Krishnamoorthi grilling Cohen on Trump reveals there may be more ‘wrongdoing’
WASHINGTON — A question from Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Ill., to Michael Cohen during a Wednesday House hearing revealed there may be wrongdoing by President Donald Trump that has not been made public.
Cohen said “yes” when asked by Krishnamoorthi if he were aware of any “other wrongdoing or illegal act” concerning Trump that was not discussed at the hearing.
Not disclosed, however, were the details Cohen was alluding to. That’s because, Cohen testified, those matters were being investigated by federal prosecutors in New York and he was asked not to discuss those ongoing probes.
Still, Krishnamoorthi plowed some new ground.
The testimony of Cohen, Trump’s ex-personal attorney, came before the House Committee on Oversight and Reform.
Krishnamoorthi and Rep. Robin Kelly, D-Ill., are among the lawmakers on the panel.
Chicago attorney Michael Monico, a member of Cohen’s legal team, sat behind Cohen throughout the hearing.
Krishnamoorthi’s line of questioning started with asking Cohen about Trump’s extensive use and enforcement of non-disclosure agreements. Were such agreements used to “prevent people from coming forward with claims of wrong doing?”
“Yes,” Cohen replied.
Krishnamoothi moved on, asking when the “last communication” Cohen had with Trump or “someone acting on his behalf” occurred.
Cohen said it was sometime during the fall of 2017.
“And what did he or his agent communicate to you?” Krishnamoorthi asked Cohen.
“Unfortunately this topic is actually something that’s being investigated right now by the Southern District of New York, and I’ve been asked by them not to discuss and not to talk about these issues,” Cohen replied.
Krishnamoorthi went on to ask: “Is there any other wrongdoing or illegal act that you are aware of regarding Donald Trump that we haven’t yet discussed today?”
Cohen: “Yes — and again, those are part of the investigation that’s currently being looked at by the Southern District of New York.” He offered no details.
Later Krishnamoorthi tweeted: “We’re learning lots today but there’s much more to come this afternoon and in the future. … What we know already may be just the tip of the iceberg, which would mean it’s a gigantic, potentially criminal iceberg.”
Rep. Kelly asks Cohen about Stormy Daniels hush money
Kelly’s questions centered around a $130,000 hush money payment to buy the silence of adult film star Stormy Daniels so she would not talk about her alleged affair with Trump before the 2016 presidential election.
Cohen create a shell company to funnel the payments to Daniels, using a home-equity line of credit, information which has been known for some time. Cohen filled in some gaps under Kelly’s questioning, explaining why he went to the trouble of using the home-equity loan instead of just drawing on his own funds. Cohen testified that he wanted to hide the payments from his wife. who handled the family finances.
He told Kelly, “I didn’t want to have to explain to her what that payment was about.”
Did Trump know about the payment scheme?
Cohen said yes.
Kelly asked why didn’t Trump just make the payments with a personal or business check.
“His concern was there would be a check with his very distinctive signature on it” that someone could easily make a copy of.
That would be “proof positive,” Cohen said, of the cover-up scheme.
Author: Lynn Sweet
PC: Alex Wong, Getty Images