White House

Trump: Cohen book pitch shows he ‘committed perjury on a scale not seen before’

As House Dems, federal and state officials ramp up probes, president calls for all to ‘stop’

Michael Cohen, former attorney for President Donald Trump, testifies before the House Oversight and Reform Committee on Wednesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump on Friday demanded that lawmakers obtain a transcript of a book reportedly pushed by his former fixer Michael Cohen that paints a very different picture of his former client than he described to a House panel on Wednesday.

The president also lodged a major allegation against Cohen, who already has pleaded guilty to lying to Congress, saying he “committed perjury on a scale not seen before” during testimony this week.

Cohen told the House Oversight and Reform Committee during a marathon hearing this week that Trump is a “con man,” a “cheat” and a “racist.” As the hearing plodded on, the former Trump personal attorney espoused allegations of campaign finance law violations, bank fraud, tax code violations, insurance fraud, 500 threats he made on Trump’s behalf and numerous lies the president has told, including about ending pursuit of a Trump Tower in Moscow during the 2016 U.S. election.

Watch: Cohen vs. the GOP: The many defenses for Trump

Now, Trump is doing what he always does when backed into a corner: he’s fighting back.

[3 takeaways: Trump-Kim collapse ‘a breakdown that ... didn’t need to happen’]

The president appeared Friday morning to use a Daily Mail report as ammunition that began this way: “President Donald Trump is not crazy. Nor is he dumb or paranoid. Certainly he is not in over his head. Is he a liar? Nope. And he is not addicted to TV either. Who says so? None other than Michael Cohen.”

The UK-based newspaper reported Cohen was floating a book proposal around New York last year before federal agents raided his office and residence before later indicting him in a case that soon will see him head to prison. That pitch reportedly painted a flattering picture of his then-client, a much different description than he laid out on Wednesday before a riveted Washington.

Trump on Friday used a tweet to call the book proposal a “love letter to Trump” that amounts to the “exact opposite of his fake testimony, which now is a lie!”

The president called on lawmakers to “demand” a copy of however much of the book his former attorney might have penned before he began cooperating with federal law enforcement officials, including Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III.

He told his followers their “heads will spin when you see the lies, misrepresentations and contradictions against his Thursday testimony. Like a different person! He is totally discredited!” Trump wrote in a second tweet, getting the day of the hearing incorrect.

Trump, who arrived back at the White House Thursday night — after his denuclearization summit with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un collapsed — and accused Mueller of being unable to prove “collusion” between his 2016 campaign and Russia. So now, Democrats “say, ‘gee, I have an idea, let’s look at Trump’s finances and every deal he has ever done. Let’s follow discredited Michael Cohen.......and the fraudulent and dishonest statements he made on Wednesday.”

Democrats on the Oversight and Reform panel, joined by their Intelligence Committee counterparts, said this week Cohen’s testimony only opened new avenues of Trump’s business and political dealings they plan to investigate. And Mueller’s team, as well as federal investigators in New York’s Southern Division and New York state officials, all are continuing multiple investigations of all things Trump.

[Trump blasts Cohen: ‘He lied so many times’ except about collusion]

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a former U.S. attorney, told MSNBC on Thursday that he suspects the president’s real trouble is brewing in the Southern District. The longtime Trump ally suggested federal investigators there are preparing to charge the 45th president soon after he leaves office.

Perhaps that is why Trump on Friday morning called for all those ongoing probes to end immediately.

“No way, it’s time to stop this corrupt and illegally brought Witch Hunt,” he wrote. “Time to start looking at the other side where real crimes were committed. Republicans have been abused long enough. Must end now!”

But by all indications 2019 and 2020 won’t just be about Trump’s case for re-election and the winnowing of the crowded Democratic field battling to face him in what promises to be another brutal general election campaign.

What’s increasingly clear is the next 19 months and two days also will be about House Democrats’ digging into Trump’s alleged misdeeds and what federal and state officials uncover — and how much becomes public before voters head to the polls on Nov. 3, 2020.

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