Trump lashes out at Michael Cohen as he accuses ex-lawyer of lying 'about 95%' in testimony

'I think having a fake hearing like that and having it in the middle of this very important summit is a terrible thing,' US president says

Tom Embury-Dennis
Thursday 28 February 2019 09:40
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Trump calls Michael Cohen a liar following televised testimony

Donald Trump has used a press conference at his North Korea summit in Vietnam to accuse Michael Cohen of lying “almost 95 per cent” in his testimony to congress.

The Hanoi summit intended to address North Korea’s nuclear ambitions was cut short on Thursday afternoon after the Trump administration and Kim Jong-un failed to reach an agreement.

In a hastily convened news conference by the White House, the US president was asked what he thought of Cohen’s evidence to the House oversight committee on Wednesday, in which he branded his former boss a “racist, conman, and cheat“.

“I tried to watch as much as I could, I wasn’t able to watch too much because I’ve been a little bit busy,” Mr Trump said. “But I think having a fake hearing like that and having it in the middle of this very important summit is a terrible thing. They could have made it two days later or next week and it would have been even better, they would have had more time. But having during this very important summit is incredible.”

Mr Trump next wrongly claimed Cohen had told lawmakers there had been no collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. Mr Cohen in fact said he had no “direct evidence” bu that, “I have my suspicions”.

Mr Trump said: “He lied a lot, but it was very interesting, because he didn’t lie about one thing. He said ‘No collusion with the Russian hoax’, and I said, ‘I wonder why he didn’t lie about that too like he did about everything else’.

“He lied about so many things. I was actually impressed that he didn’t say, ‘Well I think there was collusion for this reason or that’. He didn’t say that. He said, ‘No collusion’, and I was a little impressed by that frankly, he could have gone all out. He went about 95 per cent instead of 100 per cent.

“But the fact is is there is no collusion and I call it the witch hunt. This should never happen to another president, this is so bad for our country, so bad, and you look at this whole hoax, I call it the Russian witch hunt, I now add the word ‘hoax’.”

He concluded: “The most important question up there was the one on collusion and he said he saw no collusion. So we’ll see what happens, but it was pretty shameful I think.”

Cohen’s explosive public testimony on Wednesday, in which he presented evidence Mr Trump was aware of illegal hush money payments and that he personally reimbursed his former fixer, will be followed on Thursday by a behind closed doors grilling by a congressional panel investigating Russia’s interference in the 2016 election.

Michael Cohen: 'I fear that if Trump loses the election in 2020 there will never be a peaceful transition of power'

In his third and final Capitol Hill session this week, Cohen will testify to the House Intelligence Committee, which has been probing Russian election meddling and any collusion with the Trump campaign.

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