Michael Cohen Will Reportedly Testify That President Trump Engaged in Criminal Conduct While in Office

Michael Cohen, former attorney for Donald Trump, walking on Capitol Hill on Thursday. (PHOTO: TOM WILLIAMS/CQ ROLL CALL/NEWSCOM/ZUMA PRESS)
Michael Cohen, former attorney for Donald Trump, walking on Capitol Hill on Thursday. (PHOTO: TOM WILLIAMS/CQ ROLL CALL/NEWSCOM/ZUMA PRESS)

Michael Cohen, Donald Trump’s former lawyer, will on Wednesday for the first time publicly accuse the president of criminal conduct while in office related to a hush-money payment to a porn star, a person familiar with his planned testimony before Congress said.

Appearing before the House Oversight Committee, Mr. Cohen also will make public some of Mr. Trump’s private financial statements and allege that Mr. Trump at times inflated or deflated his net worth for business and personal purposes, including avoiding paying property taxes, the person said. The financial statements were developed by Mr. Trump’s accountant, the person said. The Wall Street Journal hasn’t seen those statements.

On Tuesday morning, Mr. Cohen met behind closed doors with the Senate Intelligence Committee. “I’d say the tone was serious,” Sen. Roy Blunt (R., Mo.), a committee member, told reporters.

Mr. Cohen’s testimony on Wednesday is expected to focus on his “behind-the-scenes” accounts of working for Mr. Trump for over a decade, a period during which Mr. Cohen will say he witnessed “lies, racism and cheating” by Mr. Trump, the person said.

Mr. Cohen is expected to recount racist remarks Mr. Trump allegedly made to him, including instances in which Mr. Trump allegedly questioned the intelligence of African-Americans and criticized their lifestyle choices, the person said.

Mr. Cohen’s planned testimony comes 13 months after The Wall Street Journal first reported that Mr. Cohen paid $130,000 in October 2016 to former adult-film star Stephanie Clifford, known as Stormy Daniels, to buy her silence after she alleged having a sexual encounter with Mr. Trump.

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SOURCE: Rebecca Ballhaus and Warren P. Strobel
The Wall Street Journal