Return to Transcripts main page

CNN Live Event/Special

Trump Lawyer Cross-Examines Michael Cohen. Aired 12-12:30p ET

Aired May 16, 2024 - 12:00   ET



JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: All right. Let's go back to the trial right now because inside court, Todd Blanche is trying to get at the point that Michael Cohen has tried to be a cooperating witness, but it has never happened.

Blanche asks Cohen. If he wanted to be released early from prison because of his cooperation. Quote, but this whole time, all the meetings you had -- you never offered a cooperation agreement, and you were never a cooperating witness. Michael Cohen says, that's correct.

Blanche asks if Cohen recalls when he testified in October 2023 that he refused a substantial assistance letter -- that is a letter from a prosecutor saying, please help this guy out. He has offered us, quote, substantial assistance. I do, meaning, he do -- he does remember testifying in October 2023 that he refused this letter. But that's not true, is it? Blanche asks. It's true, Cohen says.

Cohen says a substantial assistance letter was offered after he had already pleaded. I said, I'm not interested in it. So, then Blanche says, who did you say that to? Cohen said, Guy Petrillo, my attorney. Blanche is asking Cohen about his desire to work at the White House. What's the significance of this, Elie Honig?

ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: So, Todd Blanche is making the point that you offered your testimony to basically everyone who would listen. You offered it to the Feds. You'd offered it to Mueller, the Southern District of New York. You offered it to the New York A.G. You even offered at one point to the Manhattan D.A., and essentially everyone passed, except the Manhattan D.A.

He's trying to suggest that your damaged goods and other smart prosecutors were not willing to rely on you. And then there's this issue about whether Cohen was interested in a letter after he pled. I mean, it makes no sense what Michael Cohen is saying here.

He's saying prosecutors offer me a letter -- a sentencing letter is the best thing someone in Michael Cohen's position can get from prosecutors. That's how you get a reduction. And he's trying to say that after he pled, he was offered a sentencing letter. I don't know who that would have been from? And he said, no, thank you. I don't understand why.

LAURA COATES, CNN ANCHOR: Remember the prosecutor -- and just to add that point. The prosecutor listening to testimony the other day where she suggested that they would have provided something if the FDNY also wanted to have something, they declined. I think she was trying to suggest, see, you're not here under our thumb.

HONIG: Yeah. And now moving to the next topic, and they fronted this in their opening. They're now going to the point that Michael Cohen was hoping to be made the attorney general or chief of staff in the Trump administration and he was not and felt jilted. And that's what the current cross examination is about that he felt betrayed. And I think according to Trump's team, that's why he turned on Donald Trump.

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: He said, I would have liked to have been considered for ego purpose.

TAPPER: Blanche asks whether go on record arguments at sentencing about whether we -- about wanting a role at the White House, Hoffinger objects. And attorneys have a brief sidebar. Do you remember telling Congress that it was a lie, that you did not want to go to the White House, Todd Blanche asks. Again, we're getting into just like -- basic things that he said that where he's contradicted himself in different places.

TIM PARLATORE, FORMER TRUMP ATTORNEY: Yeah. It's interesting to me. You know, whatever he was just pointing out, it doesn't make any sense that he was offered a cooperation or a substantial assistance letter and turned it down. And I don't know why Todd hasn't, you know, followed up on that yet. And so maybe -- you know, that's something that they're going to go get documents and come back to later.

HONIG: To that point, maybe this happened here, but I've literally never heard of that.


HONIG: I've never heard of prosecutor saying, we'd like to write you a cooperation letter. And a defendant saying no, thank you. I mean --

TAPPER: I mean, another thing he's saying here is, I remember telling Congress that I did not want to work in the White House, Cohen says. But there's been all sorts of testimony, Jeff Zeleny. And I think a lot of us probably recall from 2016. Michael Cohen telling us that he was going to go work in the White House. And then being really upset when he was not allowed to go. When he's not invited to work in the White House. Do you remember that person, Kasie?


KASIE HUNT, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Yeah, for sure. I mean, again, we've talked a little bit about this, it's impossible to overstate how connected Donald Trump and Michael Cohen were in the years before Donald Trump went to the White House. I mean, Cohen certainly wanted everyone to think but he did, in fact, operate like someone who was kind of physically attached to Donald Trump.

He went most of the places that Donald Trump went. Whenever you were covering Trump, I mean, there were some people that got on the campaign. Cohen wasn't always out on it. Those kinds of things. But if you walk into the Starbucks and Trump Tower, you know, he'd be sitting there, kind of day in and day out, talking to reporters or other people who came through.

And then so, the idea that he didn't want to come to the White House with the president is like simply not --

ZELENY: I remember during that time period. I agree with you. He was with him. But he used to be the only aide, and then there became more aides and more aides. So, Michael Cohen got a little bit farther out in the circle here. But still, of course, he wanted to work at the White House.

But when he arrived at the White House that day in February of 2017, the look on his face show that he was in a candy store. Basically, he was so thrilled to be at the White House, walking up the south driveway -- the north driveway, excuse me, the North Lawn and standing out there and then going into the briefing room. I have a hard time believing he did not want to work in the White House.

COATES: They're still pressing him on this very issue. And one of the reasons so important to think about here, you're going to -- you're saying the truth is you really wanted to work in the White House.


COATES: No, sir.

TAPPER: There's like -- there is literally hundreds of people who know that he wanted to work in the Trump White House.


BASH: I mean, I don't know the actual answer to this, but we know the reason.

TAPPER: You don't have the degree for that.

BASH: I don't, I don't. I wear the hat. The reason that Todd Blanche is pushing this is back to what he started to do, which is retribution. You didn't get what you wanted. That's why you're doing what you're doing. That's why you're trying to throw Donald Trump under the bus. And it's obviously not a clean answer when it comes to Michael Cohen.

TAPPER: I mean, he's just going. You sit -- you know, this is really interesting. The truth is, you're really wanting to work in the White House, Blanche asks. No sir, Cohen says. You really wanted to be chief of staff and not just be considered, Blanche expresses? No sir, Cohen says. You didn't simply indulge. You really wanted to work in the White House, Blanche asks. Again, no sir, Cohen responses.

ZELENY: This is basically the defendant here telling, what is -- Donald Trump obviously knows that. So, I mean, to me, like that's why he must have told him to press hard on this question.

HUNT: Right. Yeah. ZELENY: I don't know what it matters or the jury cares. This is again, beyond the scope of the actual case --

HUNT: And the reality is, he stayed -- I mean, Cohen stays loyal to Trump for a period -- a long period of time, right. Does that -- then goes on to divide a Congress. And all of this stuff before he breaks with Donald Trump.

TAPPER: Let me tell you my hypothesis. And I'd love to know what the lawyers saying. I think Todd Blanche is like in addition to the fact that he's making a lot of money from being a member of the resistance, Michael Cohen. Todd Blanche is suggesting that this is sour grapes, that this is the reason that he is on this journey -- this hero's journey as Michael Cohen sees it is the -- that he was screwed by Donald Trump.

Donald Trump didn't bring him into the White House. Donald Trump didn't give him a good Christmas bonus. And then he just cut them loose when -- after Michael Cohen's office was raided. Based on something having to do with taxicab medallion fraud, not anything related to Trump. And now he's just being bitter. I mean, that's -- I'm not saying that -- I'm saying that's where Todd's going.

PARLATORE: No, it's bizarre, because this is -- this testimony here is even contradicted by the prosecution witnesses. I mean, we heard from Stormy Daniels' lawyer that -- you know, that he was -- Michael Cohen was complaining to him about not getting a job in the White House.

So, and -- you know, that he wanted to be A.G. and things like that. So this -- this is a bizarre thing for him to be denying at this point. And I think that Todd is probably enjoying, you know, drawing out that Michael Cohen is now in this moment actively lying to the jury.

COATES: Yet. And the thing is if you're the prosecution, trying to redirect this, you want to focus them, OK, whether he wanted to be in the White House or not as irrelevant. He wanted his money. And the money he wanted back was $420,000 that you said he would have. And by the way he didn't just want to go to the White House.

He actually -- remember that -- remember the timeline here. If I go in tablet. Remember the timeline for everyone. That payment to Stormy Daniels came after the Access Hollywood tape. We're talking about October 27, 2016. You got the inauguration a few months later but look at the first payment to Cohen. $35,000 in March of 2017.

So even if he didn't want to go to the White House, guess what? Checks were actually signed from the White House by the now president of the United States in that instance. And they have to redirect it. And again, go back to that. We're talking about buck 8117 (Ph). Even when he's the president of United States, he has signed his name to these things. There is conversations about, whether or not this --

TAPPER: Look at this. So, Todd Blanche is now reviewing texts with Cohen, with his daughter. Remember, the FBI sees Michael Cohen's phones. And what is introduced as evidence from those phones is introduced to everybody, not just the prosecution, the defense gets it too. And in the tax Cohen's daughter told him she had read that Reince Priebus, then head of the Republican National Committee was being considered.

And you said he's pushing like a madman, Blanche asks. Because Michael Cohen saying that Reince Priebus is pushing like a madman to be chief of staff. On November 13, Trump picked Priebus to be chief of staff. Blanche notes, you told your daughter, you were disappointed. He asks Cohen.

So again, there is all this testimony. There is all this evidence from Michael Cohen's phones seized by the FBI. And some of it is being used right now to show that Michael Cohen is currently not telling the truth. That I wasn't considered. Yes, sir. That's his --

So, Kaitlan Collins, that's where he's trying to parse it. Michael Cohen being disappointed, not that he wasn't named White House chief of staff, but that he wasn't even considered White House chief of staff. But we'll see what the jury thinks about that.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: Yeah. It's hard to know -- it's impossible to know. Actually, Jake, what they're thinking, but this is what Michael Cohen testified about. When the prosecution was questioning him, he said, it wasn't necessarily that he thought he couldn't be chief of staff, but he at least wanted his name out there. He felt like everything that he had done for Donald Trump, he deserved it.

He talked and openly acknowledged in court that it was part of an ego boost for him. And Paula, this is a moment when it comes down to the credibility as Jake was just saying there. What -- who does the jury believe? When did Michael Cohen start telling the truth? And has he always just been saying things to benefit himself depending on the situation that he's in.


PAULA REID, CNN CHIEF LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: And why he's just doing an effective job of raising doubts about Michael Cohen's believability in this trial and what he said in his direct examination by prosecutors. Now this where they're talking about whether he wanted to be at the White House or not. I think most people would have empathy for him that of course, he wanted to be considered.

Doesn't everyone want to be asked? Doesn't everyone want to be considered? But the fact that Michael Cohen can't keep this story straight about what his feelings were, that goes to credibility. Even if you might extend, you know, some goodwill or some empathy towards him for at least possibly entertaining the idea that it could happen to him.

COLLINS: And the prosecution knew this was coming because they showed these texts with Michael Cohen and his daughter in the courtroom. And this is when he turned to the jury was a -- because she was reading press reports. And she was asking him like, Dad, are you getting a job in the White House? What's happening? And he was basically saying, you know, he told his daughter not to worry about it. And then he went on to say, I could still use my position outside the White House to benefit, to make money. I mean, he openly acknowledged all of that in court the other day.

KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, and that was one of the moments that you saw Trump have kind of a visceral or at least minimally visceral for Donald Trump reaction, when he said how much money that he was making outside of the White House at that time and how he was getting clients based on Donald Trump's name.

Now, there is -- as Paula said, a real moment of potential sympathy here with a jury because of course, he would want a job at the White House. And then you see him talking to his daughter about it, explaining how he wasn't going to get the job. But how he was actually going to have another good opportunity and kind of putting the spin on it.

So yes, this is what they're trying to break down. But I do agree with Jake, that a lot of this is going to be a look at, is this Michael Cohen and his -- you know, sour grapes, as Jake said. You know, is this why he started to turn on Donald Trump? Because whenever he didn't get anything that benefited him, or that propelled him, that he started to turn on the person in front of him.

COLLINS: And criminal defense attorney Ron Kuby, is outside the White House -- outside the courthouse. I keep mixing the two houses up, Rob. But as we're looking at this and listening to this, there seems to be a two-pronged part to this questioning from Todd Blanche, which is one, Michael Cohen didn't get a job and wanted to, and now, you know, he's vengeful after that.

But also two, trying to make another point and hammering home with a jury. This is something else he lied about that he wasn't forthcoming about. When he spoke to Congress about what he actually -- that he didn't want a job inside Trump's administration.

RON KUBY, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: As a defense lawyer now for over 40 years, I never want to talk about the crime my client allegedly committed. And I never want to talk about the evidence that eventually or allegedly incriminates my client, I very much want the witness to talk about text that he sent to his daughter about Reince Priebus in the chief of staff position. Let's just stay as far away from the actual incriminating evidence as possible.

And I get it that at this point, Todd Blanche has managed to show it's a credibility contest as to which Michael Cohen can believe. Do you believe the old sinful vicious Michael Cohen? Or do you believe that sort of born again redemptive Michael Cohen, who apparently now has just been caught in a lie?

But remember, all of this can have a boomerang effect and certainly will on the defense. Because they can point out that Michael Cohen is a scabrous lying weasel. But in the end, the prosecution is going to stand before the jury and say, we didn't pick Michael Cohen. Donald Trump picked Michael Cohen.

COLLINS: Ron, they're noting right now that Trump did ultimately pick Reince Priebus to be chief of staff. And Cohen clarifies, quote, that I wasn't considered. Yes, sir. You know, it's funny what you said just there, Ron, about how you don't want to talk about what's actually at the heart of this because that was actually exactly what we heard from Trump's allies.

When Stormy Daniels was on this stand on and was making, you know, all of these allegations in great detail about her sexual encounter that she alleges happened with Donald Trump. They were saying, well, this is a documents case. That's not even about why we're here in the courtroom. And you're saying maybe that is them using to that -- to their advantage.

Talking about things, whether Michael Cohen got a job or not in the White House isn't actually relevant to what ultimately is here at the heart of this, which is falsifying business records. But you're saying that they just want to talk about that instead of focusing on those allegations?

KUBY: Well, that's right. And honestly, it's not hard to understand why the actual evidence is fairly damning. Whereas it's much easier and certainly makes for much better press coverage, if you're out there, attacking the crucial witness about all of the lies that he is told at every point in his past.


But ultimately, I don't think that's going to make terribly much difference to the jury. Although honestly, we have no idea who's ahead, who's behind, who's scoring, who's not, and we won't know any of those things until the jury speaks. This is not a sporting event.

COLLINS: Ron, right now, Todd Blanche is pushing Michael Cohen on what title he wanted. Because Michael Cohen told his daughter that Trump wasn't happy with the title that he was seeking, which was Blanche pushing Cohen to admit that he wanted to be a special counsel inside the Trump administration.

Does the jury factor that in? No, if it was someone who clearly wanted something and didn't get it. And then this could be seen as vengeful, you know, posturing after that. Could that resonate with this jury?

All right, we'll check on Ron's audio. Make sure he can hear us as he is standing outside the courthouse. We're here on the other side of the courthouse. And Paula, I mean, this is very clearly a tactic that you're seeing Todd Blanche use of trying to get Cohen to admit this. Even though it's not -- you know, this has nothing to do with the checks and the payback, all of us have already happened.

At that point, Michael Cohen had already paid Stormy Daniels. By the time all of this was happening going back and forth. And you know, it reminds me Michael Cohen was so upset when he got its bonus at Christmas that you said -- that they just got their bonuses in, you know, Christmas vacation style and a card that they got. And his -- when he opened, it realized it was two thirds less than what he thought it was going to be.

And he kind of speaks his mindset at this time. And he's saying my daughter may have called it special counsel to the president saying, he wanted to be personal attorney, but she ultimately was. But it's fixed his mindset at the time of feeling aggrieved that Trump didn't do -- wasn't willing to do for him what he did for Trump.

REID: And I think one of the places that they could go with this. Based on my conversations with people familiar with this strategy is that remember, in 2017, he does kind of get this role informally, right? He's kind of representing him as a personal attorney outside the White House working on behalf of the family. He's also submitting invoices, right, for legal services that are at the heart of this case.

And one of the things that Trump team is going to argue is that, yes, he was submitting invoices. He insists that they were false. And they were meant as part of a conspiracy to falsify business records. But we argue that, in fact, this was all part of his work for the president, the role that he wanted, the role he had already -- always done.

He pointed on direct examination that he didn't have a retainer. They're going to point out that he had never had a retainer agreement and the entire time he had worked for Trump. So that shouldn't be significant.

Now, this is likely all going to lead to 2017. And the work Cohen was doing outside the White House for Trump and this invoices he submitted. So, I think eventually, they will be able to bring this back to the case. But it also speaks to the fact that he was aggrieved.

COLLINS: And Michael Cohen is saying, I didn't want the general counsel's office. I always wanted the title, personal attorney to the president. I always said, there's no shame of being a personal attorney to the president. This is a well war testimony for him. And Blanche is challenging that saying, communication suggests there's no mention of personal attorney in these texts with his daughter.

I mean, they're really getting into the heart of this. And I do think this speaks to the defense strategy, which is take each part of what they believe he's lying about, even if it's not actually work. They're going to get to, you know, later in the day about the case.

HOLMES: Yeah. And then Cohen says, no, I always wanted to be personal attorney. And now as Blanche and Cohen are going back and forth over whether Cohen had wanted to be in the White House role. Trump is starting to look in Cohen's direction, which says to me that Trump is hearing some kind of tension in Michael Cohen's voice and wants to see what his reaction is here.

One of the things he knows that Donald Trump has been urging Todd Blanche to try and get a reaction from Michael Cohen. Michael Cohen, somebody we know is very reactionary. So far, it's only been slight hints at the kind of reaction they're looking for a little bit of an escalation of his voice, a little bit of talking faster. But not the kind of all-out argument that we saw during his civil fraud case with Alina Habba.

COLLINS: Well, and this is so different than when Susan Necheles was cross-examining Stormy Daniels. Susan Necheles is a seasoned defense attorney. Todd Blanche has not done a ton of cross-examinations. He was a prosecutor before this. This isn't, you know, really his bread and butter. He's done some, but not this. You can see the difference in their styles.

Susan Necheles had a very rapid-fire questioning. She'd asked a question. She knew was going to get that there was going to be an objection to, but it's still -- it's already out there. The jury already heard it. She already asked him.

REID: Todd Blanche is taking his career in many ways on this case. He left his firm to defend Trump in this case. He took -- he has chances. I think on Tuesday doing that cross -- that cross-examination where he's jumping all over the place and bringing up some pretty times amusing, times offensive, social media posts in previous statements.

That didn't quite work. It's clear he used yesterday to review his strategy going back this from a different direction and it's much, much more effective. And I expect by the end of the day, they will get into more of what Cohen said on direct examination.


COLLINS: Yeah. Jake, back to you as we continue to see calling back and forth between Todd Blanche and Michael Cole.

TAPPER: Yeah. And Todd Blanche really making the case that in their -- in this theory and this narrative from the defense, from the Trump side. That all of this is rooted in Michael Cohen not being asked to go to the White House with Donald Trump after Trump won in November 2016.

He -- Blanche continues to push Cohen on his true desires to be a part of the Trump administration. Cohen acknowledges. He told his daughter Trump was not happy with the title I wanted. Blanche pushes Cohen to admit he wanted the position of special counsel to the president within the Trump administration.

My daughter may have called it special counsel to the president, Cohen says. The roll I will ask President Trump for was personal attorney to the president, Cohen says. He asks -- he says that he had wanted the hybrid role with access to Trump, but also outside the government.

Even after November 2016, he was still looking for a position in the White House, Blanche asks? Yes, sir -- no sir. I was still looking for that same time personal attorney to the president. At what point did you switch from wanting to work in the White House to being personal attorney, Blanche asks. I didn't want the general counsel's office, Cohen says.

I made that crystal clear. I always wanted the title personal attorney to the president. I always said there's no shame of being personal attorney to the president of the United States. As Blanche and Cohen are going back and forth over whether Cohen had wanted a White House role. Trump is looking in Cohen's direction, we're told.

Your daughter said that President Trump and his new people were walking all over you, Blanche asks? Yes sir, Cohen says. You agreed with that, didn't you, Blanche asks? At the time, Cohen says. And we should remember and we're getting the clip ready.

But in 2019, when Cohen did testify before Congress, this was an argument that Jim Jordan, the Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee made to Michael Cohen. You're only doing this because you're bitter. You didn't get the role in the White House that you wanted. And that's why you have turned on Donald Trump.

Blanche said, you agreed with that, didn't you? This is the idea as posited by Michael Cohen's daughter to Michael Cohen, that Trump and his new people were walking all over him. You agreed with that, didn't you? Cohen says, at the time. Again, this is not necessarily relevant to the case itself against Donald Trump. But this is the defense trying to undermine anything Michael Cohen says.

What do you think? We'll start with Laura. Then Elie, is as effective, is it working?

COATES: Well, you know, it is very clear that this -- today's Michael Cohen does not like Donald Trump. There are suitcases if not truckloads of information to support that particular conclusion. The idea of the jury looking at this and saying, so you are a kind of mastermind to then, do that what you have alleged to have done. All with the hopes of one day having this FDNY pass on a case, the federal government passed on a case.

Alvin Bragg to be elected and then build this case, and then include you in it through a subpoena. All to have their vengeance I have not been hired in Washington D.C. might be a stretch for the jurors. But what is odd to me is that this like a very easy concession he could make.

I mean, you lose credibility when you don't say, I don't know, when you really don't know something. When you don't admit to what's obvious. And I don't see how it would actually hurt Michael Cohen to admit. I was disappointed. I wanted a job there. Especially after all that I have said I've done for him. Todd Blanche (Ph) includes helping to get you there by trying to allegedly hide this payment of Stormy Daniels.

HONIG: Yeah. Because Michael Cohen refuses to say just that this has become a double-edged sword now. Now they get to argue, he's bitter A, and he's been dishonest about it because it's incompetent -- his claim now that he really didn't care if he went into the White House with Trump or not, is contradicted.

A, by prior prosecution witnesses. I think it was Keith Davidson. I'm not entirely certain. But I think it was Keith Davidson, who said, he told me. Cohen told me he was really ticked off. He didn't get this job. And B, to some extent.

TAPPER: That's right. He was Keith Davidson because it was odd. HONIG: Right.

TAPPER: And I think Keith Davidson even remarked on how odd it was that Michael Cohen who we barely knew was venting --


HONIG: Right. And the text with a daughter, I mean you want to be careful with text between a parent and a child. But they do support the idea that Michael Cohen, while this was playing out, while he's getting passed over, he's frustrating.

TAPPER: So, let me just ask Mr. Lanza. You were on the campaign in 2016. What is your memory of Michael Cohen's expectations for the job he was going to get in the administration? If you have any.

BRYAN LANZA, FORMER DEPUTY COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR, TRUMP-PENCE CAMPAIGN: Yeah, I do. And I definitely want to be very careful because I don't want to get called to testify.

TAPPER: Right, right. For Sure.

LANZA: But at least to me, Michael Cohen was pretty adamant that he wanted to be White House counsel. He said everything he was doing was to be White House counsel. He's always inject himself with a -- the space that I was in, which was the TV space because Trump cared a lot about it.

Just so, you know, I always viewed -- he was always positioning, and he was pretty clear that he wanted to be White House counsel. That doesn't mean I want to testify before anything Monday or Tuesday or Wednesday. But you know, you're asking me, I'm not Michael Cohen. I'll tell you the truth.


HUNT: So yeah -- you know, my sort of big picture question here is like is Cohen perjuring himself here like what is -- like is he getting himself in trouble by saying this if there's all this testimony to the contrary?

ZELENY: Trump would have to take the stand for that to be true. And I mean, I guess they're not going to be doing that so.

TAPPER: Well, but they could. I mean --


HONIG: It's too wishy washy for perjury. Yeah. I mean, the short answer is, it happens all the time where a witness says that never happened. Some other witness says, yes, it did. Now, it's not great if you're the prosecutor, but it's not going to rise to the level where it's --

TAPPER: Yeah. Not to mention, also there are all these other much more significant lies he told under oath before Congress, before this judge, before that judge.

HUNT: I just -- it's the risk that he has been having on the stand right, that something bad could happen to him if he didn't tell the truth. They're hinging on what -- they're hanging a lot on that.

HONIG: Let me ask about that one on redirect.

BASH: Who begs the question. Yeah, they might, which begs the question that you asked, Laura, and I'll put it to you. And I don't think this will make you fall before this his work.

LANZA: He's heading to Mexico tomorrow.


TAPPER: Just leave an address -- just leave an address for the subpoena.

BASH: Actually, just on this -- on this issue, just tell the truth. Or tell consistent stories about his desire to work in the White House. If it's not the hill that he needs to die on in order to help the prosecution make their case that could convict Donald Trump.

TAPPER: Here it is, by the way. Blanche asked, did you express disappointment to Pastor Scott repeatedly that President Trump hadn't brought you into the administration? But go ahead. I'm sorry. Darrell Scott is a member of Trump's diversity coalition.

LANZA: I mean, listen, you know, the question becomes is -- you know, that I asked myself here today is why would Michael Cohen ever tell the truth? So, him lying under oath right now is sort of consistent from the Michael Cohen I've interacted with in 2016. Got to know through 2020.

You know, it's sort of lying is sort of second nature. It seems like low hanging fruit to tell the truth. Why would you lie, especially with so many of us on the campaign in the communication shop, who know what he has said to us.

TAPPER: Right. And obviously, Pastor Scott -- Pastor Darrell Scott, a member of Trump's diversity coalition, had talked to -- had talked to Michael Cohen. And Blanche expressing that you expressed disappointment to Pastor Scott. President Trump had brought you into the administration. Cohen says, not into the administration. I knew the role I wanted. I may have expressed frustration.

Blanche asks Cohen, why did you need to have somebody put in a good word. When you've testified, you spoke to Trump almost every day during the campaign. Blanche gone back to Cohen's application for early termination of supervised release as part of that application. You recall, there were fake legal cases, including the letter around that application, prosecutors object.

The judge is now allowing the question. Cohen is looking at the jury as he's explaining how he used -- he used artificial intelligence to search for court cases. Trump is also staring intently at Cohen as he gives us explanation about the AI cases. I did not have AI on my bingo card on this and certainly not for helping Michael Cohen to present false information.

I do want to bring one quick thing while this is going on. And that is the idea of bitterness being injected into the debate before. And this is Congressman Jim Jordan, the Chairman of the Judiciary Committee -- the Republican Chairman of Judiciary Committee, one of Trump's most ardent defenders in Congress. Going out Michael Cohen on this when he testified in 2019 before Congress?


REP. JIM JORDAN (R-OH): Mr. Cohen, how long did you -- how long you worked in the White House?

MICHAEL COHEN, LAWYER: I never worked in the White House.

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

COHEN: No sir.

JORDAN: Yes, it is.

COHEN: No, it's not.

Jordan: You wanted to work in the White House?

Cohen: No sir.

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

COHEN: Sir, I was extremely proud to be personal attorney to the president of the United States of America. I did not want to go to the White House. I was offered jobs.


TAPPER: So, Bryan Lanza, that's not your memory of the fact.

LANZA: No, it feels like lying to Congress to me.

TAPPER: Yeah. Elie, what is this AI stuff?

HONIG: So, Michael Cohen has been asking to get out from supervised release. When you're finished serving a federal prison sentence, you are then on supervised release, meaning you're home, but you have to report into pretrial services. There could be limitations on what you do.

Cohen has asked to end his supervised release early I think four times now. In one of those, there was fact finding on this. The facts are Michael Cohen ended up finding some cases on his computer. Turns out he was using an AI general --

TAPPER: Finding for what purpose? HONIG: Because he was trying to make a motion -- illegal motion to the judge saying, here's why you should release me early from supervised release. He had some cases that he thought supported.

TAPPER: And he is an attorney. Or he wasn't.

HONIG: He was. Yeah.


HONIG: So, Michael Cohen goes into his computer, enters -- you know, whatever his search query is into something that he claimed, and the judge agreed that it was inadvertent. Cohen said give me cases. I don't know what -- you know, give me cases that support what I'm doing here. And he gets this list of cases.

Cohen then forwards those fake cases to his actual lawyer who puts them in a brief that gets submitted to the court. The judge realizes these are fake cases has a whole hearing about it. And we do have to say though, it's important. The judge found that it was an inadvertent sloppy, inadvertent mistake by Michael Cohen. He wasn't trying to trick the judge with fake cases. He probably thought he was googling, but he was actually in Google Gemini.

TAPPER: So, Blanche says, as part of this application, you recall there were fake legal cases including in the letter.