Donald Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen claimed the Government shutdown is ‘absolutely wrong’ and ‘shouldn’t he happening’.
Cohen, 52, exclusively told Dailymail.com that the shutdown caused by the impasse over the $5 million funding for Trump’s border wall is ‘absolutely wrong, and shouldn’t be happening right now’.
Cohen, who was sentenced last month to three years in jail for a series of crimes, was spotted going for lunch in New York City on Wednesday and appeared relaxed as he spoke to a Dailymail.com reporter.
Michael Cohen (left) slammed his former boss Donald Trump (right) and said the Government shutdown is ‘wrong and shouldn’t be happening’
Asked what he thought of his former boss’ address to the nation in which he painted a terrifying picture of drugs and violence spilling across the border as illegal immigrants pour in, Cohen retorted wryly: ‘Facts matter’.
It is thought that Cohen was heading to Barneys for a lunch meeting and appeared in good spirits as he spoke to a friend on his cellphone.
Last month a federal judge sentenced longtime Donald Trump lawyer Michael Cohen to three years in jail for a series of crimes to which he pleaded guilty, saying his cooperation with the Russia probe ‘does not wipe the slate clean.’
As an attorney, Cohen ‘should have known better,’ said the judge, following dramatic courtroom arguments that featured repeated references to President Trump – including his attacks on Cohen as ‘weak’ and a ‘rat’.
Cohen shed tears in the courtroom as he sought leniency and reflected on decisions in his life that he now regrets – including his own ‘blind loyalty’ to Trump, a man who helped make him rich and later ‘directed’ him to engage in one of the crimes he pleaded guilty to committing.
Cohen won’t have to report to jail until March 6, and could still get a further discount to his time if he cooperates.
It is understood that Cohen (pictured) was heading to Barneys for lunch Wednesday as he stepped out in New York City
Cohen appeared to be busy as he spoke to an acquaintance on his cellphone while walking
Cohen was sentenced last month to three years in jail for a series of crimes including orchestrating hush payments to women in violation of campaign laws before the 2016 election
An anguished Cohen pleaded with a Judge William Pauley to be able to stay out of jail, and expressed regret for trying to cover up Trump’s ‘dirty deeds.’
The former right-hand man to the man who became president also will have to hand over to the government nearly $2 million in combined restitution and fines, having dodged taxes while assembling real estate and taxi business holdings as a top hand to the Trump Organization.
‘Recently the president tweeted a statement calling me weak and it was correct, but for a much different reason than he was implying,’ Cohen told a federal judge in open court.
‘It was because time and time again I felt it was my duty to cover up his dirty deeds,’ Cohen said.
Michael Cohen is not the only one who criticized Trump’s televised address to the nation in which he claimed illegal immigrants were bringing drugs and violence into the country
US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (right) and Senate Minority Leader Democrat Chuck Schumer (left) accused Trump of having an ‘obsession’ with the border wall and failing to cooperate in a bid to end the Government shutdown
He blasted President Trump for ‘calling me a rat,’ and criticized his longtime employer for trying to sway a proceeding that could in fact ‘implicate’ him.
‘I will continue to cooperate’ with investigators, Cohen pledged.
After he was sentenced, Trump said he never directed Cohen to break any law.
Cohen pleaded guilty to multiple charges, but the one that is most perilous for Trump is a campaign violation.
Prosecutors say a figure identified as ‘Individual-1’ – Trump – ‘directed’ Cohen to make a $130,000 payment to porn star Stormy Daniels, who claims she had an affair with Trump.
Cohen had said in a guilty plea in August that he was directed by Trump to arrange a payment to Playboy model Karen McDougal, and personally pay adult-film star Stormy Daniels.
Cohen said in a guilty plea in August that he was directed by Trump to arrange a payment to Playboy model Karen McDougal (right) and personally pay adult-film star Stormy Daniels (left)
Trump initially denied any payment, but on Thursday put forward the defense that it was his lawyer’s job to know the law.
‘I never directed Michael Cohen to break the law,’ Trump wrote. ‘He was a lawyer and he is supposed to know the law. It is called advice of counsel and a lawyer has great liability if a mistake is made,’ Trump wrote.
‘That is why they get paid,’ he added, before bringing up campaign finance laws in a series of tweets.
Then he claimed Cohen lied to a federal judge in order to shave time off his jail term, and appeared to dangle a hint that Cohen’s family members will be facing prosecution in the future. Cohen was engaged in the taxi medallion business with his father-in-law.
Michael Cohen walks out of a court building in New York after being sentenced to three years in prison
Cohen’s wife Laura Shusterman (left) along with children Samantha and Jake leave his sentence hearing at the United States Federal Court in New York
‘Those charges were just agreed to by him in order to embarrass the president and get a much reduced prison sentence, which he did-including the fact that his family was temporarily let off the hook.
‘As a lawyer, Michael has great liability to me!’ Trump concluded.
Prosecutors in New York confirmed last month in a court filing that they believed the president ordered the payments to protect his campaign.
Trump has denied the affairs and argues the payments to the two women were not campaign contributions.
‘If it were, it’s only civil, and even if it’s only civil, there was no violation based on what we did,’ Trump said in an interview on Tuesday.
U.S. District Judge William Pauley sentenced Cohen to three years for the payments, and unrelated crimes of tax evasion and misleading banks.
He gave Cohen two months for lying to Congress about a proposed Trump Tower project in Russia.