The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Trump promised to drain the swamp. Michael Cohen shows the swamp is just fine.

Trump said he would drain the swamp, even as his personal lawyer sold access to the president for hundreds of thousands of dollars. (Video: JM Rieger/The Washington Post)

The BBC reported Wednesday that President Trump’s former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, was paid at least $400,000 to arrange talks between Trump and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko last year.

The allegation, which Cohen denies, follows previous reports that Cohen was paid at least $2.95 million in consulting fees after Trump’s victory.

Cohen’s reported consulting contracts included:

Cohen also reportedly offered consulting services to Ford Motor Co., Uber and Qatar.

Trump repeatedly railed against “consultants” in the final months of the 2016 presidential campaign, telling voters that a Hillary Clinton presidency would create a “constitutional crisis” because of her “pay-for-play” corruption.

“I’m going to … expand the definition of lobbyists,” Trump said on Oct. 18, 2016. “So that we close all the loopholes that former government officials use by labeling themselves as consultants and advisers when we all know that really what they are is lobbyists.”

Entering the final week of the 2016 presidential election, there was only one issue voters trusted Donald Trump to handle better than Hillary Clinton: corruption in government.

Voters trusted Trump by a nine-point margin, the largest margin for either candidate of the five issues polled in an Oct. 30-Nov. 2 Washington Post-ABC News Tracking Poll.

Now, 16 months into Trump’s first term, there are at least 181 former lobbyists working in his administration, according to ProPublica. And even after signing an executive order barring former lobbyists from working in government, Trump’s White House has issued dozens of ethics waivers to allow for just the opposite.

During an August 2016 appearance on Fox News, Cohen said Trump would not “take advantage of the American people for [his] own pocket,” unlike Hillary Clinton.

“Donald Trump doesn’t need that,” Cohen said. “He’s plenty rich.”