President Donald Trump accused his former personal attorney Michael Cohen of previously pushing a book about his administration that contradicted the scathing testimony Cohen delivered before a House committee about his former boss on Wednesday.
It was the latest in a string of attacks on Cohen, who said the president directed him to lie to Congress while tying him to several criminal investigations that have shadowed his presidency.
In a series of posts on Twitter Friday morning, Trump called the manuscript a “love letter to Trump.”
“Wow, just revealed that Michael Cohen wrote a ‘love letter to Trump’ manuscript for a new book that he was pushing,” the president tweeted. “Written and submitted long after Charlottesville and Helsinki, his phony reasons for going rogue. Book is exact opposite of his fake testimony, which now is a lie!”
In another tweet, Trump said the manuscript was submitted to publishers “a short time ago” and called on Congress to demand a copy.
“Your heads will spin when you see the lies, misrepresentations and contradictions against his Thursday testimony,” he wrote. “Like a different person! He is totally discredited!”
Cohen acknowledged during his testimony before a House committee on Wednesday that he had been approached with offers for a movie and book deal. Under questioning by Republican lawmakers, he refused to say he would not continue to pursue such a deal in the future.
The proposed book Trump was referring to in his tweets is apparently the same manuscript that Cohen shopped around to several publishers last year.
The book, which was to be called “Trump Revolution: From the Tower to the White House, Understanding Donald J. Trump,” promised a candid but mostly flattering look at Trump through the eyes of his longtime attorney and professional “fixer,” according to multiple published reports.
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Cohen reportedly even reached an agreement with Hachette Book Group’s Center Street subsidiary to publish the memoir, but the deal fell apart after word got out that he was under investigation by federal authorities and the FBI had raided his law office.
The Daily Mail of London reported Thursday it had reviewed a copy of the proposal and that Cohen had nothing but good things to say about Trump in it.
Cohen conceded Trump could be “an exceedingly tough boss,” according to the publication, but he rejected unflattering characterizations that Trump is crazy and dumb, paranoid, in over his head and a TV-addicted liar who hates the media.
“All of these things have been said about my longtime boss, Donald J. Trump,” Cohen wrote, according to the Daily Mail. “None of it is true. Except maybe that last one – about the media. Trump does believe that reporters are out to get him, and for a very good reason. Many of them are.”
Cohen also promised chapters on first lady Melania Trump and Trump’s children, as well as his role in arranging hush-money payments to Stormy Daniels, a stripper and adult-film actress who says she had a sexual encounter with Trump, the paper said.
A spokeswoman for Cohen’s attorney, Lanny Davis, did not respond to a request for comment.
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The book came up at Wednesday’s hearing, in which Cohen called his ex-boss a con man and a cheat.
Rep. Carol Miller, R-W.V., asked Cohen: “Isn’t it true you tried to sell a book about your time with President Trump entitled ‘Trump Revolution: From the Tower to the White House, Understanding Donald J. Trump?'”
“Yes, that happened,” said Cohen, who disclosed he was offered close to $750,000 for the book, but turned it down.
The focus on the apparent contradictions between Cohen’s testimony and the reported contents of his manuscript is the latest salvo from Trump and his supporters in their campaign to discredit Cohen and minimize the damage from his testimony.
Trump last referred to Cohen as his attorney in April before hiring Rudy Giuliani, who as recently as May referred to Cohen as “an honest, honorable lawyer.” But after it became clear that Cohen was cooperating with special counsel Robert Mueller in the wake of the FBI raid, Trump’s team began the assault on Cohen’s credibility.
Those attacks ratcheted up after Democrats gained control of the House in the 2018 midterm election and it began to appear likely that Cohen would be asked to testify in a public hearing.
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After Cohen pleaded guilty to lying about efforts to build Trump Tower Moscow, the president said Cohen was a “weak person” who was “lying” to “get a reduced sentence.”
By December Giuliani was calling Cohen “pathetic” and a “serial liar.” That same week, Trump called his former attorney a “rat” in a tweet, borrowing an expression from movie mobsters for someone who agrees to cooperate with law enforcement.
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On the eve of Cohen’s testimony, Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Florida, posted a tweet that appeared to threaten Cohen with the potential disclosure of damaging personal information. Gaetz deleted the tweet and said he apologized to Cohen, but concerns that he was trying to intimidate a witness have prompted a House ethics complaint and an inquiry by the Florida Bar.
During the hearing on Wednesday, Republicans on the House Oversight and Reform Committee repeatedly went after Cohen’s credibility, arguing that lawmakers should not trust the word of a man who was just convicted of lying to Congress.
“You’re a pathological liar. You don’t know truth from falsehood,” Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., told Cohen. Gosar said it was important to remember “the old adage that our moms taught us” and pointed to a poster with Cohen’s face and the words “Liar, liar pants on fire.”
“No one should ever listen to you and give you credibility. It’s sad,” Gosar said.
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After the hearing, Reps. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, and Mark Meadows, R-N.C., accused Cohen of lying during his testimony. The two staunch Trump supporters detailed their allegations in a 30-page letter to Attorney General William Barr outlining a number of Cohen’s comments they claim to be lies. Jordan, the top Republican on the committee, and Meadows asked that Cohen be investigated for perjury and making false statements.
“His testimony included intentionally false statements designed to make himself look better on a national stage,” they wrote.
Lanny Davis, an attorney for Cohen, said in a statement that the partisan referral was a “sad misuse of the criminal justice system.”
“Mr. Cohen testified truthfully before the House Oversight Committee. He took full responsibility for his guilty pleas,” Davis said.
Contributing: Christal Hayes