Speed Reads

Cohen in Congress

Cohen's testimony on Russia includes Roger Stone telling Trump about WikiLeaks, Trump dissing Don Jr.

It's unclear which part of Michael Cohen's congressional testimony prompted Tuesday's taunts and apparent threats from Republicans, but it could be the section about President Trump, Roger Stone, and WikiLeaks. Cohen's public testimony Wednesday is supposed to steer clear of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, and Cohen will say he knows of no "direct evidence that Mr. Trump or his campaign colluded with Russia," though "I have my suspicions," according to a prepared statement obtained by The New York Times and Politico. But Trump did know "about the release of the hacked Democratic National Committee emails ahead of time," Cohen will testify:

In July 2016, days before the Democratic convention, I was in Mr. Trump's office when his secretary announced that Roger Stone was on the phone. Mr. Trump put Mr. Stone on the speakerphone. Mr. Stone told Mr. Trump that he had just gotten off the phone with [WikiLeaks chief] Julian Assange and that Mr. Assange told Mr. Stone that, within a couple of days, there would be a massive dump of emails that would damage Hillary Clinton's campaign. Mr. Trump responded by stating to the effect of "wouldn't that be great." [Michael Cohen statement, via Politico]

Stone has denied such a conversation took place. Mueller's investigation has detailed how WikiLeaks obtained those hacked emails from Russian military intelligence, as part of Russia's sophisticated campaign to help Trump win and defeat Clinton. And as to Cohen's "suspicions," he will testify that after reading reports about the Trump Tower meeting with Russians set up by Donald Trump Jr., "something clicked in my mind."

I remember being in the room with Mr. Trump, probably in early June 2016, when something peculiar happened. Don Jr. came into the room and walked behind his father's desk — which in itself was unusual. People didn't just walk behind Mr. Trump's desk to talk to him. I recalled Don Jr. leaning over to his father and speaking in a low voice, which I could clearly hear, and saying: "The meeting is all set." I remember Mr. Trump saying, "Ok good ... let me know."

What struck me as I looked back and thought about that exchange between Don Jr. and his father was, first, that Mr. Trump had frequently told me and others that his son Don Jr. had the worst judgment of anyone in the world. And also, that Don Jr. would never set up any meeting of any significance alone — and certainly not without checking with his father. [Cohen statement, via Politico]

You can read Cohen's entire statement at Politico.