‘He is a racist. He is a conman. He is a cheat’
These were the words of Donald Trump’s ex-lawyer Michael Cohen about his former boss this week. He was speaking to US lawmakers in Congress. Here are the five key points...
1/ The Stormy Daniels affair. Michael Cohen produced copies of two cheques paying him back for hush money that he paid to the adult film star known as Stormy Daniels. The money was paid to stop her discussing an affair she says she had with President Donald Trump.
If this is all true, it could be evidence that Trump broke US election laws.
2/ The Moscow tower deal. In May, Cohen will go to jail for lying to Congress about Trump’s business dealings with Russia. These centred around a skyscraper Trump wanted to build in Moscow.
Cohen said Trump never told him to lie to Congress, but he strongly implied it. However, this makes it hard to prove that Trump also broke the law.
3/ Collusion with Russia? Cohen said he had no evidence of this. He did say that Trump knew in advance about emails which were leaked in order to hurt his opponents in the Democratic Party. These emails were hacked by Russia. Trump denies knowing about them.
4/ Racism allegations. Cohen said that Trump was openly racist in private. For example, he says Trump told him that black people would not vote for him because they were “too stupid”.
5/ He never expected to win. This, Cohen said, is why Trump lied about Moscow and other things. He “ran for office to make his brand great, not to make our country great.”
In response, Trump has said that Cohen is “lying in order to reduce his prison time.”
So did Trump commit a crime? “It appears he did,” said one top Democrat. But it is hard to prove. However, there could be more evidence to come. Cohen was not able to answer every question because of ongoing investigations by lawyers.
Does it actually matter? For some, the accusations of lying and racism should be enough to end his presidency. Should lawmakers try to impeach him — or wait for clear evidence of a crime?
- Do you believe Michael Cohen? Remember — he has already been sentenced to jail for lying to Congress in 2017.
- Cohen called Trump a racist, a conman and a cheat. Which three words would you use to describe the president?
Some People Say...
“All men have crimes, and most of them are hidden.”Maxwell Anderson
What do you think?
Q & A
- What do we know?
- Michael Cohen has turned on his former boss. He says that he is now telling the truth and taking responsibility for his actions. He will begin a three-year prison sentence in May.
- What do we not know?
- Whether to believe him. He has produced evidence for some of his claims. Others are reports of private conversations. These are impossible to prove — you must make up your own mind.
- Michael Cohen
- Trump’s personal lawyer for 10 years, often referred to as his “fixer”.
- Hush money
- Daniels says she was paid $130,000 to keep quiet about the alleged affair while Trump campaigned for president.
- The collective name for the US House of Representatives and the US Senate.
- A secret agreement to work together in order to cheat or deceive people.
- These showed that top party officials preferred the Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders.