Michael Cohen

Michael Cohen

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Updated Feb 27, 2019 at 01:01PM EST by Adam.

Added Dec 13, 2018 at 12:16PM EST by Matt.

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About

Michael Cohen is the former lawyer of United States President Donald Trump. Cohen, who was once known as Trump's "fixer," admitted to making potentially illegal payments on Trump's behalf to several women, particularly in Trump's ongoing alleged affair with adult film actor Stormy Daniels.

History

Michael Cohen first entered the public sector as a volunteer for Democratic presidential candidate Michael Dukakis in 1988. Four years later, in 1992, Cohen began practicing law, primarily as a personal injury lawyer. He eventually opened his own practice.[1]

Relationship With Trump

In 2006, Donald Trump hired Michael Cohen, overseeing the Trump Park Avenue apartment building. Cohen said of his relationship with Trump, "When he finds someone who he considers capable, does a great job and accomplishes the task, he tends to go back to that person again and again and again[…]He’s comfortable with people who he deems worthy."

Stormy Daniels Affair

On January 12th, 2018, the Wall Street Journal[2] reported that Trump's lawyer Michael Cohen had arranged to pay porn star Stormy Daniels, real name Stephanie Clifford, $130,000 in exchange for her silence about a sexual encounter she had with Trump in July of 2006 in Lake Tahoe, Nevada, one year after Trump had married Melania, and four months after she gave birth to Barron Trump. Cohen did not address the rumored payout but said in a statement that both Trump and Clifford denied the allegation. Cohen provided a statement from Clifford in which she denied the allegations of a payout, writing:

"My involvement with Donald Trump was limited to a few public appearances and nothing more. When I met Donald Trump, he was gracious, professional and a complete gentleman to me and EVERYONE in my presence. Rumors that I have received hush money from Donald Trump are completely false. If indeed I did have a relationship with Donald Trump, trust me, you wouldn't be reading about in the news, you would be reading about it in my book. But the fact of the matter is, these stories are not true."

On April 9th, 2018, the FBI raided Michael Cohen's office and New York City hotel room, seizing business records, emails, and documents related to the Stormy Daniels case.[3] In a statement, Cohen's lawyer Stephen Ryan said he was told by federal prosecutors that the action was "in part, a referral by the office of special counsel, Robert Mueller." Donald Trump spoke to reporters about the raid later that day, criticizing the ongoing FBI investigation as a "witch-hunt," criticized Attorney General Jeff Sessions for recusing himself from the Russiagate investigation and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, and once again floated the idea of firing Robert Mueller.[4] Federal guidelines suggest Rosenstein would have approved the raid. The following morning, Trump tweeted "Attorney-client privilege is dead!" and "A TOTAL WITCH HUNT!!!" (shown below).


Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump Follow Attorney-client privilege is dead! 8:07 AM - 10 Apr 2018 Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump Follow A TOTAL WITCH HUNT!!! 8:08 AM - 10 Apr 2018

Former US Attorney Preet Bahara, who served in the Southern District of New York was quoted as saying "It's being done because people think it's very serious, people think it's totally warranted and people think there's evidence of a significant enough nature that you're going to risk doing something sensitive like raiding a law office."[4]

On August 21st, 2018, President Trump's former lawyer and onetime campaign chairman Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to eight crimes, admitting to paying off two women, Daniels and Playboy Playmate Kaen McDougal, "in coordination with and at the direction of a candidate for federal office," he said.

Detractors of President Trump celebrated the guilty plea, along with the conviction of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, which happened almost simultaneously (examples below).


Ubbo Ubbo @TheRealUbboUbbo Art of the Plea Deal By Michael Cohen This Michael Cohen tweet didn't age well... Michael Cohen @MichaelCohen212 Followv @HillaryClinton when you go to prison for defrauding America and perjury, your room and board will be free! 10:03 PM-19 Dec 2015 4 p.m. PLEA HEARING for Michael Cohen. I am leaping up and down in my house

President Trump responded to the news by denouncing Cohen. On August 22nd, he tweeted, [5] "If anyone is looking for a good lawyer, I would strongly suggest that you don’t retain the services of Michael Cohen!" The tweet (shown below) received more than 19,000 retweets and 70,000 likes in less than five hours.


Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump Follow If anyone is looking for a good lawyer, I would strongly suggest that you don't retain the services of Michael Cohen!

On December 7th, 2018, the special prosecutors submitted sentencing recommendation for President Trump's former lawyer Michael Cohen.[6] In the court filing, a party known as "Individual-1" was named as the coordinator of the payments to adult film actor Stormy Daniels and Stephanie Cliffords and Karen McDougal in regards to alleged affairs with Donald Trump.

Five days later, on December 12th, a U.S. district court judge sentenced Cohen to three years in prison.[7] Cohen said of the sentencing, "I take full responsibility for each act that I pled guilty to: The personal ones to me and those involving the President of the United States of America[…]blind loyalty to this man that led me to choose a path of darkness over light."

January 2019 Wall Street Journal Report

On January 17th, 2019, the Wall Street Journal[9] reported that early in Donald Trump's 2015/2016 campaign for president, Cohen had agreed to pay Mr. Gauger of RedFinch Solutions LLC $50,000 to rig early CNBC and Drudge Report online polls in Trump's favor. Gauger alleges that he was stiffed, only receiving between $12,000 and $13,000. Cohen confirmed the story on his Twitter account, saying that he did so at the direction of Donald Trump (shown below).


Michael Cohen @MichaelCohen212 Follow As for the @WSJ article on poll rigging, what I did was at the direction of and for the sole benefit of @realDonaldTrump @POTUS. I truly regret my blind loyalty to a man who doesn't deserve it 10:05 AM 17 Jan 2019 from Manhattan, NY

Additionally, the report stated that Cohen had asked Gauger to set up a @WomenforCohen Twitter account, which was intended to show Cohen as a sex symbol desired by many women. The account is still extant[10] (example tweets shown below).


Women For Cohen @WomenForCohen Follow Never too late for #mcm & a #selfie 11:01 PM-21 Nov 2016 Women For Cohen @WomenForCohen Follow A devoted father that puts his family first & works endlessly to make sure @real DonaldTrump is our next #POTUS #TBT StubH GEIC 11:00 AM 15 Sep 2016 Women For Cohen @WomenForCohen Follow @MichaelCohen212 always looking sharp! #sexy #sharp #dresstoimpress #sexsymbol ICA G N! 5:43 PM-10 Jun 2016

Many Twitter users mocked the news that Cohen had set up a vanity account for himself. Comedian Nathan Fielder created a parody account, @WomenForNathan (shown below, left). User @cd_hooks joked the news was proof we were living in a simulation (shown below, right).


chris hooks @cd hooks Following ignoring the "women for cohen" news because that's clearly The Simulation throwing up caltrops in the discourse and you guys gotta get better about seeing through it 3:37 PM- 17 Jan 2019

February 27th Congressional Testimony

On February 27th, 2019, Michael Cohen gave testimony to Congress about his relationship with Trump, alleging that Trump willingly and knowingly engaged in illegal acts as President. He presented the committee with checks he had received as part of the $130,000 reimbursement for his Stormy Daniels hush money payment[11] and testified that he had heard Trump discuss the Wikileaks dump of the 2016 Democratic National Committee Emails with Roger Stone over a speakerphone call. According to Cohen, Stone told Trump that Wikileaks would be releasing the emails soon, and Trump responded to the effect of "wouldn't that be great."

Cohen alleged Trump knew of negotiations to build a Trump Tower in Moscow and lied about it.[14]
Additionally, he could not confirm that Trump knew of Donald Trump Jr.'s meeting at Moscow Tower which he had done under the impression of getting dirt on Hillary Clinton, but stated he suspected Trump knew because of an instance where Trump Jr. spoke to Trump in an unusual manner, saying “The meeting is all set" and Trump saying "Okay good, let me know" days before the meeting took place.

Cohen also alleged Trump is a racist and has worked to manipulate public perception of his wealth. He "inflated his assets when it served his purposes and deflated his assets to reduce his real estate taxes."[12] He also provided Congress documents he had written to schools Trump attended threatening them to not publish Trump's standardized test scores.[13] This was confirmed by Fordham University. Cohen's prepared testimony was published by Politico[12] the day prior to the testimony.



Matt Gaetz Threatening Tweet

The day prior to Cohen's testimony, Republican congressman Matthew Gaetz of Florida tweeted "Hey @MichaelCohen212 – Do your wife & father-in-law know about your girlfriends? Maybe tonight would be a good time for that chat. I wonder if she’ll remain faithful when you’re in prison. She’s about to learn a lot…"[15]


Matt Gaetz @mattgaetz Folgan Hey @MichaelCohen212 - Do your wife & father-in-law know about your girlfriends? Maybe tonight would be a good time for that chat. I wonder if she'll remain faithful when you're in prison. She's about to learn a lot... 13:12-26. Feb. 2019

The tweet was widely interpreted as a criminal witness intimidation tactic on Gaetz' part. Former Department of Defense Special Counsel Ryan Goodman tweeted "Hey @mattgaetz – Does your personal attorney know you’ve just engaged, very clearly, in the crime of witness tampering? Maybe tonight would be a good time for that chat" (shown below, left). Lawyer and author Laurence Tribe wrote that Gaetz had clearly "engaged in criminal witness tampering in plain sight" (shown below, right). CNN wrote that Gaetz had "straight-up" threatened Cohen.[16]


Ryan Goodman @rgoodlaw Follow Hey @mattgaetz - Does your personal attorney know vou've just engaged, very clearly, in the crime of witness tampering? Maybe tonight would be a good time for that twitter.com/mattgaetz/stat... This Tweet is unavailable. 5:44 PM-26 Feb 2019 Laurence Tribe @tribelaw Follow @mattgaetz is a disgusting excuse for a human being. He's also engaged in criminal witness tampering in plain sight. No immunity is available. He deserves to be indicted, and of course needs to be kicked out of Congress. mobile.twitter.com/mattgaetz/stat This Tweet is unavailable. 6:00 PM-26 Feb 2019

Gaetz claimed he was not "witness tampering" but rather "witness-testing." After Gaetz' tweet, Nancy Pelosi tweeted, "I encourage all Members to be mindful that comments made on social media or in the press can adversely affect the ability of House Committees to obtain the truthful and complete information necessary to fulfill their duties"[17] (shown below, left). The following day, Gaetz[18] tweeted his apologies, saying he did not intend to threaten Cohen (shown below, right). The Onion parodied Gaetz with an article titled "Matt Gaetz Insists Pointing Rifle At Michael Cohen Throughout Testimony Not Witness Intimidation."[19]


Nancy Pelosi @SpeakerPelosi Follow I encourage all Members to be mindful that comments made on social media or in the press can adversely affect the ability of House Committees to obtain the truthful and complete information necessary to fulfill their duties. goo.gl/VGQD6 "I ENCOURAGE ALL MEMBERS TO BE MINDFUL THAT COMMENTS MADE ON SOCIAL MEDIA OR IN THE PRESS CAN ADVERSELY AFFECT THE ABILITY OF HOUSE COMMITTEES TO OBTAIN THE TRUTHFUL AND COMPLETE INFORMATION NECESSARY TO FULFILL THEIR DUTIES "AS A RESULT, SUCH STATEMENTS CAN BE CONSTRUED AS NOT REFLECTING CREDITABLY ON THE HOUSE, AND THE COMMITTEE ON ETHICS SHOULD VIGILANTLY MONITOR THESE TYPES OF STATEMENTS, WHICH MAY NOT BE PROTECTED BY THE SPEECH OR DEBATE CLAUSE" NANCY P 7:59 PM -26 Feb 2019 Matt Gaetz * @mattgaetz Follow Speaker, I want to get the truth too. While it is important 2 create context around the testimony of liars like Michael Cohen, it was NOT my intent to threaten, as some believe l did. I'm deleting the tweet & I should have chosen words that better showed my intent. I'm sorry. losi@SpeakerPelosi ULIWUTncourage all Members to be mindful that comments made on SIRE social media or in the press can adversely affect the ability of D ETHouse Committees to obtain the truthful and complete information necessary to fulfill their duties. goo.gl/jVGQD6 12:52 AM-27 Feb 2019

"Liar Liar" Sign

During the testimony, a sign appeared on the House Republican side of the committee reading "Liar Liar Pants on Fire," showing Cohen's face (shown below).


Ryan J. Reilly Follow @ryanjreilly A new sign on the House Republican side LIAR PANTS ON FIRE!

Twitter users joked about the impotence of the sign. User @MEPFuller tweeted a joke about the sign, gaining over 180 likes (shown below, left). User @JessieLehrich joked "when you are definitely winning on the substance," gaining over 60 likes (shown below, right).


Matt Fuller @MEPFuller Follow Your Honor, the defense rests. Ryan J. Reilly@ryanjreilly A new sign on the House Republican side Show this thread IRE 1:07 PM - 27 Feb 2019 Jesse Lehrich @JesseLehrich Follow when you are definitely winning on the substance Ryan J. Reilly@ryanjreilly A new sign on the House Republican side Show this thread FIRE 1:07 PM- 27 Feb 2019

Reputation

Throughout his tenure in the Trump organization, Cohen was mostly referred to as Trump's "fixer," meaning he acted as a go-between for Trump and potentially illegal and/or damaging situations. Some referred to his "bulldog tactics" as the attribute that impressed Trump to begin with.[8]

Criticisms

Many mocked Cohen's loyalty to Trump, his criminal activity and his Long Island accent. On April 15th, 2018, Saturday Night Live parodied Cohen's arrest in an extended parody of the film Meet the Parents (shown below).



Says Who?

Says Who? refers to a series of jokes mocking Michael Cohen, lawyer and spokesperson for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, after he responded to CNN's Brianna Keilar telling him Trump was losing in all the polls with "Says who?"


WIHIO Lauren Ducalaurenduca-19h 237 651

Individual 1

Individual 1 refers to a series of jokes and references to an unnamed person in federal prosecutor's office sentencing recommendations for United States President Donald Trump's former lawyer Michael Cohen. Many have speculated that President Trump is "Individual-1."


Individual-1 weighs in Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump Totally clears the President. Thank you! The Daily Show @TheDailyShow Does Sharper Image still sell Individual-1 Steaks? Individual 1 must be dropping a number 2 in his pants now.

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