Speed Reads

'he didn't want to spend the money'

Michael Cohen says Trump lied about sending investigators to Hawaii to look into Obama's birth certificate

President Trump was lying when he claimed in 2011 that he had paid private investigators to go to Hawaii to dig up information on former President Barack Obama's birth certificate, Michael Cohen, Trump's former personal lawyer and fixer, told MSNBC's Rachel Maddow on Tuesday.

In his new book, Disloyal: A Memoir, Cohen writes about Trump pushing the false claim that Obama was not actually born in Hawaii. Cohen told Maddow that when Trump began talking endlessly about the conspiracy theory, he "saw that his poll numbers and his popularity and the number of times that he's gracing the cover of the newspaper is increasing." Trump didn't actually believe any of it, Cohen said, but "he doesn't care what he says, he doesn't care who gets hurt, so long as he wins."

After Trump claimed to have sent private investigators to Hawaii, he declared that they couldn't "believe what they're finding." Later, Trump refused to share what the PIs allegedly uncovered, telling CNN's Anderson Cooper it wasn't "appropriate" to reveal their discoveries and letting ABC News' George Stephanopoulos know "it's none of your business right now."

"He never sent anybody anywhere, he just said it and everybody sort of bought into it," Cohen said. "'Of course Donald Trump sent somebody, he's rich, right, who wouldn't send somebody if you wanted to prove your point?' Well, Donald Trump didn't do it because he didn't want to spend the money and he didn't believe it. His hatred for Barack Obama is plain and simple: He's Black, he went to Harvard Law, he graduated the top of his class, he's incredibly articulate, and he's all the things that Donald Trump wants to be, and he just can't handle it."