Michael Cohen, former President Donald Trump's onetime fixer and personal attorney, says he was relieved on Wednesday when New York Attorney General Letitia James announced that her office is suing Trump and three of his adult children for fraud, alleging they falsely inflating the value of Trump Organization assets for years in order to gain economic benefits.
During an appearance on MSNBC's All In with Chris Hayes, Cohen said he's been "yelling for three-and-a-half, four years that the Trump Organization is a criminal enterprise and I got thrown under the bus by dear old Donald. ... Somebody always has to fall on the sword for him."
James mentioned Cohen during her press conference, saying she wanted to "remind everyone that this investigation only started" after Cohen "testified before Congress and shed light on this misconduct." Cohen, who served time in prison after pleading guilty to perjury and campaign finance charges, cooperated with investigators looking into the Trump Organization, and told Hayes he testified for more than 400 hours to seven congressional committees, James' office, and the Manhattan district attorney's office.
"It's that documentation which nobody has ever had before, and [Trump] never would have given it, that ultimately sparked this and sent this to an investigation that's going to ultimately terminate the Trump Organization, Donald, Don Jr., Ivanka, Eric, [former Trump Organization CFO Allen] Weisselberg, and the rest of them," Cohen said. "This is going to put an end to the entire company."
He described to Hayes how Trump used inflated numbers to create a "phantom net worth," and said Trump would routinely call Cohen and others into his office to come up with ways to look richer and get higher on the Forbes list of billionaires. Trump would tell them he was worth $6 billion, Cohen said, before changing his mind and saying he was actually worth $7 billion, then $8 billion, before landing on $10 billion.
"This guy added $4 billion in net worth in a matter of eight to 10 seconds," Cohen said. "Our job we were tasked with was to take the assets that existed in the previous year's personal financial statement and come up with a way to get as close to that $10 billion as possible."