‘He lied a lot’: Trump blasts Michael Cohen’s bombshell testimony for intruding on his Vietnam summit but trumpets former lawyer’s statement he has no ‘direct evidence’ of collusion
- Trump told reporters in Vietnam Cohen ‘lied’ during his testimony
- He said it was ‘shameful’ that a committee scheduled his testimony during summit talks
- Cohen testified he heard a conversation where Roger Stone told Trump he spoke to Wikileaks
- Also said a Trump Tower conversation raised suspicions Trump might have known about tower meeting with Russians
- He also said Trump quizzed him repeatedly about Moscow tower deal
- But Cohen also said he had no ‘direct evidence’ of collusion
President Donald Trump unloaded both on Michael Cohen and on lawmakers who scheduled his bombshell testimony that intruded on his nuclear summit with Kim Jong Un.
Trump blasted the ‘shameful’ decision by lawmakers to schedule Cohen’s testimony during his summit – although lawmakers tried to lock it in for weeks to get Trump’s longtime lawyer on record before he began his jail sentence.
It was ‘pretty shameful I think,’ Trump vented.
The president called it a ‘fake hearing,’ saying: ‘Having a fake hearing like that and having it in the middle of this very important summit is really a terrible thing. They could have made it two days later or next week.’
He took a single question on Cohen during a press briefing, where he called on reporter after reporter from a foreign press section that he did not recognize, including ‘person in the front’ and a man in a windbreaker who introduced himself as being ‘from China.’
President Donald Trump took a single question on Michael Cohen during a press conference Thursday
This allowed Trump to keep the event mostly about the Nuclear summit – even though it collapsed with no joint statement after what Trump said were Kim’s demands that all sanctions be lifted in exchange for limited concessions.
‘He lied a lot’ Trump said. But then he complimented Cohen for something.
‘He didn’t lie about one thing. He said no collusion with the Russian hoax,’ Trump said, deeply paraphrasing.
Cohen testified he had no ‘direct evidence’ of collusion with Russia
Trump spoke after his summit suddenly ended early with no joint statement
‘He lied about so many different things,’ Trump said without getting into specifics. ‘He said no collusion and I was a little impressed by that frankly. He could have gone all out … The fact is there is no collusion. I was impressed with the fact,’ Trump said.
Cohen testified: ‘Questions have been raised about whether I know of direct evidence that Mr. Trump or his campaign colluded with Russia. I do not, and I want to be clear. But I have my suspicions,” Cohen said.
Although he took a Cohen question, the president appeared to be executing at his press conference of keeping the focus on North Korea, despite the collapse of efforts to reach a joint statement.
He called on multiple reporters seated in a section reserved for foreign press, including a skein of people who don’t normally cover domestic politics.
Cohen’s appearances in Congress often overshadowed, or at least impinged, on the summit.
Cohen showed up in the Capitol Wednesday just as Trump touched down. The president admitted he watched some of Cohen’s testimony and got briefed on other parts.
It ran into the early hours of Thursday morning, since Hanoi is 12 hours ahead of Washington time.
Although Trump seized on Cohen’s refusal to say he had evidence of collusion, he also told lawmakers at the House Oversight Committee about multiple concerns he had.
He testified about a conversation in 2016 where he said Trump put Roger Stone on speakerphone while the longtime advisor said Julian Assange told him of an imminent dump of emails that would be harmful to Hillary Clinton.
He also said after reading about the infamous Trump Tower meeting with Russians, he recalled an early June 2016 meeting with Trump where Donald Trump Jr. walked into the room.
The president’s son walked behind his desk and said ‘the meeting’s all set,’ Cohen testified. Trump responded to the effect: ”OK, let me know,’ Cohen said.
He also said Trump quizzed him on a proposed Trump Moscow tower project worth hundreds of millions of dollars, even as Trump denied any business in Russia.
Although he didn’t testify Trump told him to lie to Congress, Trump said he knew what Trump wanted when the president told him he had no business with Russia.