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The Five Biggest Takeaways from Michael Cohen’s Testimony

Ahead of his appearance, Cohen said Tuesday that the American people can decide "exactly who is telling the truth" when he testifies Wednesday before the House Oversight and Reform committee.

President Donald Trump's former personal lawyer Michael Cohen will talk behind closed doors on Thursday to a congressional panel investigating Russia's interference in the 2016 USA election, capping an explosive week of testimony in which he levelled new allegations of wrongdoing at his former boss.

Cohen recalled Trump responding, "OK good... let me know".

"The President of the United States thus wrote a check for the payment of hush money as part of a criminal scheme to violate campaign finance laws", Cohen testified.

The board further noted how Cohen calling Trump "a racist" and "a conman" during his testimony was "dishearteningly believable".

"The Southern District in NY is the investigation that he needs to be the most concerned about", Mr Christie said.

He said he feared that if Mr Trump loses the the election in 2020 "there will never be a peaceful transition of power". He was sentenced to three years in prison last year for lying to Congress and making false statements to banks, as well as tax evasion and campaign finance violations. Current Justice Department policy says a sitting President can't be indicted. That matched Trump's campaign-trail insistence that he had no pending business with or commercial ties to Russian Federation.

Cohen says Trump-tied lawyers including Jay Sekulow and Abbe Lowell (who represents Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump) edited his false congressional testimony about the Moscow deal, and Trump indirectly encouraged him to lie about the deal in a face-to-face meeting. But Cohen said he believed he was following implicit directions to minimize their efforts on the tower.

"He doesn't give you questions, he doesn't give you orders", Cohen said. "I covered it up and protected his brand and him as well".

But as the country awaits special counsel Robert Mueller's report on possible collusion between Trump's 2016 campaign and Russian Federation, even Cohen's failings highlight the dangers confronting the President. But he does have "suspicions" about it. The president retweeted an earlier dig at Cohen but otherwise did not offer live commentary. When Cohen was in Trump's office, Roger Stone called.

There is potentially another Trump Organization associate, described as executive no. 2, who was forwarded the Cohen invoice, according to prosecutors who handled the Cohen case in NY.

Trump has called an investigation into possible collusion between Moscow and his presidential campaign a "witch hunt".

On Wednesday, he said Weisselberg decided that reimbursement payments to Cohen should be spread over 12 months so they would look like a retainer agreement, rather than a one-time payment.

"It was my experience that Mr. Trump inflated his total assets when it served his purposes, such as trying to be listed among the wealthiest people in Forbes, and deflated his assets to reduce his real estate taxes", Cohen said. He said the check was one of 11 installment checks. Weisselberg and Donald Trump Jr. signed at least one other.

"At the same time I was actively negotiating in Russian Federation for him", Cohen testified, "he would look me in the eye and tell me there's no business in Russian Federation and then go out and lie to the American people by saying the same thing".

Trump administration staffer Lynne Patton made an appearance at the House Oversight Committee hearing on February 27, where Michael Cohen is now testifying before a panel.

That's what Cohen says he is now, particularly for his own children.

After the hearing, when asked whether the president committed a crime while in office, Chairman Cummings said: "It appears that he did".

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