It should come as a surprise to precisely no one that what Michael Cohen said Friday on ABC’s “Good Morning America” about Trump and the now-famous 2016 hush-money payments was so inaccurate that you have to wonder if he’s still lying.
Cohen, newly convicted felon and former lawyer to President Trump, asserted that Trump directed the payments to porn star Stormy Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougal specifically to influence the election.
“You have to remember at what point in time that this matter came about — two weeks or so before the election, post- the Billy Bush [“Access Hollywood”] comments, so, yes, he was very concerned about how this would affect the election,” said Cohen.
But this only relates to one of the payments, the one to Daniels, and excludes information that indicates such payments may have been routine for Trump going as far back as 2014, more than a year before Trump launched his campaign.
The payment to McDougal took place well before the “Access Hollywood” tape was released on Oct. 8, 2016. That agreement, made as part of a deal with the National Enquirer, was sealed on Aug. 5, more than two months before anyone would know about the “Access Hollywood” tape.
The U.S. government’s sentencing memorandum from two weeks ago said that this alliance between Trump and the Enquirer was forged more than a year before Trump began his long shot bid for the White House.
“In August 2014, [Enquirer Chairman David Pecker] had met with Cohen and [Trump] and had offered to help deal with negative stories about [Trump’s] relationships with women by identifying such stories so that they could be purchased and ‘killed,'” reads the memo.
So, the “catch and kill” plan was the Enquirer’s idea all the way back in 2014. One of the payments was made in August of 2016, three months before the election; and then there was a second payment, which there’s no evidence wouldn’t have taken place regardless of its timing.
Cohen was sentenced this week to three years in prison after he pleaded guilty to massive tax evasion, bank fraud, lying to Congress, lying to the FBI, and two campaign finance violations. He blames Trump for his predicament.
“It’s sad that I should take responsibility for his dirty deeds,” Cohen said in the interview, though it’s unclear how Trump is responsible for Cohen’s taxi medallion scheme or his neglect to claim millions of dollars in revenue to avoid paying taxes.
Cohen is bitter. And he might still be lying.