In his explosive opening statement, Michael Cohen says he was in the room when Trump was told Roger Stone knew Wikileaks had Hillary Clinton's emails and was planning to publish them.
Michael Cohen: Trump Knew In Advance Wikileaks Was Going To Dump Hillary's Emails
Credit: Getty Images
February 26, 2019

Late Tuesday night, Michael Cohen's opening statement was released. You can read the entire document in PDF format here.

It is, to put it mildly, a barn-burner.

Cohen understands that he has a credibility hill to climb, so he brings receipts and attaches them to his opening statement. They include a cancelled check for money Trump paid to Cohen in 2017 to reimburse for the hush money he paid to Stormy Daniels, financial statements for 2011-2013 demonstrating how Trump manipulated his net worth depending on whether he was filing his taxes or telling Forbes how rich he is. They also include a copy of letters he was instructed to send to all of Trump's schools and the College Board threatening them with legal action if they released any grades or test results.

And, Cohen was in the room where it happened -- the room where Roger Stone told Trump Wikileaks had the emails and was going to dump them.

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 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.”

Cohen also says that the Trump Tower Moscow campaign was discussed during the campaign, though Trump had a way of speaking where he was addressing it without addressing it, which would suggest Trump knew it was problematic to campaign and negotiate a deal at the same time.

To be clear: Mr. Trump knew of and directed the Trump Moscow negotiations throughout the campaign and lied about it. He lied about it because he never expected to win the election. He also lied about it because he stood to make hundreds of millions of dollars on the Moscow real estate project. And so I lied about it, too – because Mr. Trump had made clear to me, through his personal statements to me that we both knew were false and through his lies to the country, that he wanted me to lie. And he made it clear to me because his personal attorneys reviewed my statement before I gave it to Congress.

This statement gives us all a taste of what is to come when he testifies. We'll be running a live stream of all of his testimony and clipping key moments. Join us to watch it in real time. When it's live, there will be a banner at the top of the site.

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