Hours before President Donald Trump’s former attorney and confidante Michael Cohen is set to publicly testify on Capitol Hill, we now have our first glimpse at what he’s preparing to say. And folks, it’s a doozy.
According to his prepared opening statement, Cohen is set to accuse Trump of being, in his words, “a racist,” “a conman,” and “a cheat.”
After noting that he’d lied to protect the president during his last appearance before Congress, Cohen will claim Trump both pressured Cohen to perjure himself, and was himself dishonest about his involvement in plans during the 2016 presidential campaign and beyond to create a Trump Tower in Moscow.
“Mr. Trump did not directly tell me to lie to Congress. That’s not how he operates,” Cohen will say. “In conversations we had during the campaign, at the same time I was actively negotiating in Russia for him, he would look me in the eye and tell me there’s no business in Russia and then go out and lie to the American people by saying the same thing. In his way, he was telling me to lie.”
Cohen will also accuse the president of grotesque (and previously unknown) instances of racism. Per his prepared remarks:
He once asked me if I could name a country run by a black person that wasn’t a “shithole.” This was when Barack Obama was President of the United States.
While we were once driving through a struggling neighborhood in Chicago, he commented that only black people could live that way.
And, he told me that black people would never vote for him because they were too stupid.
Cohen is also prepared to claim that Trump knew of his son Donald Trump Jr.’s ill-fated 2016 meeting with Russian officials in Trump Tower to gather dirt on then-opponent Hillary Clinton. Again, from his remarks:
I also knew that nothing went on in Trump world, especially the campaign, without Mr. Trump’s knowledge and approval. So, I concluded that Don Jr. was referring to that June 2016 Trump Tower meeting about dirt on Hillary with the Russian representative when he walked behind his dad’s desk that day — and that Mr. Trump knew that was the meeting Don Jr. was talking about when he said, “That’s good…let me know.”
It remains to be seen how Cohen will respond to lawmakers’ questions about his and Trump’s conduct over the past few years. But if his opening statement is any indication, Wednesday’s testimony will be one for the record books.