Hanoi, Feb 28 (IANS) US President Donald Trump on Thursday said his former attorney Michael Cohen had repeatedly lied during his testimony before a senate panel but told the truth that his 2016 election campaign did not collude with the Russian government.
Trump was answering a question during a press conference at the end of a summit with the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in the Vietnamese capital.
“Well, it’s incorrect,” Trump replied when asked if he was “a racist”, “a cheat” and a “conman”, as Cohen had described him during his testimony before a House committee on Wednesday.
“And he lied a lot, but it was very interesting because he didn’t lie about one thing, he said no collusion with the Russian hoax during the 2016 presidential elections,” Trump said.
The President said he tried to watch as much of Cohen’s testimony as he could from Hanoi and wondered “why he didn’t lie about that too like he did about everything else”.
“He said no collusion and I was a little impressed by that, frankly. He could have gone all out,” Trump said.
Trump described his former lawyer’s testimony as “shameful” and said holding the hearing “in the middle of this very important summit” was a “a terrible thing”, Efe news reported.
Cohen will begin a three-year prison sentence in May for violating campaign finance laws in Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. He testified before the House Oversight and Reform committee in the only open session of his three congressional appearances this week.
“Questions have been raised about whether I know of direct evidence that Trump or his campaign colluded with Russia. I do not. I want to be clear. But I have my suspicions,” Cohen said during his testimony.
“I lied to Congress about when Trump stopped negotiating the Moscow Tower project in Russia. I stated that we stopped negotiating in January 2016. That was false — our negotiations continued for months later during the campaign.”
Cohen also said Trump knew that one of his longtime advisers, Roger Stone, was in touch with WikiLeaks for the release of emails hacked from the Democratic Party, which affected the campaign of his rival Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election.
He also detailed alleged racist comments Trump had made to him in private. “While we were once driving through a struggling neighbourhood in Chicago, he commented only Blacks could live that way. He told me Blacks would never vote for him because they were too stupid,” Cohen said.