May 20, 2019

House panel releases Michael Cohen's closed-door testimony

Michael Cohen. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Newly released, closed-door transcripts reveal that Michael Cohen alleged President Trump's attorney Jay Sekulow had instructed him to lie about negotiations over Trump Tower Moscow.

Details: Cohen, Trump's former political fixer, alleged he had been encouraged to say that negotiations to build a Trump Tower in Moscow ended in January 2016. Cohen later confessed these conversations persisted into June 2016, after it was clear Trump would be the Republican nominee.

  • Cohen also told the Intelligence Committee that lawyers with ties to Trump floated a possible pardon during the federal investigations in hopes that Cohen would remain loyal. Lawyers for Trump have adamantly denied this claim.
  • House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) announced the committee voted 12-7 to release Cohen's closed-door testimony from early 2019 to the public.

What they're saying:

"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."
— Michael Cohen told the House Oversight Committee
  • “We’re trying to find out whether anyone participated in the false testimony that Cohen gave to this committee,” Schiff said, per the Washington Post.
  • In response to the allegations, Sekulow said Monday evening that Cohen is not trustworthy, per NBC News.
  • Lanny Davis, Cohen's attorney, said:
"While we were not consulted, we applaud Chairman Schiff for making the transcripts of Michael Cohen's House Intelligence Committee testimony public. Transparency and the truth are Donald Trump's worst nightmares.
Michael Cohen lied only once and that was to Congress — specifically for the benefit (and in accordance with the directives) of Donald Trump to cover for Trump's repeated public lies during the 2016 campaign of no Russia deals or contacts.
To anyone who questions the veracity of Michael Cohen's testimony, I ask: 'Will you testify under oath?'"

Go deeper: Michael Cohen attorneys release new Trump allegations

Editor's note: This story has been corrected to show that Trump's attorney is Jay Sekulow, not Seklow.

Go deeper

Trump's new purge

Michael Atkinson, arrives in October for closed-door questioning about the whistleblower complaint. Photo: J. Scott Applewhite/AP

Sources close to President Trump expect him to fire more inspectors general across his government.

What they're saying: Conservative allies of the president have told him that these IGs are members of the “deep state” trying to undermine him. Trump appears to have embraced that view.

Coronavirus dashboard

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  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 11:30 a.m. ET: 1,140,327 — Total deaths: 60,887 — Total recoveries: 233,930Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 11:30 a.m. ET: 278,568 — Total deaths: 7,163 — Total recoveries: 9,920Map.
  3. Public health latest: The CDC is recommending Americans wear face coverings in public to help stop the spread of the coronavirus. The federal government will cover the costs of COVID-19 treatment for the uninsured.
  4. 2020 latest: "I think a lot of people cheat with mail-in voting," President Trump said of the 2020 election, as more states hold primaries by mail. Montana Gov. Steve Bullock said Friday that every county in the state has opted to expand mail-in voting for the state's June 2 primary.
  5. Business updates: America's small business bailout is off to a bad start. The DOT is urging airlines to refund passengers due to canceled or rescheduled flights, but won't take action against airlines that provide vouchers or credits.
  6. Oil latest: A pivotal Monday meeting among oil-producing countries to discuss supply curbs is reportedly being delayed amid tensions between Saudi Arabia and Russia.
  7. Military updates: Senators call for independent investigation into the firing of Navy captain of the U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt. The U.S. military is struggling to find new recruits as enlistment stations are shut down.
  8. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  9. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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U.S. coronavirus updates: New York reports record 630 deaths in 24 hours

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

New York reported 630 new deaths in 24 hours, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Saturday — an "all-time increase" that beat the previous day's record of 562 deaths in one day.

The big picture: As expected, COVID-19 death tolls are rising in the U.S., killing more than 7,100 people in total, and over 1,000 in 24 hours alone. The CDC is recommending Americans wear face coverings in public to help stop the spread, marking a significant change in messaging from the Trump administration.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 46 mins ago - Health