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CNN NEWSROOM

Cohen Testifies Before Congress. Aired 2-2:30p ET

Aired February 27, 2019 - 14:00   ET

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


[14:00:00] KELLY: According to federal prosecutors, executives at the company then, and I quote, agreed to reimburse Cohen by adding $130,000 and $50,000 grossing up that amount to $360,000 for tax purposes and adding a $60,000 bonus such that COHEN would be paid $420,000 in total.

Executives of the company decided to pay the $420,000 in monthly installments and $35,000 over the course of a year. Is that accurate?

COHEN: That is accurate.

KELLY: What was the purpose of grossing amounts, essentially doubling what you had paid to Ms. Clifford and others?

COHEN: Because if you pay $130,000 and you live in New York where you have a 50 percent tax bracket. In order to get your $130 back you have to have $260. Otherwise my -- if he gave me back $130, I would only -- and I'd be out $65,000.

KELLY: What was the purpose of spreading the reimbursements to you over the 12 monthly installments?

COHEN: That was in order to hide what the payment was. I obviously wanted the money in one shot. I would have preferred it that way but in order to be able to put it on to the books, Allen Weisselberg made the decision that if should be paid over the 12 months so that it would look like a retainer.

KELLY: And did Mr. Trump know about this reimbursement method?

COHEN: He knew about everything. Yes.

KELLY: Well, thank you Mr. Cohen. So the president not only knew about the payments, he knew and helped to hide the payments and the reimbursements to you.

COHEN: And we discussed it. Everything had to go through Mr. Trump and it had to be approved by Mr. Trump.

KELLY: And now you're going to prison and he's ...

COHEN: And I'm going to prison. Yes ma'am.

KELLY: I yield back.

CUMMINGS: Mr. Armstrong. UNKNOWN: You're fine.

ARMSTRONG: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Earlier you just ...

KELLY: Yes, I yield my time.

ARMSTRONG: Earlier you said -- I'm assuming New York's a one party consent state; one person can record the other one without it being illegal.

COHEN: Correct.

ARMSTRONG: But you also were a member of the New York Bar.

COHEN: I was, yes.

ARMSTRONG: How would you rate recording clients in the ethical realm of being a lawyer?

COHEN: It's -- it's not illegal and ...

ARMSTRONG: I'm not asking if it's illegal. I'm asking if it's ethical.

COHEN: I -- I -- I don't know. That -- we'd have to leave judgment of the Bar Association.

ARMSTRONG: So well, I think every other lawyer in here knows exactly where it is in the ethical standard. When you said you had 100 tapes, were any of those tapes of other clients.

COHEN: Yes.

ARMSTRONG: And -- I think this is pretty amazing. I really do. Did any of them waive privilege?

COHEN: No.

ARMSTRONG: So five minutes ago in the middle of our hearing on oversight, you just immediately responded that you would -- you would handover tapes to this committee without any of your previous clients waving privilege.

COHEN: I'm not the only one in possession of those documents. Those documents were in the hands of ...

ARMSTRONG: Whoever else is in charge of those documents is not my concern. My concern is I know lawyers that would go to jail before they would violate attorney client privilege. And in a matter of a second you just said absolutely, I will turn those over.

COHEN: Just trying to cooperate sir.

ARMSTRONG: At the expense of clients who have never waived privilege?

COHEN: They're already in the hands, sir, of all of the agencies as was I didn't ask ... ARMSTRONG: What law enforcement determines to do with something and what you determine to do with something, client privilege and attorney trust accounts are about the two most sacred things that you can ever do in your entire career as a lawyer. And in a matter of a second ...

COHEN: And the tape with Mr. Trump

(CROSSTALK)

Is because Rudy Giuliani waived the privilege.

ARMSTRONG: I'm not talking about Rudy Giuliani. I'm talking about you. (Inaudible) I don't know who's on those tapes. Only you know who's on those tapes. There's 100 of them.

COHEN: The other one is also subject to an ongoing -- my point is within a matter of a second -- one second, you took no -- absolutely no calculation of your role as those clients counselor, the role that plays in privacy and in the role that plays in the solemn vow you took when you passed the Bar, when you signed on to the Bar, and until recently were a member of the Bar.

And you just immediately said if it -- if it helps me out in the two day, in front of T.V., yes, absolutely Mr. Chairman, you can have them. And I think -- and that just goes into what we're going to talk about next briefly.

We talk about these tax -- these indictments on tax fraud and bank fraud as if they are isolated incidents. But they're not isolate incidents of bad judgment. These were intricate elaborate lies that created near -- that needed to be held with constant miss -- or I mean just constant deceptions of banks, businesses, associates, accountants, potentially your family.

You received over $2.4 million in personal loans from taxi company -- Taxi Medallion Company One. And those -- those -- those were loan payments for a business loan, correct?

COHEN: No sir.

ARMSTRONG: They -- you weren't receiving ...

COHEN: Those ...

ARMSTRONG: OK. Go ahead.

COHEN: Those were payments that were made by the management company that was operating the medallions

[14:05:00]

ARMSTRONG: To you.

COHEN: To me.

ARMSTRON: So -- and you -- those were -- those were deposited into your personal account or in some instances your wife's account.

COHEN: It was -- it was deposited into the joint checking account of my wife and I that's located at the base of the building that we reside in.

ARMSTRONG: And were those disclosed on your tax returns.

COHEN: They are no -- they were not disclosed on my tax returns.

ARMSTRONG: And in fact when your -- your accountant talked to you about those -- those deposits. You told them you wouldn't pay for a memo that you didn't ask to be done?

COHEN: That's inaccurate.

ARMSTRONG: So the -- the sentencing court in New York has that wrong?

COHEN: OK. I don't know what Mr. Getzel wrote, my accountant. There are a series of issues regarding his memo anyway; including the fact he's almost to me in an earlier memo to commit fraud.

But putting all that aside with Jeff Getzel, the answer to that is I plead guilty. All right. And I made my mistake and I'm going, as I've said 100 times now, right, I'm not so sure why the singular attack on my taxes. If you want to look at them I'm more than happy to show them to you. But every single word ....

ARMSTRONG: If -- if the chairman will give me 20 minutes I've got plenty of other things to talk about.

COHEN: Every single word that's ...

ARMSTRONG: All right. I'm going to reclaim my time now.

COHEN: It's not 100 percent accurate and that's exactly why when it comes to the credibility why I asked Mr. Davis (ph) and Mr. Monaco (ph) to please let's figure out ...

ARMSTRONG: But that's my point with the credibility. These -- these aren't isolated -- these are not isolated incidents of attack. These were constant deceptions whether it's rolling over a $2 million line of credit to a $14 million credit.

You went through lengths to conceal that from one bank while at the same time you are reducing your net income to another bank. These aren't things that happened on January 1 of 18', January 1 of 17', January 1 of 15'; these are things that were constantly involved on a -- my question is was it exhausting keeping track of all the lies you were telling all these people?

CUMMINGS: The gentleman's time has expired. You may ...

COHEN: I don't have an answer for him.

CUMMINGS: Very well.

COHEN: Thank you for continuing the narrative.

DESAULNIER: Thank you Mr. Chairman. Mr. Cohen, good luck on your road to redemption.

COHEN: Thank you. It's going to be a long way.

DESAULNIER: The opposite of that is perdition as I remember and that's particularly hard on your children. So I wish you well and I wish your family well. Mr. Cohen, I -- as you sort of describe your road to here, Mr. Cooper asks you where -- when the moment was or moments when you decided you needed to change.

It strikes me there is a transition that you have -- you have illuminated here. Your period of time the ten years working for somebody who you admired as a developer and then when Charlottesville happened and quite frankly when the Special Council called -- called you in obviously was a key part of it or you wouldn't be here. But the in-between part I find really interesting and troubling, at least in terms of appearances and confidence that the American people would have in this institution and democracy, quite frankly.

So during that period of time, I wanted to ask you about two specific - I think we have enough time. First, the Trump Tower. So, you were negotiating for this. As you said, it was to be the tallest building in Europe. In your guilty plea with the special counsel, you quote, say - in quotes, "Cohen asked individual one - " is that President Trump?

COHEN: Yes.

DESAULNIER: OK, "about the possibility of individual - of President Trump traveling to Russia in connection with the Moscow project and asked a senior campaign official about potential businesses travel - business travel to Russia. What - when did this conversation happen? Do you recall?

COHEN: Early on in the campaign.

DESAULNIER: And who is the campaign official?

COHEN: Corey Lewandowski.

DESAULNIER: What - what did you discuss in this meeting?

COHEN: Possibility of which dates that Mr. Trump would have availability, if in fact that we were going to go over to Russia to take a look at the project. Unfortune (ph) ...

DESAULNIER: Was ...

COHEN: I'm sorry, sir?

DESAULNIER: Go ahead.

COHEN: unfortunately, it never came to fruition because we were never successful in getting the first prong of what I needed, which was ownership or control over a piece of property. And until such time, there was no reason to come up with a date. But when I first received the information request to go to Russia, what I decided to do is spoke to Mr. Trump about it. He told me to speak to Corey and see what dates might be available if I got the information I needed.

DESAULNIER: So it's not because of appearances? Or did it stop because parties decided not to pursue it?

COHEN: I'm sorry, I don't understand your question.

DESAULNIER: So, why did the pursuit of the Trump Tower that Mister - Mr. Trump has now said, of course he pursued it because he thought he might be going back into the development business. Why was the reason that the - the deal stopped?

COHEN: Because he won the presidency.

[14:10:00] DESAULNIER: OK. So, in that interim period of time, you must admit it looks troubling that now that we know what foreign influence was attempting to do, whether there was collusion or not, it certainly appears troubling that you were - Mr. Trump was part of this negotiation; at the same time, what we know - perhaps separately, that the Russians were engaged in our election.

COHEN: Well, I don't know about them being engaged in the election. I can only talk for myself. Here, I would say to Mr. Trump, in response to his question, "What's going on with Russia," is, I'm still waiting for documents. And then that night, at a rally, he would turn around and do his battle cry of no Russia, no collusion, no involvement, witch hunt.

DESAULNIER: OK. On a separate subject but somewhat related, on January 17 of this year, the Wall Street Journal published a story stating that you hired John Gauger, the owner of a consulting company who works for Liberty University in Virginia, to rig at least two online polls related to Donald Trump. Did you hire him?

COHEN: Those were back in, I believe, 2015?

DESAULNIER: 2014.

COHEN: 2014 ...

DESAULNIER: 2014. So you did hire him?

COHEN: Yes, I spoke with Mr. Gauger about manipulating these online polls.

DESAULNIER: And did he use bots to manipulate the poll?

COHEN: He used algorithms and if that includes bots, then the answer is yes.

DESAULNIER: Yes, that's accurate. Did the president have any involvement?

COHEN: Yes.

DESAULNIER: In directing you to do this?

COHEN: Yes.

DESAULNIER: What were the results of the poll?

COHEN: Exactly where we wanted them to be. In the CNBC poll, we came in at number nine. And the Drudge Report - he was top of the Drudge Report as well.

DESAULNIER: OK.

COHEN: Poll.

DESAULNIER: And ...

COHEN: Please understand also, the CNBC poll was called The Contenders and it was top 250 people that they named and it was supposed to be the top 10 most influential people.

DESAULNIER: Let me just finish with, earlier today, you directed a comment to my colleagues - and I'm quoting, so correct me if I get this wrong. You said, "The more people who follow Mr. Trump, the more people will be where I am." Is it your expectation that people in the administration will end up where you are?

COHEN: Sadly, if they follow blind - blindly like I have, I think the answer is yes.

DESAULNIER: Thank you.

CUMMINGS: (Inaudible) time is expired. Mr. Steube.

STEUBE: Thank you, Mr. chairman. When I ran for Congress, I talked about how Washington was broken. But I certainly did not expect the level of political gamesmanship, partisanship and sheer stagnation of policies that would improve the lives of Americans that I'm witnessing today.

It is terribly disappointing to me that this committee and its chairman chose to spend our time in questioning an individual that has zero probative value and zero credibility instead of spending our limited time focusing on improving the lives of Americans, creating jobs, or streamlining the functioning of our federal government. Yet here we are, taking testimony from a convicted liar and not someone who has just lied to his clients or family or friends, but testimony from an individual who deliberately and premeditatedly lied to this body.

He lied to Congress through false statements in written statements. He lied to Congress through his testimony. He then amplified his false statements by releasing and repeating his lies to the public, including the other potential witnesses. Yet now, we on this committee and the American people, are expected to believe Mr. Cohen's testimony. I don't know a juror in America that would believe anything Mr. Cohen said given his past actions and lies.

Mr. Cohen, you stood before multiple congressional committees before today and raised your right hand and swore an oath to be honest. Is that correct?

COHEN: That is correct.

STEUBE: And you lied to those congressional committees, is that correct?

COHEN: Previously?

STEUBE: Correct.

COHEN: Yes, sir.

STEUBE: You stated that Trump never directed you to lie to Congress, is that correct?

COHEN: That's correct.

STEUBE: Therefore, you lied to Congress on your own accord and then admitted to lying to Congress, correct?

COHEN: I've already stated my piece on that. I knew what he wanted me to do, I was staying on party line.

STEUBE: But he never directed you to lie to Congress?

COHEN: He did not use those words, no.

STEUBE: In your evidence that you provided this committee, a mere two hours before the hearing started, were payments made to you by Mr. Trump, correct?

COHEN: Amongst other things, yes.

STEUBE: Yet, other than your testimony here today, there is absolutely no proof that those specific payments were for those specific purposes. Is that correct?

COHEN: It's my testimony that the check that I produced as part of this testimony, $35,000, and the second check that's signed by Allen Weisselberg and Don Trump Jr., were two checks out of the 11 that were meant for the reimbursement of the hush money payment to Stormy Daniels.

STEUBE: So, in your testimony on page 13, you claim, and I quote, "Mr. Trump directed me to use my own personal funds from a home equity line of credit to avoid any money being tracked back to him that would negatively impact his campaign. Do you have any proof of this direction?

[14:15:00] COHEN: Just the payment, sir.

STEUBE: So, no e-mail? COHEN: Mr. Trump doesn't have e-mail.

STEUBE: So no recording?

COHEN: I do not have recordings, no.

STEUBE: No text message?

COHEN: Mr. Trump doesn't text message.

STEUBE: So no direction other than your testimony today that that's what the payment was for?

COHEN: And the fact that I paid on his behalf, at his direction, the money to Keith Davidson's IOLA account. You're right, there's no other test - there's no other documentation I have.

STEUBE: So nothing that you produce as part of your exhibits prove that President Trump directed you in any way to make that payment?

COHEN: I don't even know how to answer that, sir.

STEUBE: Well, it's pretty simple. There's nothing in the evidence that shows, with the exhibits that you provided today that show that Trump directed you to make those payments.

COHEN: Other than the non-disclosure agreement that has been seized by government authorities and is widely show, I don't believe there's anybody out there that believes that I just decided to pay $130,000 on his behalf.

STEUBE: Well, you were his attorney for over 10 years.

COHEN: That doesn't mean that I pay $130,000 ...

STEUBE: Well, it doesn't also mean that he wasn't paying you for representation of counsel.

COHEN: Okay.

STEUBE: So, how did President Trump even know you had a HELOC?

COHEN: I'm so sorry, sir?

STEUBE: How did President Trump even know you had a HELOC?

COHEN: Because we discussed it. Because I told him the same thing that I didn't want my wife to find out about it, and as one additional, Rudy Giuliani himself came out and expressed that Mr. Trump reimbursed me for the money that was spent to pay Stormy Daniels.

STEUBE: And did you tell Chris Cuomo that you had no access to Mr. Trump during October and November of 2016?

COHEN: I'm sorry, I don't know what you're referring to.

STEUBE: Your interview with Chris Cuomo.

COHEN: I would need to see the document. I ...

STEUBE: Did you also tell Chris Cuomo that you made these payments without telling Mr. Trump because you wanted to protect Mr. Trump?

COHEN: And I was protecting Mr. Trump.

STEUBE: And you told him that you made these payments without telling him?

COHEN: When I said that -- if that's what I said to Chris Cuomo, yes, that was my line.

STEUBE: And if this unsupported claim was true, then it would be part of an ongoing investigation as evidence of a crime and the Department of Justice would not let you discuss during your testimony here today, is that correct?

COHEN: I don't know.

CUMMINGS: Gentleman's time has expired. Did you answer?

COHEN: Yes, I did want to say one last thing. No only did I lie to the American people, I lied to the First Lady. When the president called me and I was sitting in a car with a friend of mine and he had me speak to her and explain to the First Lady. So, the answer is there -- you're -- you're -- you're not accurate and I don't feel good about any of this and this was not my intention.

CUMMINGS: Miss Lawrence.

COHEN: Sorry.

LAWRENCE: Thank you Mr. Chairman. I just want to put on the record, as being a black American and having endured the public comments of racism from the sitting president, as being a black person I can only imagine what's being said in private. And to prop up one member of our entire race of black people and say that that nullifies that is totally insulting and -- and -- and in this environment of expecting a president to be inclusive and to look at his administration speaks volumes. So, I have some questions.

I want to talk to you about this intimidation of witness. Mr. Cohen, you were initially scheduled to testify before the House Oversight Committee on February 7, but your legal team delayed your testimony quoting, ongoing threats against your family from the president and Attorney Giuliani, is that correct?

COHEN: Yes ma'am.

LAWRENCE: And then on November 29, after you admitted that the president's negotiations over real estate project in Russia continue well through the summer before the 2016 election, President Trump called you, quote, "a weak person," and accused you of lying. And then on December 16, after 2018, after you disclosed that it was the president who directed you to arrange hush money payment to Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal to conceal his extramarital affairs, he called you, the President of the United States, a rat.

Mr. Cohen, why do you feel or believe that the president is repeatedly attacking you? You are stating that you feel intimidated, asking us to protect you, following your cooperation with law enforcement?

[14:20:00] COHEN: When you have access to 60 plus million people that follow you on social media, and you have the ability in within which to spark some action by individuals that follow -- that follow him, and from his own words that he can walk down 5th Avenue shoot someone and get away with it, it's never comfortable when the President of the United States ...

LAWRENCE: What do you think he can do to you?

COHEN: A lot. And it's not just him. It's those people that follow him and his rhetoric.

LAWRENCE: What is a lot?

COHEN: I don't know. I don't walk with my wife if we go to a restaurant or we go somewhere. I don't walk with my children. I make them go before me, because I'm -- I have fear and it's the same fear that I had before when he initially decided to drop that tweet in my cell phone.

I receive some, and I'm sure you'll understand, I've received some tweets, I've received some Facebook Messenger, all sorts of social media attacks up on me, whether it's a private direct message that I've had to turn over to Secret Service because the are the most vial, disgusting statements that anyone can ever receive and when it starts to affect your children that's when it really affects you.

LAWRENCE: On January 20, 2019, Mr. Giuliani called your father-in-law, quote, "a criminal," and said that he may have ties to organized crime. Mr. Cohen, do you believe that the president and Mr. Giuliani publically targeted your father-in-law as an effort to intimate you? Can you elaborate, why is your father-in-law being pulled into this?

COHEN: I don't know the answer to that. My father-in-law was in the clothing business. He came to this country because they (inaudible) in 1972-'73 the expulsion of Jews from the Ukraine, he came here to this country. He worked hard and he's now enjoying his retirement.

Never in my life did I think that Mr. Trump would do something so disgraceful and he's attacking him, because he knows I care about my family and to hurt me, he's trying to hurt them.

Interestingly enough, my father-in-law's biggest investments happen to be in a Trump property, so it just doesn't make any sense to me.

LAWRENCE: I want to be clear, any efforts to prevent a witness from testifying in front of Congress is against the law. I want to be very clear about that. And as the Chairman has said, retaliating against witnesses and threatening their families and members is a textbook mob tactic that does not benefit the President of the United States or this country.

And I want to be on the record, this hearing is not about discrediting the president. It's about the oath of office that we take, as members of Congress, to have checks and balances and to meet the laws and the policies of this country to serve. Thank you. And I yield back.

CUMMINGS: Mr. Roy.

ROY: Mr. Cohen, I too want to offer my heartfelt thoughts for your family and what they're going through. I know it's tough and for your time here today, I know it's tough for you to stand here in front of this committee.

The Chairman suggested you volunteered to come here. You testify that you were asked to come here. Is it correct you were asked to come here, yes or no?

COHEN: Yes.

ROY: The combined total of the crimes for which you were sentenced would bring a maximum of 70 years, yes or no?

COHEN: Yes.

ROY: Yet, you are going to prison for three years, yes or no?

COHEN: Yes.

ROY: The prosecutors of the Southern District of New York say to secure loans, Cohen falsely understated the amount of debt he was carrying and omitted information from his personal financial statements to induce a bank to lend on incomplete information.

You told my colleague here today that you did not commit bank fraud, not parcing (ph) different statutes, which I understand could be going (ph) for clarity, are you or are you not guilty of making false statements to a financial institution, yes or no?

COHEN: Yes, I plead guilty.

ROY: You said clearly to Mr. Cloud and Mr. Jordan that the Southern District of New York lawyers were being untruthful in characterizing your desire to work in the administration.

Do you say again that the lawyers of the Southern District of New York are being untruthful in making that characterization, yes or no?

COHEN: I'm saying that's not accurate.

ROY: OK, so you're saying they're being untruthful (inaudible)...

COHEN: I didn't - I am not using the word untruthful, that's yours. I'm saying that that's not accurate. I did not want a role or title in the administration.

ROY: I'm sure the lawyers...

COHEN: I got the title that I wanted.

ROY: I'm sure the lawyers at the SDNY appreciate that distinction. Question, you testified today you have never been to Prague and have never been to the Czech Republic. Do you stand behind that statement?

COHEN: Yes I do.

ROY: I offer into the record an article in known conservative news magazine Mother Jones by David Corn in which he says he reviewed his notes from a phone call with Mr. Cohen and Mr. Cohen said, quote, "I haven't been to Prague in 14 years, I was in Prague for one afternoon 14 years ago", end quote.

Question, you, as my friend Mr. Armstrong rightly inquired, offered to the committee taped information involving clients with the bat of an eye. Do you stand behind that? Yes or no.

[14:25:00] COHEN: I'm sorry, I don't (inaudible) you said it so fast.

ROY: You, as my friend Mr. Armstrong rightly inquired, offered to this committee taped information involving your clients with the bat of an eye. Do you stand behind that offer?

COHEN: If the chairman asks me and it's - I'll take it under advisement now and it's not a problem in terms of attorney client privilege, yes I will turn it over.

ROY: You, as my friend Mr. Meadows pointed out, mislead this committee even today in a written submission that contradicted your testimony. You have suggested you are going to review that.

Did you review - are you going to review it in our next break to correct the record, yes or no?

COHEN: Yes.

ROY: Question, you helped out the president's campaign, or were involved in the campaign as a representative, as a spokesman, even in your words today it was your idea for the campaign dating back to 2011.

Is that accurate, yes or no?

COHEN: Yes.

ROY: 2011 is a year that sticks in my head, for it's the year my daughter was born and it's the year I was diagnosed with cancer. I was not then pushing for Donald Trump to be president, I was fighting cancer. Even in 2016 I was publicly backing a certain Republican from Texas, some might guess who it was.

But you, you were all in. And you either wanted Donald Trump to be your president because it would be good for the country or you did it for your own personal advancement or both. That's sort of the two options. Real Americans in my district and

across the country wanted the president to be president not in any way because he's perfect, but rather because they are sick and tired of this hellhole.

They supported the president because they are sick and tired of the games that we are seeing here today. They are sick and tired of politicians who refuse to secure the border, balance our budget, restore healthcare freedom and then get the hell out of their way so they can lead their life.

They are mystified that we amass about $100 million of debt per hour, which means we've blown through $300 million -- $400 million -- $450 million during this charade in amassing debt.

$450 million, they're sick and tired of a Democrat Party that willfully ignores cartel driven asylum crisis on our border that endangers American citizens and the migrants who seek to come here.

Just yesterday in Eagle Pass, Texas, Border Patrol agents arrested an MS-13 gang member. In McAllen, Texas, federal authorities are offering a reward for a man to Mexico - tied to Mexico's Gulf cartel for his alleged roles in various murders, kidnappings and home invasions in South Texas.

A mass Honduran migrant rush at the Texas border forced brief closure of the Laredo Port. This is this week. This is what we're ignoring. This is not what we're doing for the American people while we engage in this charade.

This is not what the American people sent us here to do. This is an embarrassment for our country. I talked to my beautiful wife back in Dripping Springs, Texas just before the hearing, I said don't bother - I said don't bother watching.

She said as I roughly expected don't worry, I wont. I have more important things to do. And she, like the rest of the American people, have a hell of a lot more important things to do than to watch this.

I said amen, darling. I can't help but think that is what the majority of the American people are thinking while watching this unbelievable circus. I yield back.

CUMMINGS: Ms. Plaskett.

PLASKETT: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I've got a lot to do as well, I've got houses and schools to help rebuild in the Virgin Islands, expansion of voting rights, educational opportunities, criminal justice reform, thank god the Democratic majority can walk and chew gum at the same time.

So we're here with you right now. Mr. Cohen, you learned well in the 10 years that you worked with Donald Trump. What was your position with the GOP in the - up to eight months ago?

COHEN: I was vice chair of the RNC Finance Committee. PLASKETT: You were vice chair of the finance of the Republican national committee, right?

COHEN: Correct.

PLASKETT: OK.

COHEN: I do want to say I was a Democrat until Steve Wynn found out I was a Democrat and made me switch parties, said it wasn't right for a Democrat to be the vice chair.

PLASKETT: Good, let's get to it, I only have a little bit of time. On behalf of the many members here who have expressed to your family our apologies to your family. But I want to apologize for the inappropriate comments and tweets that have been made by other members of this body and as a former prosecutor and as former counsel on House ethics, I think that at the very least there should be a referral to the ethics committee of witness intimidation or tampering under U.S. C1512 of my colleague Matt Gaetz and it may be possibly him being referred for a criminal prosecution.

So I want to put that on the record. On May 2nd, 2018, the president's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, who was his personal attorney like you, appeared on Fox News and referred to the president's reimbursement to you for the 130 (ph) payment for Stephanie Clifford as part of a retainer.

And on May 3rd, 2018, one day after Mr. Giuliani's appearance, the president tweeted, and I quote, "Mr. Cohen, an attorney, received the monthly ---

[14:30:00]