Michael Cohen: Trump Lied, Cheated in 2016 from ‘Desire to Win’ but ‘Never Expected to Win’

Michael Cohen, US President Donald Trump's former personal attorney, testifies before the House Oversight and Reform Committee in the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on February 27, 2019. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images

Former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen testified before House investigators Wednesday that Donald Trump “never expected to win” the 2016 election, then later agreed with a Democrat lawmaker asserting his former boss wanted to win “at all costs.”

Cohen told the House Oversight Committee that then-candidate Trump knew ahead of time that WikiLeaks had emails damaging to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, and he testified that the president is a “racist,” a “conman,” and a “cheat.”

Cohen also suggested that President Trump also implicitly told him to lie about a Moscow real estate project. Cohen has pleaded guilty to lying to Congress about the project, which he says the president knew about as Cohen was negotiating with Russia during the 2016 election campaign. “To be clear, Mr. Trump knew of and directed the Trump Moscow negotiations throughout the campaign and lied about it,” Cohen said. “He lied about it because he never expected to win the election.”

However, in his exchange with Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the 2016 Democrat National Committee chair, Cohen testified that then-candidate Trump would do anything to win.

“Is it likely that Donald Trump was fully aware and every intent on working with Russia to help make sure he could win the presidency at all costs?” Wasserman Schultz asked Cohen.

“This is a matter that’s currently being handled by House Select and Senate Select Intelligence Committees and so I would rather not answer that specific question, other than just to tell you that Mr. Trump’s desire to win would have him work with anyone,” the former Trump lawyer replied.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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