During Michael Cohen’s public testimony before the House Oversight Committee, multiple Republican lawmakers pressed Cohen on whether he had plans for any future books or movie deals. | M. Scott Mahaskey/POLITICO
But Cohen’s potential publisher said it ‘never saw a manuscript from Mr. Cohen.’
By ANDREW RESTUCCIA
03/01/2019 08:45 AM EST
Updated 03/01/2019 04:46 PM EST
President Donald Trump on Friday launched a new line of attack on his former lawyer, Michael Cohen, demanding that Congress obtain a manuscript of Cohen’s scrapped book about his relationship with Trump.
In a series of morning tweets, the president alleged that the manuscript would show his former personal lawyer and fixer lied to Congress this week — though it was unclear whether Trump had seen the document or whether a full manuscript of the book even existed. In fact, Cohen’s potential publisher said it “never saw a manuscript” and a lawyer for Cohen said the book never went beyond a preliminary proposal. Story Continued Below
Still, the tweets marked the president’s most pointed criticism of his longtime fixer since Cohen’s explosive congressional testimony, in which he asserted that Trump is a liar, a cheat and a racist.
Trump’s allies initially mounted a no-holds-barred defense of the president on his behalf, as Trump was overseas during Wednesday’s House Oversight Committee hearing. They insisted that Cohen’s testimony can’t be trusted because he is going to jail later this year for, among other things, lying to Congress. Reps. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), two of the president’s staunchest allies in Congress, asked the Justice Department on Thursday to investigate Cohen for perjury.
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“Wow, just revealed that Michael Cohen wrote a ‘love letter to Trump’ manuscript for a new book that he was pushing,” Trump wrote on Friday morning, just hours after he returned home from his aborted summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, which failed to produce a nuclear deal. “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!”
Trump continued in a second tweet: “Congress must demand the transcript of Michael Cohen’s new book, given to publishers a short time ago. Your heads will spin when you see the lies, misrepresentations and contradictions against his Thursday testimony. Like a different person! He is totally discredited!”
The Daily Beast reported last May that legal troubles scuttled plans for Cohen’s book, which was tentatively titled “Trump Revolution: From The Tower to The White House, Understanding Donald J. Trump.”
The media outlet said it had obtained a proposal for the book that described how Cohen would detail his experience as the Trump family’s longtime fixer, as well as provide insight into the 2016 campaign and “the unfortunate saga involving Stephanie Clifford, also known as ‘Stormy Daniels.'” Cohen has said that Trump directed him to make a hush-money payment to Daniels during the campaign to cover up her allegation of an affair, implicating the president in a campaign finance violation.
It’s unclear how detailed the proposal is and whether there is a longer manuscript that includes more details.
“We never saw a manuscript from Mr. Cohen,” said Rolf Zettersten, the publisher of Center Street, the imprint that considered putting out Cohen’s book, in an email.
Cohen’s attorney, Lanny Davis, added in a statement: “Sometime in early 2018, Mr. Cohen was offered a substantial advance for a proposal regarding a book on understanding Donald Trump. Mr. Cohen ultimately elected not to proceed. In other words, POTUS has yet lied again … but what’s the difference between 9,000 or 9,001 lies?”
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for clarity on Trump’s tweets, and spokespeople for Meadows and Jordan did not immediately respond to questions about whether the lawmakers would try to obtain the alleged manuscript.
During Cohen’s testimony Wednesday, multiple Republican lawmakers pressed Cohen on whether he had plans for any future books or movie deals, and Cohen would not rule out the possibility.
Trump has repeatedly railed against Cohen for flipping on him as prosecutors closed in on the lawyer for financial crimes and campaign finance violations. Cohen’s public testimony this week intensified the feud, with Cohen directly criticizing the president and revealing potentially damaging information about Trump, his family and others in his inner circle.
On Friday morning, Trump continued his attacks on Cohen, special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe and House Democrats’ deepening investigations into Trump’s presidency and his finances.
“Oh’ I see! Now that the 2 year Russian Collusion case has fallen apart, there was no Collusion except bye Crooked Hillary and the Democrats, they say, ‘gee, I have an idea, let’s look at Trump’s finances and every deal he has ever done. Let’s follow discredited Michael Cohen and the fraudulent and dishonest statements he made on Wednesday,” Trump wrote. “No way, it’s time to stop this corrupt and illegally brought Witch Hunt. Time to start looking at the other side where real crimes were committed. Republicans have been abused long enough. Must end now!”
He followed up with one more tweet: “Michael Cohen’s book manuscript shows that he committed perjury on a scale not seen before. He must have forgotten about his book when he testified. What does Hillary Clinton’s lawyer, Lanny Davis, say about this one. Is he being paid by Crooked Hillary. Using her lawyer?”
Davis served as White House counsel for the Clinton administration in the 1990s and later acted as a surrogate for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaigns.
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