Michael Cohen, former personal attorney to President Donald Trump, admitted that he discussed with Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) “topics that might come up” in preparation for his Wednesday hearing before the House Oversight Committee.
“I spoke to Mr. Schiff about topics that were going to be raised at the upcoming hearing,” Cohen told Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) when pressed about the pair’s past discussion.
“Whoa,” Jordan responded. “Not just what time you’re going to show up, but what you’re going to talk about? Whoa.”
— CBS News (@CBSNews) February 27, 2019
The admission was immediately spun by members of the establishment media — namely the Washington Post’s Aaron Blake, a frequent critic of the president, who tweeted what he called a “pretty simple likely explanation” as to why Cohen and Schiff spoke before his testimony: “They needed to decide what topics were on- or off-limits, because of investigations.”
Jim Jordan expresses shock that Cohen discussed topics of his testimony with House Intel Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.).
There's a pretty simple likely explanation: They needed to decide what topics were on- or off-limits, because of investigations.
— Aaron Blake (@AaronBlake) February 27, 2019
Schiff, who is expected to question Cohen Thursday when the former Trump attorney testifies before the House Intelligence Committee Thursday, said earlier Wednesday that the president engaged in illegal activity while in office if this testimony is factual.
“So, that’s pretty breathtaking when you think about it, that the president of the United States is allegedly paying hush money as president of the United States, and misleading the country about it.” the California Democrat added. “And that’s pretty serious business.”
As part of his testimony before House investigators Wednesday, Cohen claimed President Trump is a “racist,” a “con man,” and a “cheat,” and he regrets working for him.
Cohen said he acted to benefit his former boss and his campaign for president in 2016 out of “blind” loyalty which he now realizes was misplaced.
He also claimed to have witnessed an incident in 2016 when Donald Trump Jr. whispered something to then-candidate Trump about a meeting — which Cohen retroactively believes was in reference to the infamous Trump Tower meeting where the eldest Trump son met with Russian nationals. The former lawyer said he does not have hard evidence of the Trump campaign colluding with Russia.
The former Trump lawyer told the panel that being around the real estate “icon” was “intoxicating” to the point that he ignored his conscience. He also said as a general rule of business, President Trump inflates his net worth when it benefits him and downplays his income at tax time.
The Agence France-Presse contributed to this report.