In a secretly-recorded phone call between President Donald Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen and actor Tom Arnold, Cohen seemed to walk back parts of his guilty plea and had some LOL WHAT TF IS GOING ON HERE things to say about Trump, lawyer Michael Avenatti, and more.
Despite pleading guilty to campaign finance violations stemming from hush money payments to Stormy Daniels and other financial crimes, Cohen denied some responsibility in a recording of his and Arnold’s March 25 phone call, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Arnold, who was a contestant on Trump’s Apprentice and has for months been searching for unaired show recordings in which the president allegedly says the n-word, recorded the phone call without Cohen’s knowledge and provided the recording to the Journal. He told the publication he had called Cohen for moral support and wanted to record the conversation because Cohen “tapes everything and I wanted to remember what we talked about.”
In the recording, Cohen bemoaned all he’s lost in the proceedings. From the Journal:
“You would think that you would have folks, you know, stepping up and saying, ‘You know what, this guy’s lost everything,’” Mr. Cohen said during the March 25 call, recorded without Mr. Cohen’s knowledge by the actor and comedian Tom Arnold.
“My family’s happiness, and my law license,” Mr. Cohen continued. “I lost my business…my insurance, my bank accounts, all for what? All for what? Because Trump, you know, had an affair with a porn star? That’s really what this is about.”
Cohen also claimed he didn’t actually do some of the crimes he pleaded guilty to, telling Arnold: “There is no tax evasion...It’s a lie.” He also seemed to say he pleaded guilty to other charges to shield his wife from public scrutiny:
Speaking privately with Mr. Arnold, Mr. Cohen said he had pleaded guilty to the charges in August because “they had me on campaign finance” and prosecutors were targeting his wife. Mr. Cohen had failed to disclose to the Internal Revenue Service more than $2.4 million in interest payments he had received from loans, some of which were deposited in an account under his wife’s name, New York federal prosecutors wrote in a court filing. Mr. Cohen’s wife declined to comment.
“I love this woman, and I am not going to let her get dragged into the mud of this crap,” Mr. Cohen said. “And I never thought the judge was going to throw a three-year fricking sentence.”
Coincidentally enough, the day Arnold and Cohen spoke was the same day Avenatti, who previously represented Stormy Daniels in a defamation case against Trump, was arrested for allegedly trying to extort Nike. (Avenatti has denied the charges.) So, of course, Cohen also talked shit about Avenatti on the call and, when asked for comment by the paper, the combative lawyer hit right back:
“Look at what’s happening to Avenatti—it’s called karma boomerang,” Mr. Cohen told Mr. Arnold. “The guy lied about me every single day, right? And the world loved it.”
Asked for comment, Mr. Avenatti called Mr. Cohen “a convicted felon who tampered with an election for Trump’s benefit.”
“Everything I said about him was 100% true, including that he is ignorant as further evidenced by his use of the term ‘karma boomerang,’” he said.
As you might expect, Cohen saved his most scathing critiques for Trump, saying that he didn’t mind Trump’s reprehensible behavior as a real estate mogul because he had little power compared to, say, running the United States of America. Once again, from the Journal:
Mr. Cohen also criticized the president. “I always knew, you know, who he was and what he was and so on, but it didn’t really matter because it’s—he’s a small microcosm of New York real estate.” Mr. Cohen suggested it was a “very different” matter to accept Mr. Trump’s behavior as president.
“They put sanctions on North Korea and he removes them because he likes Kim Jong Un, because he’s ‘my friend’?” Mr. Cohen said, alluding to how the president described the North Korean leader in a February tweet and to sanctions Mr. Trump decided not to apply in March. “What kind of nonsense is this?”
“What kind of nonsense is this?” is RIGHT! In response, Lanny Davis, Cohen’s lawyer, told the Journal Cohen has “taken responsibility for his crimes” and “meant no offense by his statements” during the call.
Cohen will begin serving his three-year prison sentence on May 6—although he was still making appeals to Democrats to help get him a lighter sentence earlier this month—so there’s plenty of time for him and Arnold to catch up again before then.