President Trump’s former attorney Michael Cohen said Wednesday that he has no evidence suggesting his former boss colluded with Russia during the 2016 presidential election, but that he has his “suspicions.”
“Questions have been raised about whether I know of direct evidence that Mr. Trump or his campaign colluded with Russia. I do not, and I want to be clear. But I have my suspicions,” Cohen told lawmakers.
There are “so many dots that all seem to lead” in the direction of Russian President Vladimir Putin, he added.
“As I stated in my earlier testimony, I wouldn’t use the word ‘colluding,’” he said. “Was there something odd about the back-and-forth praise with President Putin? Yes. But I’m not really sure I can answer that question in terms of collusion.”
Cohen added that President Trump’s desire to win would have him “work with anyone.”
Once Trump’s loyal attorney and fixer, Cohen has turned on his former boss and cooperated with special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation. He begins a three-year prison sentence in May after he pleaded guilty to lying to Congress in 2017 and committing campaign finance violations while he was working for Trump.
Cohen described President Trump as a “racist” and a “conman” whose bad character traits “far outweigh the good.”
In his statement, Cohen says he is “ashamed” that he worked for Mr. Trump, saying he regrets “all the help and support I gave him along the way.”
He also outlined several potentially damaging claims, including that Roger Stone told Mr. Trump about WikiLeaks releasing hacked emails from Hillary Clinton and that he was aware of the Trump Tower meetings with Russian officials while he was campaigning.
Cohen also said he would provide a copy of a check for $35,000, signed by Mr. Trump and dated for August 2017 when he was president. He added that the payments were made from the president’s personal bank account to reimburse Cohen for paying off porn actress Stormy Daniels.
Cohen was Mr. Trump’s fixer for over ten years. He pleaded guilty last August to campaign finance violations, bank fraud, financial crimes and lying to Congress. He is slated to serve his three-year prison sentence in May.
Mr. Trump tweeted on Wednesday that Cohen is trying to shorten his stay in jail, saying, “he did bad things unrelated to Trump. He is lying in order to reduce his prison time.”