Cohen says Trump asked him to threaten people ‘500 times’

Former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen on Wednesday said that President Trump had asked him to threaten people on his behalf approximately 500 times, as he also expressed his own fears about the safety of his family.

Cohen was asked by Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., about his employment for President Trump, as part of a House Oversight and Reform committee hearing.

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“How many times did Mr. Trump ask you to threaten an individual or entity on his behalf?

Cohen replied: “Quite a few times”

“50 times?” Speier asked, to which he replied, “More.”

“100 times? Speier said, getting the same response.

Eventually she asked “500 times?”

“Probably over the ten years,” Cohen replied.“And when you say threaten, I’m talking about litigation or an argument with a nasty reporter that is writing an article.”

Earlier in his testimony, Cohen told the committee how he threatened schools President Trump attended over the possible release of his grades during the 2016 campaign. He said he had done so “at Mr. Trump’s direction.”

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In his opening statement, he said his decision to testify had caused his family “to be the target of personal, scurrilous attacks by the President and his lawyer -- trying to intimidate me from appearing before this panel.”

“Mr. Trump called me a ‘rat’ for choosing to tell the truth -- much like a mobster would do when one of his men decides to cooperate with the government,” he said.