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Trump a 'conman,' 'racist,' 'cheat': Cohen

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Trump a 'conman,' 'racist,' 'cheat': Cohen

Trump a 'conman,' 'racist,' 'cheat': Cohen

The president's former personal lawyer told Congress that Trump is a "racist," a "conman" and a "cheat" who knew in advance about a release of emails by WikiLeaks aimed at hurting his 2016 Democratic presidential rival.

Zachary Goelman reports.

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Trump a 'conman,' 'racist,' 'cheat': Cohen

(SOUNDBITE) (English) FORMER TRUMP ATTORNEY MICHAEL COHEN, SAYING: "The last time I appeared before Congress I came to protect Mr. Trump.

Today, I'm here to tell the truth about Mr. Trump." Donald Trump's former lawyer Michael Cohen on Wednesday publicly about the man he once said he’d take a bullet for.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) FORMER TRUMP ATTORNEY MICHAEL COHEN, SAYING: β€œI am ashamed because I know what Mr. Trump is.

He is a racist.

He is a conman.

He is a cheat.” Cohen said that Trump directed him to pursue a Trump Organization skyscraper in Moscow during the 2016 campaign, despite claiming to have "ZERO investments in Russia." Cohen alleged Trump knew, through his adviser Roger Stone, that Wikileaks planned to release e-mails stolen from Hillary Clinton's campaign in an effort to undermine the Democrat.

And Cohen said Trump ordered him to pay $130,000 to an adult film star known as Stormy Daniels in order to cover up a sexual affair.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) FORMER TRUMP ATTORNEY MICHAEL COHEN, SAYING: β€œHe asked me to pay off an adult film star, with whom he had an affair, and to lie about it to his wife.

[FLASH] And I am going to jail in part, because of my decision to help Mr. Trump hide that payment from the American people.” Prosecutors say that payment violated federal campaign finance laws.

All this comes as Trump is in Vietnam, hoping for an historic summit with North Korea.

From Hanoi, the president Tweeted, "Michael Cohen was one of many lawyers who represented me (unfortunately)... He is lying in order to reduce his prison time." Cohen has lied to Congress before, and Trump's defenders quickly pointed that out to undercut the lawyer's allegation.

SOUNDBITE (English) U.S. REPUBLICAN REPRESENTATIVE JIM JORDAN OF OHIO, SAYING: β€œThe first announced witness for the 116th Congress is a guy who is going to prison in two months for lying to Congress.” Cohen served Trump loyally for a decade.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP, SAYING: "I always liked Michael.

He's a good person." But after FBI agents raided his office and charged him with felonies, he quickly began to cooperate with investigators.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP, SAYING: "He's a weak person.

And not a very smart person." (SOUNDBITE) (English) FORMER TRUMP ATTORNEY MICHAEL COHEN, SAYING:"I am ashamed that I chose to take part in concealing Mr. Trump's illicit acts rather than listening to my own conscience." Cohen is facing three years in prison for crimes including fraud, finance violations and lying to lawmakers.




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