Cohen tells a House committee that he witnessed instances before the election in which Trump was informed about WikiLeaks’ release of Democratic National Committee emails and about a Trump Tower meeting that included campaign advisers, Trump’s oldest son and a Russian lawyer.He says Trump had told him that the younger Trump “had the worst judgment of anyone in the world.”Cohen also said Donald Trump Jr. “would never set up any meeting of any significance alone — and certainly not without checking with his father.”He also told Congress on Wednesday that Trump knew ahead of time that WikiLeaks had emails damaging to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, and he testified that Trump is a “racist,” a “conman” and a “cheat.”The president’s former lawyer says Trump personally signed checks repaying him for hush money paid to porn actress Stormy Daniels.He has presented a check to the House Oversight and Reform Committee. The $35,000 check was from dated August 2017.Cohen has pleaded guilty to campaign finance violations connected to a $130,000 hush-money deal involving Daniels. She alleges an affair; Trump denies it.Cohen says he personally paid Daniels. But Trump’s current lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, has said Cohen was repaid through a retainer agreement.Prosecutors have said the Trump Organization paid Cohen in monthly installments to reimburse him for the Daniels’ payment. They say Cohen used “sham” invoices to try to conceal the true nature of the payments.A second check from March 2017 was signed by Donald Trump Jr. and Trump’s chief financial officer.Cohen says Trump lied about his wealth to look richer to Forbes magazine and less wealthy for tax authorities.He says financial documents show Trump inflated his assets to rank higher on the Forbes world’s billionaires list. Trump ranked 766th on the publication’s latest list, which was released last March.Cohen claims Trump would also deflate his assets to pay lower real estate taxes.Democrats have promised an aggressive effort to investigate the president since they regained control of the House in January.The hearing was expected to provide the most damning depiction to date of Trump’s campaign and business operations from a onetime member of the president’s inner circle. It is the latest step in Cohen’s evolution from legal fixer for the president — he once boasted that he’d “take a bullet” for Trump — to a foe who has implicated him in federal campaign finance violations.”I am ashamed of my weakness and misplaced loyalty,of the things I did for Mr. Trump in an effort to protect and promote him,” Cohen said. “I am ashamed that I chose to take part in concealing Mr. Trump’s illicit acts rather than listening to my own conscience. I am ashamed because I know what Mr. Trump is.”Cohen’s claims that Trump had advance knowledge of the emails contradict the president’s assertions that he was in the dark, but it was not clear what evidence Cohen had to support the allegation or even how legally problematic it would be for Trump. Special counsel Robert Mueller has not suggested that mere awareness of WikiLeaks’ plans, as Trump confidant Roger Stone is purported to have had, is by itself a crime.Underscoring the deeply partisan nature of the proceedings, Democrats on the House Oversight and Reform Committee lifted an earlier restriction that the hearing not delve into Russia, while Republicans tried unsuccessfully to block the hearing as it got underway, on grounds that Cohen had not provided his opening statement long enough in advance.The committee’s top Republican, Rep. Jim Jordan, of Ohio, sought early on to undermine Cohen’s credibility by calling him a “fraudster, cheat” and “a convicted felon.””Certainly it’s the first time a convicted perjurer has been brought back to be a star witness at a hearing,” Jordan said.Cohen added that lawyers for Trump had “reviewed and edited” the statement in which Cohen falsely said a proposal for a Trump Tower in Moscow had been abandoned in January 2016. Cohen has since said he continued pursuing the project for Trump for months after that.Trump, at a Vietnam hotel before a planned meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and unable to ignore the drama playing out thousands of miles away, lashed out at Cohen on Twitter, saying that his lawyer “did bad things unrelated to Trump” and “is lying in order to reduce his prison time.”A judge already has set Cohen’s sentence, and Cohen’s co-operation before Congress will have no bearing on that term.On WikiLeaks, Cohen said in the prepared testimony that he was in Trump’s office in July 2016 when longtime adviser Roger Stone telephoned Trump. Trump put Stone on speakerphone and Stone told him that he had communicated with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and that “within a couple of days, there would be a massive dump of emails that would damage Hillary Clinton’s campaign,” according to Cohen.Trump responded by saying “wouldn’t that be great,” Cohen said.That month, WikiLeaks released thousands of emails hacked from the Democratic National Committee’s server.”A lot of people have asked me about whether Mr. Trump knew about the release of the hacked Democratic National Committee emails ahead of time,” Cohen said in the prepared testimony. “The answer is yes.”Cohen, once Trump’s loyal attorney, has turned on his former boss and co-operated with special counsel Mueller’s Russia investigation. He begins a three-year prison sentence in May after pleading guilty to lying to Congress in 2017 and committing campaign finance violations while he was working for Trump.He met with the Senate intelligence committee for more than nine hours behind closed doors on Tuesday. Cohen said in brief remarks afterward that he appreciated the opportunity to “clear the record and tell the truth” to the panel after acknowledging he lied to the committee in 2017.It was the first of three days of congressional appearances for Cohen. After the public hearing Wednesday, he will appear before the House intelligence panel Thursday, in private.Republicans were expected to aggressively attempt to discredit Cohen, given that he has acknowledged lying previously. White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said in a statement Tuesday it was “laughable that anyone would take a convicted liar like Cohen at his word, and pathetic to see him given yet another opportunity to spread his lies.”One Republican House member did more than just question Cohen’s credibility. Florida Republican Matt Gaetz tweeted Tuesday that the world is “about to learn a lot” about Cohen and suggested he knew of disparaging information that could come out during the hearing. Gaetz later apologized and said he was deleting the tweet.Gaetz, a Trump ally who talks to the president frequently, is not a member of the committee that was questioning Cohen.Democrats have been alternately suspicious of Cohen and eager to hear what he has to say. Sen. Mark Warner, the intelligence panel’s top Democrat, suggested in a brief statement to reporters outside Tuesday’s interview that Cohen had provided important information.”Two years ago when this investigation started I said it may be the most important thing I am involved in in my public life in the Senate, and nothing I’ve heard today dissuades me from that view,” Warner said.In addition to lying to Congress, Cohen pleaded guilty last year to campaign finance violations for his involvement in payments to two women who allege they had affairs with Trump.Federal prosecutors in New York have said Trump directed Cohen to arrange the payments to buy the silence of porn actress Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal in the run-up to the 2016 campaign. Cohen told a judge that he agreed to cover up Trump’s “dirty deeds” out of “blind loyalty.”Cohen said in his prepared testimony that he lied to the first lady, Melania Trump, about the affairs. Trump has denied that he had the affairs.”Lying to the first lady is one of my biggest regrets,” he said. “She is a kind, good person. I respect her greatly – and she did not deserve that.”Cohen also said he will present the committee with a copy of the check Trump wrote from his personal bank account after he became president to reimburse him for the hush money payments. He claimed he has other exhibits as well, including some financial statements.On the matter of racism, Cohen said the president made racist comments “disparaging African-Americans, saying at one point that black people would never vote for him because they were too stupid.”Associated Press writers Laurie Kellman and Lisa Mascaro contributed to this report.