Trump Fixer Michael Cohen testifies. TRANSCRIPT: 02/27/2019, All In w. Chris Hayes.

Deborah Wasserman Schultz, Jamie Raskin, Natasha Bertrand, David Corn, Rick Wilson, Danielle Moodie-Mills, Tony Schwartz

Date: February 27, 2019
Guest: Deborah Wasserman Schultz, Jamie Raskin, Natasha Bertrand, David
Corn, Rick Wilson, Danielle Moodie-Mills, Tony Schwartz

for now. “ALL IN” with Chris Hayes starts right now.



sat next to this man for ten years and I watched his back.

HAYES: For the first time ever –

COHEN: Mr. Trump is a con man.

HAYES: Michael Cohen testifies in public.

COHEN: Mr. Trump is a racist.

HAYES: Against his former boss.

COHEN: Mr. Trump is a cheat.

HAYES: From the Russian e-mail hack –

COHEN: Trump knew from Roger Stone in advance about the WikiLeaks drop of

HAYES: To the Trump Tower deal.

COHEN: Mr. Trump knew of and directed the Trump Moscow negotiations
throughout the campaign and lied about it.

HAYES: To what we still don`t know.

REP. RAJA KRISHNAMOORTHI (D), ILLINOIS: Is there any other wrongdoing or
illegal act that you are aware of regarding Donald Trump that we haven`t
yet discussed today?


HAYES: A historic day of testimony against the president.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When you called Donald Trump a cheat, what would you
call yourself?

COHEN: A fool.

HAYES: And the desperate Republican attempts to shut it down.

COHEN: I`m responsible for your silliness because I did the same thing
that you`re doing now.

HAYES: When ALL IN starts right now.


HAYES: Good evening from New York I`m Chris Hayes. Two months before
reporting the federal prison to serve a three-year sentence, the man the
President has called a rat for cooperating with the Justice Department came
before Congress and the American people to paint what was a devastating
portrait, frankly, of his former boss.

In the first ever public testimony from a witness inside the President`s
inner circle, Michael Cohen pulled back the curtain on Trump world to
reveal an operation built on lies, intimidation and a number of potential


COHEN: 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. He is a racist, he is a con man, and he
is a cheat. And I have done bad things but I am not a bad man. I have
fixed things but I am no longer your fixer Mr. Trump.


HAYES: It was the most damning testimony against a sitting president since
well, probably John Dean incriminated Richard Nixon. And this despite
Cohen`s very real credibility issues. Among other charges he pleaded
guilty to lying under oath in previous congressional testimony. Cohen
acknowledged his own limitations and tried to corroborate his claims about
the President.


COHEN: To attack me every single time about taxes, I have no credibility,
it`s for exactly that reason that I spent the last week searching boxes in
order to find the information that I did so that you don`t have to take my
word for it. I don`t want you to. I want you to look at the documents and
I want you to make your own decision.


HAYES: Among the documents Cohen submitted into evidence was this, a check
for $35,000 apparently signed by the President himself dated August 1st,
2017 while the president was in office, while he was President of these
United States. Cohen says it was part of his reimbursement for the hush
money paid to Stormy Daniels before the election.

Now, let`s be clear, that hushpuppy payment was part of the criminal scheme
to which Cohen has already plead guilty in federal court. A scheme that
may well have helped Donald Trump get elected by suppressing information,
and the check from the president puts the president sitting as the
president wall in the White House at the center of that continued scheme
while serving as a chief executive of the U.S. government.

Cohen also alleged that Donald Trump Jr. and Trump Organizations CFO Allen
Weisselberg were involved. Besides implicating the president in a
conspiracy to violate election law, Cohen accused the president of a number
of other crimes including self-dealing in his charitable foundation, bank
fraud, insurance fraud, and tax evasion fudging his ethics filings under
penalty of perjury.

Cohn accused the president and his lawyers of suborning perjury by
effectively urging him to lie to Congress and downplay his work on a
project in Moscow throughout the campaign. Cohen also claimed the
President had advanced knowledge from Roger Stone of WikiLeaks first
release in the summer of 2016.


COHEN: Mr. Stone told Mr. Trump that he had just gotten off the phone with
Julian Assange and that Mr. Assange told Mr. stone that within a couple of
days there would be a massive dump of emails that would damage Hillary
Clinton`s campaign.

REP. DEBORAH WASSERMAN SCHULTZ (D), FLORIDA: How can we corroborate what
you are saying?

COHEN: I don`t know but I suspect that the Special Counsel`s office and
other government agencies have the information that you`re seeking.


HAYES: Cohen alleged a vast range of criminal conduct by the President,
and that`s just the stuff he`s allowed to talk about. For all we know,
there may be other incidents we haven`t heard about yet that are already in
under investigation by federal prosecutors.


KRISHNAMOORTHI: When was the last communication with President Trump or
someone acting on his behalf?

COHEN: I don`t have the specific date but it was a while ago.

KRISHNAMOORTHI: And what did he or his agent communicate to you?

COHEN: Unfortunately this topic is actually something that`s being
investigated right now by the Southern District of New York. And I`ve been
asked by them not to discuss it, not to talk about these issues.


HAYES: Joining me now two Democratic members of the House Oversight
Committee who questioned Michael Cohen at today`s hearing, Congressman
Jamie Raskin of Maryland and Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz of
Florida. Congresswoman, I`ll begin with you. A lot of testimony, we`ve
learned a lot of things, some things we knew and were confirmed, some were
completely new pieces of information. What was your takeaway from today

SCHULTZ: Well, my takeaway from today, Chris, was that we`ve got a few
more hearings that we have to – that we have to convene with particularly
for starters with President Trump`s daughter, and son, and son-in-law
because Mr. Cohen`s response to my question today about whether or not they
could have been compromised prior to the election due to their involvement
and lying about the Trump Tower deal certainly created more questions than
then answers and we`ve got two of those three people who are literally
working in the White House every single day. And it`s essential that we
get to the bottom of the deception and the corruption that appears to have
taken place.

HAYES: So just to make sure I`m tracking this, you`re saying Don Jr.,
Ivanka, and Jared, you would like to see them before that committee?

SCHULTZ: I would.

HAYES: Congressman Raskin, your takeaway from today.

REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D), MARYLAND: Well, the president is a hands-on leader
when it comes to his various schemes and so he was directly involved in
running the Moscow Trump Tower project. he was directly involved in
writing checks and organizing checks for hush money payments that
constituted illegal campaign finance contributions and expenditures.

So I don`t think the President is going to be able to run away from what
we`ve learned about him. I mean, he was directly involved in all of the
criminality that Mr. Cohen was discussing today, and he came off as a very
powerful effective witness precisely because he wasn`t lying. He has no
incentive to lie now and he`s unburdening himself after you know, more than
a decade of being involved with this web of propaganda and deceit that`s
the Trump campaign and the Trump presidency.

So I think our Republican colleagues appeared to be frantic and unhinged at
many points, and you know they kept talking about lying but as I told
Cohen, they weren`t up said because he had lied to Congress about the
president, they were upset because he stopped lying to Congress about the
president and I think that was very clear.

HAYES: I want to ask you about a thing that I think is – it`s a strange
thing because it`s something that we all know and have known for a while.
It was sort of reintroduced and framed today which is that the President is
just as a matter of the public record implicated in a criminal conspiracy
to violate campaign finance law that has already resulted in a felony plea,
that has been sworn on to by the Southern District in New York and the
judge in that case all of whom agree that there was – that there was a
violation of a criminal violation of campaign finance law.

And today, Michael Cohen comes out and shows a check the President wrote in
August of his first year of office. Did that surprise you, Congresswoman?

SCHULTZ: It did surprise me. To see the sort of stone-cold evidence that
President Trump did exactly the opposite of what he said which he lied
initially and said that he had not made any payments, knew nothing about
the payments as a result of that interaction. And what was even more
surprising, Chris, was that those payments and those discussions happened
in the Oval Office.

I mean, that was stunning. That was a stunning admission that in the midst
of President Trump running the country, what was he – what was he most
worried about, making sure that he reimbursed his lawyer who he had you
know, take a loan out on his house, cover up the deed for him and you pay
him back during this entire process and while he`s been lying about it as
president United States. That was stunning to me.

HAYES: Congressman, I want to – I want to play some testimony with Gerry
Connolly who`s a colleague of yours who I think listened to something
entirely new. It was not in the plea that Michael Cohen entered into. I
don`t think we knew this. This is about whether the President – how and
if the presidents reviewed – he and his lawyers reviewed his congressional
testimony. Take a listen.


REP. GERRY CONNOLLY (D), VIRGINIA: So you had a conversation with the
president of the United States about your impending testimony before the
House Intelligence Committee, is that correct?

COHEN: That`s correct.

RASKIN: Which specific lawyers reviewed and edited your statement to
Congress on the Moscow Tower negotiations and did they make any changes to
your statement?

COHEN: There were changes made, additions. Jay Sekulow for one.


HAYES: So now, that`s you there, Congressman Raskin. We should say that
Jay Sekulow issued a denial. It`s a specific denial that the testimony –
that they change anything having to do with the duration of the Moscow deal
is false. He says, “Today`s testimony by Michael Cohen that attorneys for
the President edited or change his statement of Congress to altered the
duration of the Trump Tower Moscow negotiation is it completely false.”
What`s your reaction to Cohn`s testimony about the President and his
lawyers both talking to him, reviewing his testimony that we now know was

RASKIN: Well, the reason we were asking about it is because Michael Cohen
is going to prison for lying to Congress about how long the president was
involved in you know, his business negotiations for the Moscow Tower. And
they – it was changed from apparently what was accurate which was it went
in you know through most of the campaign or at least until the summer to
January. And what we elicited from him is that the lawyers for the
president, Jay Sekulow, I believe was a personally retained lawyer not a
White House lawyer, and as well as possibly the White House lawyers
reviewed and edited the testimony.

So obviously, that`s one of the many fruitful lines of inquiry that we need
to pursue now. Was this changed by lawyers working for the president? How
involved was the White House in that? And you know, there a number of
things like that that came up today which are peaking our curiosity in a
very strong way.

HAYES: All right, Congressman Jamie Raskin and Congresswoman Debbie
Wasserman Schultz, thank you both after a very long day for making time for
us this evening. To help decipher the vast legal implications from today`s
hearing, let`s bring an MSNBC Legal Analyst Jill Wine-Banks and MSNBC Legal
Analyst Nick Akerman who are both former assistant special Watergate

Jill, let me start with you. Your expectations for today and where they –
were today surprised you?

JILL WINE-BANKS, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: I wasn`t surprised today. I was –
found him to be a very credible and calm witness. And maybe I was a little
surprised about how come he remained under the constant deluge of attacks.
I also was maybe a little surprised by how much documentation he had. When
John Dean testified during Watergate, he was uncorroborated. We all now
think about how he was corroborated by the tapes but he didn`t know that
there were any tapes at the time he testified. He testified simply from

And in this case, we had actual documents, seeing the checks and seeing
Donald Trump`s signature which looked exactly like it does when he signs
legislation, was – that was a very dramatic moment for me. I think the
identification of as Congressman Raskin just said lines of inquiry to be
pursued was very dramatic. And also the number of crimes that were
identified today.

I mean, you had – we knew about bank fraud we knew about some of the
campaign finance violations but there were the foundation and the purchase
of the painting and the ego that was involved in jacking up the price of
that so that his would sell for the most amount of money. There were just
a lot of crimes identified so I think that there`s a lot left to be pursued
and investigated both by Mueller and by the Congress in public.

NICK AKERMAN, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: Yes. Look, I think the big issue here
is his credibility and I think he was extremely credible.

HAYES: I was personally surprised by how credible and calm he seemed,

AKERMAN: Absolutely. But if you look at – what is the test of
credibility, its cross-examination. What did the Republicans do? They
asked – they`d asked him about the incidents involving Donald Trump. They
asked him about who paid for your lawyer. I mean, they never even touched
one of the items that he brought up.

I mean what they did is they call them a friends and the Democrats on the
committee. He wasn`t testifying because he was a friend of the Democrats,
he was testifying because he had been a friend and a confidant of Donald
Trump for over ten years.

HAYES: Well, that`s part of the weirdness of the whole set up is that the
more they berate the man`s character, the worst it looks for the man that
he worked for, for ten years.

AKERMAN: Absolutely.

HAYES: I mean, sort of a Chinese finger (INAUDIBLE) kind of situation.

AKERMAN: Of course. They asked you to believe that he lied. He told –
he told the truth when he said he lied to Congress. But then they turn
around and say well don`t believe him when he said that his boss – Donald
Trump lied on a whole bunch of different occasions.

HAYES: What do you think – we`re going to talk about more of this and
then I`m going to come to you Jill. But what do you think about what from
the special counsels perspective we heard today and didn`t hear?

AKERMAN: I think it`s what we didn`t hear that`s most important. I think
what`s really significant is that he kept away from a good part of the
Russian investigation. We just got little snippets from the beginning
relating to Trump Tower, relating to Roger Stone, and conversations with
Julian Assange which obviously are significant. But he didn`t get into
this whole area of whether he was really involved at the end after Paul
Manafort left in trying to cover up the role of the Russian involvement in
the entire campaign.

HAYES: Right.

AKERMAN: So that`s a part we don`t know. And the fact that that is still
an open issue says to me, we`re not going to be getting a report from Bob
Mueller anytime soon.

HAYES: That`s an interesting point. There`s also the fact, Jill, that
when that Congressman Krishnamoorthi asked, are there other crimes that you
know about that we haven`t heard. He said, yes, sure are, but I can`t tell

BANKS: Yes. That was one of the dramatic moments and will show us that
there is much more to come. I think going to his credibility, one of the
things that said to me, credibility, was how controlled and careful he was
in his testimony. He did not stretch the truth. When he thought that
there was something exonerating, he said it. He said, I don`t think that
he would ever hit Melania.

He was very careful. He didn`t say yes, he knew that those e-mails were
from the Russians. He said he knew that they exist because I heard this
conversation. But he was very careful in saying exactly and only what he
heard. So that`s a sign of a very credible, well-prepared witness, and
that was impressive to me and made me think that people will believe him.

HAYES: In fact, he said a lot of things that were actually exculpatory to
the president that you know, about a tape in which he allegedly had abused
his wife doesn`t – I don`t think it exists. About the infamous blackmail
tape the Russian have, he said, I don`t think that exists. About the
President pay for abortions or medical procedures, I don`t know. Not that
– I mean –

AKERMAN: That`s right.

HAYES: He was not their saying like every fever dream you have about the
evil of man is true. He, in fact, knocking down humorous things despite
the fact that Republicans were knocking about the head.

AKERMAN: And that`s right. And they`re trying to make it like a big deal
that this person because he has pled guilty and he committed crimes
shouldn`t be believed. The fact of the matter is, this happens all the
time. When I was a prosecutor, I had a guy who spent his whole life
scheming and stealing and committed nine murders, and I had a lot of people
convicted on his testimony and that`s because as, Jill, said he had lots of
corroborating testimony – corroborating evidence, documents, and other
testimony. That`s what`s important.

HAYES: One big takeaway Allen Weisselberg, CFO of Trump Org, that guy has
got some talking to do because he got name dropped a lot by Michael Cohen
as a guy who knows things even Michael Cohen doesn`t. I imagine we will be
hearing more from him in some capacity one way or the other. Jill Wine-
Banks and Nick Akerman, thank you both.

Much more to get through in the first public testimony of the President`s
former right-hand man Michael Cohen including Cohen`s allegations the
President is lying about some of the questions at the heart of the Mueller
probe. We`ll talk about that next.



COHEN: I remember being in a room with Mr. Trump probably in early June of
2016 when something peculiar happened. Don Trump Jr. came into the room
and walked behind his father`s desk which in and of itself was unusual.
People didn`t just walk behind Mr. Trump`s desk to talk to him. And I
recall Don Jr. leave leaning over to his father and speaking in a low voice
which I could clearly hear and saying the meeting is all set. And I
remember Mr. Trump saying, OK, good, let me know.

So I concluded that Don Jr. was referring to that June 2016 Trump Tower
meeting about dirt on Hillary with the Russian representatives when he
walked behind his dad`s desk that day.


HAYES: Michael Cohen under oath said today that he thinks Donald Trump
knew ahead of time about the 2016 Trump Tower meeting and his campaign
expected a Russian government representative to share dirt on Hillary
Clinton as part of the Kremlin`s efforts to get Trump elected. That`s not
the only time today that Cohen link the President to rush an election


COHEN: Mr. Trump knew from Roger Stone in advance about the WikiLeaks drop
of e-mails in July of 2016 days before the Democratic convention. I was in
Mr. Trump`s office when his secretary announced that Roger Stone was on the
phone. Mr. Trump, Mr. Stone on the speakerphone. Mr. stone told Mr. Trump
that he had just gotten off the phone with Julian Assange and that Mr.
Assange told Mr. Stone that within a couple of days there would be a
massive dump of e-mails that would damage Hillary Clinton`s campaign. Mr.
Trump responded by stating to the effect, wouldn`t that be great.

HAYES: Here to talk about what the President knew and when he knew it,
Natasha Bertrand Staff Writer for The Atlantic and David Corn the
Washington Bureau Chief for Mother Jones, co-author of Russian Roulette:
The Inside story of Putin`s War on America and the Election of Donald

Natasha, I`ll start with you. I should say that WikiLeaks has denied that
– it`s interesting, WikiLeaks and Assange both put out statements.
WikiLeaks saying they never had a phone call. Assange says this. His
lawyer Barry Pollack says Roger Stone did not have the telephone call.
Michael Cohen described Stone claiming to have had with Julian Assange
which is more parsed. What`s the significance of this from Michael Cohen?

carefully worded statement. So first of all, I think you have to think
about it in terms of the legal exposure that it could potentially pose to
the president in terms of perjury, right, because he told Mueller according
to CNN that he had never been told by Roger Stone about the impending
WikiLeaks releases. He put that in writing.

If that – if Michael Cohen`s claims are corroborated here by Mueller and
Mueller, of course, thinks that Cohen is a credible witness, then that
could be a big problem for the President.

HAYES: Great point.

BERTRAND: You know, secondly I think that Mueller`s claims in recent court
filings really show that this might not have just been Roger Stone bluffing
on July 18th, 19th. That`s around the time that Cowan says that he heard
the phone call. And that`s also the exact day that WikiLeaks message
Guccifer 2.0, as we know a Russian intelligence front, and said thanks, got
the DNC e-mails. Ready to publish them within the next week. The same day
that stone reached out to Trump.

Another thing is that on July 22nd, the day that the DNC e-mails were
released, Roger Stone is contacted by a senior Trump campaign official who
had been directed by yet another unknown senior Trump campaign official to
ask Assange when more e-mails damaging to Clinton`s candidacy would be

So there are a lot of you know things you need to look at in terms of the
timeline when judging the veracity of this.

HAYES: You know, David, I kept thinking about how we got this whole weird
subplot of like the intermediary between Stone and Assange, right? Like,
was it Corsi or Credico, and part of his lying is he`s trying to throw
people off the scent from one to the other. But this suggested that they
were just talking to each other. I don`t know if this is true, but it is a
very different picture of the chain of communication than what is –

it happens before the conversations that we know about between Stone and
Corsi. I always thought it the big puzzle there is that Stone has publicly
said he told reporters that Randy Credico, this guy in New York City, a
radio host was his intermediary with – in an attempt to get to WikiLeaks.
And he never said anything about Jerome Corsi. That`s why he didn`t tell
Congress that far as he`s been indicted in part.

So my question always has been, why is he so careful? Why is he lying yes
allegedly committing a crime to protect the Corsi channel, but telling
everybody about Credico? We still don`t know the answer to this. My guess
is that Mueller knows and hopefully one day he will inform the rest of us.

But I do think the Trump Tower meeting revelation might even be more
important that we that we heard today.

HAYES: How so?

CORN: Because that gets to the issue of whether Trump himself knew that
the Kremlin was trying to help his campaign. Because that`s the – that`s
the importance of the meeting. Not whether they got dirt or not. They
came with an e-mail that said we`re going to give you dirt through a
Russian emissary, but this is part of a Kremlin plan to help Trump. Who
saw that? Trump Jr., Jared, and Paul Manafort, the campaign manager at the
time. They were told that Russia wants to help them.

Now, throughout the campaign they kept saying, no Russian intervention and
Trump said the same thing. But if he knew about that meeting, he knew that
the Russians were up to something to help him and then he lied to the
public about that through the rest of the campaign.

HAYES: Well, that – I mean, first of all, the Cohen`s testimony that like
of course, Donald Trump micromanages all this stuff and would know about it
was persuasive and chives with everything we`ve heard about everything
else. But just take a step back. I mean, what might take away from this
is just like of course, all these people knew what they were doing.

The Kremlin knows what Donald Trump is doing when he goes out there and
says please hack Hillary Clinton`s e-mails and Vladimir Putin is an awesome
dude and at least he`s a strong leader for his country and we could
probably drop sanctions. And I don`t know, Crimea probably wants to be
part of Russia. They know what he`s doing and Donald Trump knows what is
happening when all this stuff is popping up from Russians. Like no one
needed to tell the other party what they`re doing when the whole thing is

CORN: Exactly.

BERTRAND: No. And I think one of the most remarkable things that Michael
Cohen did today was he placed Donald Trump at the center of the most
important discussions, Russia-related discussions that were happening
during the campaign and after the campaign. So you know, when you think
about the Trump Tower you know, meeting. He says that Donald Trump Jr.
effectively told him about that meeting.

When you`re talking about Trump Tower Moscow, he said that Trump told him
to implicitly lie about it even if he did not – did not explicitly come
out and say it, he said you know, stick to the story, no Russia collusion
and you know Michael Cohen took the hint there.

And when it comes to WikiLeaks, he was involved in those conversations too.
So what Michael Cohen did which was a real service here is he made Trump –
he put over the center of the conspiracy in a way that we cannot deny any
longer that Trump knew about the collusion aspect of this.

HAYES: David.

CORN: And it`s not just collusion. I mean, we get - I think we get hung
up on this. The fact that Donald Trump, a presidential nominee spent
months denying that Russia was attacking. This is an attack. Russia was
attacking the United States when he knew or at least his people knew about
the Trump Tower meeting and maybe he did too, and even after he was briefed
by U.S. intelligence in mid-august that Russians were behind these attacks,
he still went out there and echoed, bolstered, amplified the Russian
disinformation that they weren`t doing anything.

So that`s the profound act of betrayal that he`s been able to sidestep a
bit by saying there was no collusion. He never sat down with Russian
hackers and told them where to hit the DNC servers. But it`s this other
larger portrayal, it`s out there right in front of us that really is one of
the biggest scandals I think in American political history.

HAYES: Natasha Bertrand and David Corn, thank you both for taking the
time. Next, the embarrassingly desperate lengths Republicans went to today
to show they are truly a party of Trump. Those scenes coming up.


HAYES: Not a great look for the Republicans in the House Oversight
Committee today as they did everything they could to disrupt the Michael
Cohen hearing. They unsuccessfully tried to end the hearing before it
began, before attempting to portray the president`s former lawyer as a
lying criminal, a fact disputed by exactly no one, including Michael Cohen.

GOP committee members frequently yielded their time back to ranking member
Jim Jordan, hoping he would land a punch, but Jordan was repeatedly
rebuffed, and even scolded by Cohen.


MICHAEL COHEN, FORMER TRUMP LAWYER: Shame on you, Mr. Jordan. That`s not
what I said. Shame on you.

REP. JIM JORDAN, (R) OHIO: Mr. Chairman…

COHEN: That`s not what I said responsibility and I take responsibility.
What I was doing is explaining to the gentleman that his facts are
inaccurate. I take responsibility for my mistakes, all right. I am
remorseful. And I am going to prison…


HAYES: Two things quickly became obvious, that House Republicans had
nothing to attack Cohen with, and that they had no power anymore.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I asked unanimous consent.

REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS, (D) MARYLAND: The gentleman`s time has expired. You
may answer the question.

COHEN: I don`t know what you`re referring to, sir.


CUMMING: Mr. Clay.

REP. LACY CLAY, (D) MISSOURI: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

HAYES: Republicans are left resorting to childish taunts, literally liar,
liar pants on fire, or trying to solve imaginary crimes, like Louisiana`s
Clay Higgins and the search for Michael Cohen`s missing boxes.


REP. CLAY HIGGINS, (R) LOUISIANA: Mr. Cohen, I`m quoting you close,
(inaudible) said I spent last week looking through boxes to find documents
that would support your accusations. Where are those boxes, good sir?

Where are those boxes? Are they in your garage?

COHEN: They are in storage.

HIGGINS: And are these not boxes that should have been turned over to
investigative authorities? Did Mr. Lanny Davis know of these boxes?

COHEN: I spent the last week searching boxes.

HIGGINS: Where are those boxes? Where are these boxes? Who knows if the
– where is this treasure of evidence?


HAYES: They actually had been seized by investigators and then returned to
Michael Cohen, which she tried to explain maybe a dozen times.

One of the more bizarre moments came when Mark Meadows of North Carolina
brought in Lynne Patton. She`s a former Trump org employee who is now the
HUD regional director for New York, despite having zero relevant
qualifications for that important job. And he had her stand awkwardly
behind him as proof that Trump couldn`t be racist.

When Democrat Rashida Tlaib pointed out the flaws of that, Meadows did not
take it well.


REP. RADHIDA TLAIB, (D) MICHIGAN: Just to make a note, Mr. Chairman, just
because someone has a person of color, a black person, working for them,
does not mean they aren`t racist. And it is insensitive that someone even
say – the fact that someone would actually use a prop, a black woman, in
this chamber in this committee is alone racist in itself.

REP. MARK MEADOWS, (D) NORTH CAROLINA: My nieces and nephews are people of
color, not many people know that. You know that, Mr. Chairman. And to
indicate that I ask someone who is a personal friend of the Trump family,
who has worked for him, who knows this particular individual, that she`s
coming in to be a prop, it`s racist to suggest that I ask can her to come
in here for that reason.


HAYES: How about that? We will take a deeper dive into what might have
been the Republican`s worst day in a while with Rick Wilson and Danielle
Moodie-Mills when we come back.


REP. PAUL GOSAR, (R) ARIZONA; It`s sad. It`s sad that we with come – and
in fact I want to the chairman`s very words. This is a real – hold on…

CUMMINGS: Gentleman`s time is expired.

GOSAR: …sad state.




COHEN: I`m responsible for your silliness, because I did the same thing
you`re doing now for 10 years: I protected Mr. Trump for 10 years. And the
fact that you pull up a news article that has no value to it and you want
to use that as the premise for discrediting me, that I`m not the person
that people called at 3:00 in the morning, would make you inaccurate, in
actuality, it would make you a liar, which puts you in the same place I am
in. And I can only warn people, the more people who follow Mr. Trump, as I
did blindly, are going to suffer the same consequences that I`m suffering.


HAYES: Michael Cohen, a convicted felon, warned Republicans to their faces
on the oversight committee today they could end up just like him if they
continued to carry water for the president.


COHEN: You don`t know him. I do. I sat next to this man for 10 years and
I watched his back. I`m the one who started the campaign.


HAYES: Joining me now, Republican strategist and media consultant Rick
Wilson and Danielle Moodie-Mills, host of Woke AF on Sirius XM.

There are a lot of weird moments. I want to just start with the bizarre
Lynne Patton moment in which Mark Meadows goes out of his way to preemptive
rebut something that was in the opening testimony about the president
calling black voters too stupid to vote for him, and as a means of
rebutting that has Lynne Patton silently stand up.

DANIELLE MOODIE-MILLS, HOST, WOKE AF: On an auction block and say look at
my black friend, look at her, that means the president isn`t racist, was
the epitome of racism. Are you serious? Is she the black ambassador for
the entire race because one person out of his entire cabinet, his entire
staff is there is there as the black person that this is who you bring up?

The fact that he thought that that was going to be like a got you moment is
incredible to me. Incredible.

HAYES: Yeah, it was awkward and cringe inducing and bizarre in the moment
I think even to people that maybe were disposed to be sympathetic on the
Republicans on the committee.

RICK WILSON, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Sure. And, look, that was for the
Fox/Breitbart audience. That was exclusively to play to their base,
because it`s my black friend theory. And it was cringe inducing. It was
awful. And it was just a moment, you`re like, get off that train, you
know, that is not a great place for you to be.

HAYES: You know, there are two things that struck me about Republicans in
this. One is, obviously they`re going to defend the president, but there
was a kind of toadying quality to it that was striking. I mean, we know
this about the way – you know, the way that Trump has taken over the
party, but there was an abjectness to the way they comported themselves,
except for Justin Amash, in which they didn`t even pretend to care about
the things that were being made.

WILSON: Right. They never asked a substantive question all day today.
They never addressed anything. They avoided saying the T-word, Donald
Trump, the entire time. And what you got was a lot of like high school
drama class over acting by Jim Jordan throwing his arms around and throwing
paper, and Mark Meadows practically spiting, you know, he`s so angry.

All of it was just contrived, phony, you know, like I said it`s high school
drama class. It`s so over the top and its so silly. And of course they`re
demeaning themselves. They`ve given up…

MOODIE-MILLS: I don`t want to insult high school drama classes, because I
think that they put in a lot of work. I mean, they put up a poster board
that said like liar, liar pants on fire. Who does that? No one does that
in real life.

WILSON: I mean, the important part, Chris, that everybody keeps missing
is, you know who doesn`t give a damn about the high school drama, Southern
District of New York, Robert Mueller. The facts don`t – the fact that
Cohen is revealing today are much – are going to be remembered and known
and litigated long after all this play time is over.

HAYES: Although, what was interesting to me is they didn`t really even try
to dismantle any of the facts. I mean, honestly, like, the fact that the
president – and there`s one guy Steube, I believe his name is, from
Florida, who actually did this long thing where he`s trying to be like well
is there any
corroborating evidence that this is a reimbursement. And Michael Cohen is
like no. And then ultimately Michael Cohen well Rudy Giuliani said it was
a reimbursement on national television. So everyone has agreed to that.
Where are you going with this.

But that was the only attempt to try to knock anything down. By and large,
there was no actual factual attack.

MOODIE-MILLS: And that`s what I thought was so troubling is that here was
their opportunity to really say I want to get to the truth. Here we are,
we know that Republicans had control for two years. But this is our
opportunity to show the American people that we care more about the truth
than we do about the proximity to power and money. It is an incredible

And that`s what we saw today, that`s what Michael Cohen said, don`t be like
me, be better than me.

HAYES: And there`s also the surreality of the whole spectacle, which is
them hammering Michael Cohen on his character in a totally warranted


HAYES: But it`s like, yes, exactly, that`s, right, have you looked at the
White House? I felt like they were doing what I do every night on this
show being like this guy.

WILSON: The question – and it poses the obvious question, was Michael
Cohen a scum bag
only after he ratted on Trump? Did his character miraculously change
overnight? No. And everything about Donald Trump`s organization that
Weisselberg and Cohen are going to reveal and peal back over time is going
to look sleazy and nasty and small ball, it`s not The Apprentice, it`s not
TV Show image of
The Apprentice, it`s the real Donald Trump. It`s the sleaze.

HAYES: And not just the Trump Org, as someone – as multiple people – the
deputy finance chair for the RNC was in that committee today, the deputy
finance chair for the RNC. If this guy is such a scum bag…

WILSOM: And a prime surrogate for the president.

HAYES: You know, like…

MOODIE-MILLS: He say – Michael Cohen said I know Donald Trump. I sat
next to him and with him for 10 years, right, so the idea is that, a,
Donald Trump wants us to believe that he is an idiot and knows nothing that
happened in his organization, or he wants us to think that he`s a brilliant
and he has the best words and the best people around him.

And my question is, which one is it? Which Donald Trump should we know and
should we understand and believe as American citizens. I don`t know. So
my gut tells me you`re an idiot, right. You`ve surrounded yourself with
people that are just like you. They are sycophants, and they will do
anything and everything in order to cover your tracks. And I just, I can`t
help but ask myself why? Why? What are you going to get at the end of the
day? The Republican Party, what are you going to get at the end of the
day? Because he is going down.

WILSON: Fired.

HAYES: Yeah. That was the question I kept asking myself watching the
entire performance today as well. It was the question Michael Cohen was
asking himself as he tried to warn them.

Rick Wilson and Danielle Moodie-Mills, thank you both.

Still to come, Michael Cohen`s portrait of Trump world and the code they
operate under. Tony Schwartz, co-author of “Art of the Deal,” joins me to
talk about that.

Plus, this literal portrait of Trump in one of the more bizarre stories to
come out of today`s
hearing. That story next.


HAYES: You have to wonder which parts of Michael Cohen`s testimony are
going to bother
Trump more, being implicated in actual crimes, or stories like this one,
about this portrait of the president and what Trump did when he heard it
was going up for auction in 2013.


COHEN: Mr. Trump directed me to find a straw bidder to purchase a portrait
of him that was being auctioned off at an Art Hamptons event. The
objective was to ensure that this portrait, which was going to be auctioned
last, would go for the highest price of any portrait that afternoon. The
portrait was purchased by the fake bidder for $60,000. Mr. Trump directed
the Trump Foundation, which is supposed to be a charitable organization, to
repay the fake bidder, despite keeping the art for himself.


HAYES: So just been clear, Donald Trump ordered Michael Cohen to find a
phony bidder to jack up the price of a painting of himself apparently all
so that he could brag that it was the most expensive as he did in a tweet
right after the auction, and I quote, “just found out that at a charity
auction of celebrity portraits in East Hampton, my portrait by artist
William Quigley topped the list at 60k.”

That was just one of many glimpses we got today inside the sordid, petty,
small, desperate
and thirsty world of Donald Trump. We`ll go even deeper inside Trump world
with “Art of the Deal”
co-author Tony Schwartz, next.


REP. JACKIE SPEIER, (D) CALIFORNIA: How many times did Mr. Trump ask you
to threaten an individual or entity on his behalf?

COHEN: Quite a few times.

SPEIER: 50 times?

COHEN: More.

SPEIER: 100 times?

COHEN: More.

SPEIER: 200 times?

COHEN: More.

SPEIER: 500 times?

COHEN: Probably over the 10 years.


HAYES: Michael Cohen`s testimony before congress today offering something
we rarely get from a Trump world insider, an unvarnished description of how
Donald Trump really operates, and specifically how he gets his dirty work

Joining me now is someone with unique insight into that process, Tony
Schwartz, ghost writer, co-author of Art of the Deal.

Did that – that part I thought was striking, the threats, and how much
they`re part of the MO. What did you think of that?

TONY SCHWARTZ, WRITER: Well, I mean, Trump was all over you like a wet
blanket no
matter who you were, trying to impose his agenda on you in every moment.
That was true in my own
experience, and it was true watching him. I was thinking today oddly about
Robert Trump, his younger
brother, who disappeared off into a farm in upstate New York many years
ago, but when I was doing this work was the number two guy at the Trump
organization. And I just watched him over and over be crushed by Donald.

HAYES: What do you mean by that?

SCHWARTZ: Just do this – it`s like Michael Cohen, do this, do that, stop,
shut up. You know, interesting, for example, what he said about his own
son today, you know, he`s got the worst judgment on earth.

HAYES: Right.

SCHWARTZ: I mean, you know, John, that Donald Trump would sell out his
children in one moment if it was him or them to go to prison.

HAYES: By the way, the president right now is meeting with Kim Jong-un in
Hanoi. The two of them are set to have the first full day of essentially
bilateral talks at this summit. They`ve had some sort of niceties, there`s
been a little bit of staff work. We`re now seeing I think that`s live
pictures in Hanoi, Vietnam, just as that is going on while this is going on
back here.

And one thing I thought was really interesting was what Cohen said about
how Trump got people to toe the line. There`s this – you know, the story
comes out that Buzzfeed that he was directed him to lie to congress and
then the special counsel`s office knocks it down. And here is a kind of
threading of the needle, as Cohen explains it, that I thought would be
interesting. I`d like the get your response. Take a listen.


COHEN: Mr. Trump did not directly tell me to lie to congress, that`s not
how he operates. In conversations we had during the campaign, at the same
time I was actively negotiating in Russia for him, he would look me in the
eye and tell me there`s no Russian business, and go on to lie to the
American people by saying the same thing.

In his way, he was telling me to lie. He doesn`t give you questions. He
doesn`t give you orders. He speaks in a code, and I understand the code
because I`ve been around him for a decade.


SCHWARTZ: Yeah. And what it makes me think, Chris, is just this is a man,
as I`ve said many, many times, without a conscience. And so the idea of
lying, not lying, they`re all the same to him. It`s how do i get what I
want when I want it.

You know, to me, the only question from today is what did he know, when did
he know it? What did he do, when did he do it? It`s so fascinating to me
that I cannot in reading over this see one instance in which anyone, any
Republican, said anything to defend him, to actually defend him. That`s an
amazing thought.

HAYES: It`s such a great point. I mean, no one says are you saying the
president lied about this? You want us to believe that Donald Trump wrote
a reimbursement check in the White House? Obviously all of that is
plausible on its face, every single last detail.

SCHWARTZ: Yeah. And even up until almost the very end with Nixon, there
were people who would talk about what a great statesman he was.

HAYES: Right.

SCHWARTZ: What an extraordinary person he was. And this was after he was
clearly guilty of felonies. No one at this point will say anything
positive about Donald Trump.

HAYES: It`s true. They did not affirmatively defend the man. What they
did is attack Michael
Cohen`s credibility, but they did not defend the character of the man that
he was speaking about today.

SCHWARTZ: That`s all they have left.

HAYES: What do you – here`s my question, I guess. I always wonder how
conscious he
is of the law and of skirting it, right. I mean, when people describe this
sort of mobster mentality, like he doesn`t tell you to do something, but he
sort of winks winks, nods nods. How conscious is he?

SCHWARTZ: You want to have a clear answer to that question, and I there
isn`t one, because I think he slides back and forth literally in and out of
reality. And I think that he – what really dominates him is the awareness
that, or the belief, that no matter what it is, true, false, right, wrong,
criminal, not criminal, he will prevail.

And let`s be very clear, he has prevailed and prevailed and prevailed until
this day. He`s Teflon until his not Teflon. I think it`s getting closer,
but I thought that for a long, long time.

HAYES: That`s a really, really good point.

Tony Schwartz, thank you so much for coming through tonight.

SCHWARTZ: Thank you.

HAYES: That is ALL IN for this evening. “THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW” starts
right now. Good evening, Rachel.


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