President Trump sought to attack the credibility Friday of his former personal lawyer Michael Cohen by pointing to a book Cohen has reportedly proposed that depicts Trump far more favorably than did the scathing testimony he delivered to Congress this week.
“Book is exact opposite of his fake testimony, which now is a lie!” Trump said in morning tweets, in which he accused Cohen of committing perjury during a congressional hearing and called on Congress to demand the book manuscript, which Trump claimed was recently finished.
“Your heads will spin when you see the lies, misrepresentations and contradictions against his Thursday testimony,” Trump wrote. “Like a different person! He is totally discredited!”
Cohen spent three days on Capitol Hill this week in a dramatic series of public and private hearings in which he apologized for previously lying to lawmakers and divulged what he said Trump knew about financial infractions and Russia’s interference in the 2016 election.
In a public hearing before a House hearing on Wednesday, Cohen also attacked Trump’s character, calling him a con man and a racist and voicing deep regret for working by his side for more than a decade.
In the wake of Cohen’s testimony, the president and his Republican allies have aggressively sought to discredit the former Trump loyalist, who has been sentenced to prison in part for lying to Congress last year.
On Thursday, Reps. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) wrote to Attorney General William P. Barr, asking him to investigate whether Cohen had perjured himself this week when he insisted during his testimony he had not wanted a job in the Trump administration and had been content to serve as Trump’s personal lawyer.
In a statement Thursday night, Lanny J. Davis, a lawyer for Cohen, said he had testified truthfully during the Wednesday hearing before the House Oversight Committee.
“It may not be surprising that two pro-Trump Committee members known now have made a baseless criminal referral,” Davis said. “In my opinion, it is a sad misuse of the criminal justice system with the aura of pure partisanship.”
Davis did not immediately respond Friday to a request for comment on Trump’s morning tweets.
In his Friday tweets, Trump highlighted Davis’s associations with the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, whom he referred to as “Crooked Hillary.”
The president also referenced a description of Cohen’s book as a “love letter to Trump.” That echoed a characterization of a Cohen book proposal by journalist Liz Plank of Vox Media during a February 2018 appearance on MSNBC.
During that broadcast, MSNBC host Ari Melber said Cohen had confirmed to him that he was working on a “tell-all book” about Trump.
In other tweets Friday, Trump suggested Democrats were using Cohen to investigate his business dealings and finances because a two-year investigation into possible coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign “has fallen apart.”
Trump repeated his call to “stop this corrupt and illegally brought Witch Hunt” and said prosecutors should start looking at Democrats “where real crimes were committed.”
Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, who is investigating the Russian election interference and whether Trump obstructed the probe, is expected to deliver a report to the Justice Department in coming weeks on his findings.
Republicans seeking to discredit Cohen also seized Friday on a video clip that has recently resurfaced from a November 2016 appearance by Cohen on CNN.
During the interview, Cohen is pressed by CNN’s Chris Cuomo about whether he would move from New York to Washington with Trump.
Asked if there’s a chance Trump would ask him to take a job on either “the political side” or the “governmental side,” Cohen says, “I certainly hope so.” Asked if he would go to Washington, Cohen says, “One hundred percent.”
During Wednesday’s congressional testimony, Cohen told lawmakers he was “extremely proud” to be the personal attorney for Trump as he became president.
“I did not want to go to the White House. I was offered jobs,” he said.
Davis issued a statement Friday calling the focus on the video a “classic Trump tactic we have seen for a long time — divert and disparage rather than confront facts and tell the truth.”
“The fact is, early on, Michael speculated about a possible position in the Administration,” Davis said. “But he consulted with his family and friends and decided he preferred to stay at home in New York City and be ‘personal attorney to the President.’ ”
Matt Zapotosky and Karoun Demirjian contributed to this report.