me repeatedly to ask POTUS to give him a job in the administration. He is still lying under oath." I ask unanimous consent.

CUMMINGS: No objections. MEADOWS: I have one more from Bob (sic) Dietl: "Getting sick watching

these hearings. I know Michael Cohen personally for many years and he told me several times that he was very angry and upset that he didn't get a post in the White House and that he 'would do what he has to do' now to protect his family." I ask that that be...

CUMMINGS: No objections.

MEADOWS: I thank you.

JORDAN: Mr. Chairman, two quick ones...

CUMMINGS: Then we've got other ones. We're going to do you, Mr. Ranking Member, then we'll do the other ones at the end because I have some things too that I want to get in.

(UNKNOWN): All right. I ask unanimous consent that an article in Salon magazine written by Stanley Brand (ph), former House counsel to Tip O'Neill. The title the article is "Oversight Committee Session with Michael Cohen Looks like an Illegitimate Show Hearing."

CUMMINGS: (INAUDIBLE).

JORDAN: I ask unanimous consent that a letter that Mr. Meadows and I sent to you, the chairman requesting that you call Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to testify at this hearing also be part of the record. Thank you.

CUMMINGS: Part of the record.

(CROSSTALK)

COHEN: Mr. Chairman, can I respond?

CUMMINGS: Just one second, all right?

The article by Mr. Brand, I just want to deal with this one right away. We -- when we saw that article, Mr. Ranking Member, we knew that it was inaccurate. Let me just -- on basics, the case is that Mr. Brand views are definitely distinguishable for what is going on here. And so we got the Irvin B. Nathan, former general counsel of the House from 2007 to 2010, and he says in short "the committee has ample jurisdictional responsibility to hear and consider the upcoming voluntary testimony of Mr. Cohen. That's dated February 2019, 25th of 2019.

And I want to enter that into record, without objection, so ordered. Where are we?

Ms. Ocasio-Cortez.

OCASIO-CORTEZ: Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Mr. Cohen, I would like to quickly pick up on some previous lines of questioning before getting into my own. So I may go a little quickly to get it all in five minutes. First, my colleague from Vermont had you asked several questions about

AMI, the parent company of the National Enquirer. And in that you mentioned a treasure trove -- a treasure trove of documents in David Pecker's office relating the information assembled from all of these "catch and kill" operations against people who potentially had damaging information on the president.

You also mentioned that the president was very concerned about the whereabouts of these documents and who possessed them. Does that treasure trove of documents still exist?

COHEN: I don't know. I had asked David Pecker for them.

OCASIO-CORTEZ: So you would say the person who knows the whereabouts of these documents would be David Pecker.

COHEN: David Pecker, Barry Levine, or Dylan Howard.

OCASIO-CORTEZ: OK. Thank you. Secondly, I want to ask a little bit about your conversation with my colleague from Missouri about asset inflation. To your knowledge, did the president ever provide inflated assets to an insurance company?

COHEN: Yes.

OCASIO-CORTEZ: Who else knows that the president did this?

COHEN: Allen Weisselberg, Ron Lieberman, and Matthew Calamari.

OCASIO-CORTEZ: And where would the committee find more information on this? Do you think we need to review his financial statements and his tax returns in order to compare them?

COHEN: Yes. And you would find it at the Trump Org.

[16:45:00] OCASIO-CORTEZ: Thank you very much. The last thing here. The Trump Golf organization currently has a golf course in my home borough of the Bronx, Trump Links. I drive past it every day going between the Bronx and Queens. In fact, The Washington Post reported on the Trump Links Bronx course in an article entitled "Taxpayers Built this New York Golf Course and Trump Reaps the Rewards."

That article is where many New Yorkers and people in the country learned that taxpayers spent $127 million to build Trump Links in a "generous deal allowing President Trump to keep almost every dollar that flows in on a golf course built with public funds."

And this doesn't seem to be the only time the president has benefited at the expense of the public. Mr. Cohen, I want to ask you about your assertion that the president may improperly devalued his assets to avoid paying taxes. According to an August 24th -- August 21st 2016 report by The Washington Post: "While the president claimed in financial disclosure forms that Trump National Golf Club in Jupiter, Florida, was worth more than 50 million, he had reported otherwise to local tax authorities that the course was worth 'no more than 5 million'." Mr. Cohen, do you know whether this specific report is accurate?

COHEN: It is identical to what he did at Trump National Golf Club at Briarcliff Manor.

OCASIO-CORTEZ: Do you know -- to your knowledge, was the president interested in reducing his local real estate bills, tax bills?

COHEN: Yes.

OCASIO-CORTEZ: And how do you do that?

COHEN: What you do is you deflate the value of the asset and then you put in a request to the tax department for a deduction.

OCASIO-CORTEZ: Thank you. Now on October 2018, The New York Times revealed that "President Trump participated in dubious tax schemes during the 1990s, including instances of outright fraud that greatly increased the fortune he received from his parents." It further stated for Mr. Trump: "He also helped formulate a strategy to undervalue his parents' real estate holdings by hundreds of millions of dollars on tax returns, sharply reducing his tax bill when those properties were transferred to him and his siblings."

Mr. Cohen, do you know whether that specific report is accurate?

COHEN: I don't . I wasn't there in the 1990s.

OCASIO-CORTEZ: Who would know the answer to those questions?

COHEN: Allen Weisselberg.

OCASIO-CORTEZ: And would it help for the committee to obtain federal and state tax returns from the president and his company to address that discrepancy?

COHEN: I believe so.

OCASIO-CORTEZ: Thank you very much.

I yield the rest of my time to the chair.

CUMMINGS: Mr. Pressley.

PRESSLEY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. One more time, Mr. Chairman, I just want to thank you for your leadership and the way in which you comport yourself. And I know there are some that would have you believe the more you say something the more true it is. But in fact, this committee, thanks to your leadership and our Democratic majority, has been doing the work of the American people.

Before this committee alone, we looked at the issue of making Election Day a federal holiday, reducing drug pricing and pursued subpoenas to reunite families, and just recently, before we return to here, tried to pass a universal background check gun bill. So we are doing the business of the American people, including today. It has been said that the best sunlight. Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants. Electric-like (ph) is the most efficient policeman (ph). Well, let there be light, because the point of the oversight is for us to pursue the trust, to pursue the truth and justice for the American people, to understand if lies, deceit and corruption are threatening American Democracy and indeed our safety.

Mr. Chairman, charities should not be abused as personal piggybanks. It is both against the law and extremely unfair to charities that play by the rules. A line of questioning that we have not yet addressed and been glaringly absent in tackling is that of the abuses of the Trump Foundation.

Now the president's charitable foundation agreed to dissolve, in response to an ongoing investigation and lawsuit by the New York attorney general. The New York attorney general found what it called, quote, "clear and repeated violations of state and federal law," including, quote, "repeated and willful self dealing by the Trump administration." My apologies, "by the foundation."

If I understand your opening statement correctly, in mid-2013, you arranged for a straw purchaser to bid $60,000 for a portrait Mr. Trump, painted by the artist William Quigley, at a charity auction. Is that correct?

COHEN: That's correct.

PRESSLEY: Why would the president want to bid up the price of something that he was ultimately paying for?

COHEN: It's all about ego.

PRESSLEY: How was it paid for?

COHEN: I believe it was paid for by a check from the trust.

[16:50:00] PRESSLEY: An abuse. And again, you know, this is not a - a partisan pursuit here. I think ultimately what we're demonstrating is patriotism. This is about what is right and just for the American people. Did the straw purchaser purchase the painting, and then the foundation funds reimbursed the straw purchaser? Can you explain the mechanics of that payment?

COHEN: I'm not involved with the foundation.

PRESSLEY: OK. Did the president know what was happening?

COHEN: Oh, yes.

PRESSLEY: And how did you know he knew what was happening?

COHEN: Because he tasked me to find the straw bidder to ensure that his painting, which was going last in the auction, would go for the highest amount of any of the paintings that had been put on the auction block for the day.

PRESSLEY: And what happened to the painting?

COHEN: I believe it's in one of the clubs.

PRESSLEY: OK. According to the New York attorney general, on March 2014, Mr. Trump again used the foundation to pay $10,000 for the winning bid on another portrait of Mr. Trump that ended up as decor in one his golf courses in Miami. Mr. Cohen, are you familiar with that transaction?

COHEN: Yes.

PRESSLEY: Are you aware of any other instances where the Trump Foundation was used to benefit the Trump family?

COHEN: Yes.

PRESSLEY: Could you elaborate?

COHEN: So there was a contract that I ended up creating on Mr. Trump's behalf for - it was a Ukrainian oligarch by the name of Victor Pinchuk. And it was that Mr. Trump was asked to come into participate in what was the Ukrainian-American Economic Forum. Unfortunately, he wasn't able to go, but I was able to negotiate 15 minutes by Skype, where they would have a camera, very much like a television camera, very much like that one.

And they would translate Mr. Trump to the questioner, and then he would respond back. And I negotiated a fee of $150,000 for 15 minutes. I was directed by Mr. Trump to have the contract done in the name of the Donald J. Trump Foundation, as opposed to Donald J. Trump or services rendered.

PRESSLEY: Thank you. Any other abuses of the foundation that you'd like to share? Again, it is against the law and again extremely unfair to charities that are playing by the rules.

COHEN: Not at this time. But if I think of one, I'll pass it along.

PRESSLEY: OK. And then for the balance of my time, would you agree that someone could deny rental units to African-Americans, lead the birther movement, refer to the Diaspora as "shithole countries,' and refer to white supremacists as "fine people," have a black friend and still be racist?

COHEN: Yes.

PRESSLEY: I agree.

CUMMINGS: The gentlelady's time has expired. You may - you may answer the question.

COHEN: I did, yes.

CUMMINGS: Oh, OK.

(UNKNOWN): Mr. Chairman. I have two unanimous consents. Since we're - we're finishing up, before we get done, I want to go ahead and ... CUMMINGS: OK. Just give me - give me one second. I just wanted to ...

(UNKNOWN): Yes, sir.

CUMMINGS: ... I wanted to get to Ms. Tlaib, and then I'll come to you. OK? Ms. Tlaib - and they've been waiting all day, but Ms. Tlaib.

TLAIB: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank you, all of you, for centering this committee on our sole purpose, is exposing the truth. And some of my colleagues can't handle the truth, and this is unfortunate because it's the center of what is protecting our country right now.

The people at home are frustrated, Mr. Cohen, and they want criminal schemes to stop, especially those from the Oval Office. Mr. Cohen, I am upset and know that my residents feel the same way, that man you worked for, for the past 10 years, is using the most powerful position in the world to hurt our country solely for personal gain.

We are upset that some of our colleagues here are so disconnected of what it means to have this president of the United States sending checks to cover bribe payments, not hush payments, bribe payments, you made on his behalf - one in 2017 of March and another, August 2017, after he was sworn in as president.

They are upset that, while my colleagues are trying to discredit your testimony by some of your own unlawful acts and lies, that they are disconnected with the fact that you were the personal lawyer for this president of the United States, that this president chose you as his legal counsel.

My stance has always been the same, Mr. Chairman, based on the facts, not on future reports that we're all waiting on. My residents back home don't need a collusion cause with a foreign government to know this president, individual one, has disregarded the law of the land, the United States Constitution, and that he has misused has pardon powers.

In the sentencing memo, Mr. Cohen, filed by the federal prosecutors in December of last year, they stated, quote, in particular, and as Cohen himself has not admitted, with respect to both payments, "He acted in coordination with and at the direction of individual one."

[16:55:00] Mr. Cohen, as you know, Donald J. Trump brand comes first, not the American people. Based on what you know now, based on what we know now, has that individual one used his money, businesses and platform to enrich - to enrich himself, his brand, and in the process, directed you, Mr. Cohen, to commit multiple felonies and you covered it up? Correct?

COHEN: That's correct.

TLAIB: You called it "protecting his brand." Correct?

COHEN: And to him as well.

TLAIB: Mr. Cohen, with this, do you think the president of the United States is making decisions in the best interest of the American people?

COHEN: No, I don't.

TLAIB: Especially those you said, that he used horrible words about like African Americans, Muslim Americans and immigrants?

COHEN: Yes.

TLAIB: Just to make a note, Mr. Chairman, just because someone, has a person (ph) of color -- a black person working for them, does not mean they aren't racist. And it is insensitive that some would even say it's -- the fact that someone would actually use a prop -- a black woman in this chamber, in this committee, is alone racist in itself.

Donald Trump is setting...

MEADOWS: Mr. Chairman, I ask that her words be taken down...

TLAIB: Donald Trump is setting a precedent, I reclaim my time...

MEADOWS: Mr. Chairman...

TLAIB: Donald Trump is setting a precedent...

MEADOWS: Mr. Chairman...

TLAIB: That the highest office can be attained (inaudible)...

MEADOWS: Mr. Chairman, the rules are clear.

TLAIB: Illegal activity -- cover up and hold on to business assets to break campaign finance laws, and Constitutional clauses. What we have here Mr. Chairman is criminal conduct, and the pursuit of the highest public office by Mr. Cohen and Individual One. I hope that the gravity of this situation hits everyone in this body...

MEADOWS: (Inaudible)...

TLAIB: And in Congress, and across this country. Thank you, Mr. Chairman I yield the rest of my time.

MEADOWS: Mr. Chairman -- I ask that her words, when she's referring to an individual member of this body, be taken down and stricken from the record. I'm sure she didn't intend to do this, but if anyone knows my record as it relates -- it should be you, Mr. Chairman.

(UNKNOWN): Chairman...

CUMMINGS: All right...

(UNKNOWN): I would like to...

CUMMINGS: Hold on.

(UNKNOWN): I want the words read back (ph)...

CUMMINGS: No, no, no -- no, no...

(UNKNOWN): We want to know exactly what she said...

CUMMINGS: No, excuse me.

(UNKNOWN): About a colleague.

CUMMINGS: Excuse me, would you like to rephrase that statement, Ms. Tlaib?

TLAIB: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I can actually read it from here. Just to make a note, Mr. Chairman, that just because someone has a person of color, a black person working for them does not mean they aren't racist. And it is insensitive that someone would even say racist -- say it is racist in itself, and to use a black woman as a prop to prove it otherwise.

And I can submit this for the record, if a colleague is thinking that that's what I'm saying -- I'm just saying, that's what I believe to have happened. And as a person of color in this committee, that's how I felt at that moment and I wanted to express that. But I am not calling the gentleman, Mr. Meadows a racist for doing so, I'm saying that in itself it is a racist act.

MEADOWS: Well I hope not, Mr. Chairman because I need to be clear on this particular -- Mr. Chairman...

CUMMINGS: Mr. Meadows, wait a minute.

MEADOWS: I've defended you, with false (inaudible)...

CUMMINGS: Mr. Meadows -- I'm the Chair.

MEADOWS: Yes, sir you are.

CUMMINGS: Thank you. I will clear this up. Now Ms. Tlaib, is it -- I want to make sure I understand. You did not -- you were not intending to call Mr. Meadows a racist, is that right?

TLAIB: No, Mr. Chairman, I do not call Mr. Meadows a racist. I am trying...

CUMMINGS: Wait a minute -- hold on.

TLAIB: As a person of color, Mr. Chairman just to express myself and how I felt at that moment. And so just for the record, that's what was my intention.

CUMMINGS: All right. Mr. Meadows?

MEADOWS: Mr. Chairman, there's nothing more personal to me than my relationship -- my nieces and nephews are people of color. Not many people know that, you know that Mr. Chairman.

And to indicate that I asked someone who is a personal friend of the Trump family, who has worked for him -- who knows this particular individual that she's coming in to be a prop? It's racist to suggest that I asked her to come in here for that reason. Mr. President -- the president's own person, she's a family member and she loves this family. She came in because she felt like the President of the United States was getting falsely accused. And Mr. Chairman, you are -- you and I have a personal relationship that's not based on color. And to even go down this direction is wrong, Mr. Chairman.

CUMMINGS: First of all, I want to thank the gentleman for -

[17:00:00]