House Oversight Committee Ranking Member Jim Jordan blasted Michael Cohen during the former Trump lawyer's explosive public hearing Wednesday, claiming Cohen turned on the president because he didn't land a job at the White House.
“You said all these bad things about the president in the last 30 minutes, yet you worked for him for 10 years. If it’s that bad, I can see you working for him for 10 days, 10 weeks, maybe 10 months. But you worked for him for 10 years,” Jordan said Wednesday.
Jordan, R-Ohio, lit into Cohen after the star witness delivered an opening statement calling the president a "racist" and a "conman" and accusing Trump of numerous misdeeds before and after he became president. But Jordan suggested Cohen, who will soon report for a three-year prison sentence, only parted with Trump after he was excluded from the White House.
“How long did you work in the White House?” Jordan asked.
“I never worked in the White House,” Cohen replied.
“That’s the point, isn’t it? You wanted to work in the White House, but you didn’t get brought to the dance,” Jordan said.
Cohen responded: “No sir.”
“You didn’t get a job in the White House. Now you’re acting like everyone else who doesn’t have a job…like Andy McCabe and James Comey…” Jordan said, referring to the top FBI officials ousted under the Trump administration.
Cohen, who served as Trump’s personal attorney for 10 years, never worked in the White House or in an official capacity on the Trump campaign, despite reportedly having expectations to take on prominent roles.
Cohen reportedly told associates that he expected to be Trump’s first chief of staff—a job ultimately given to former Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus. Cohen also reportedly thought he would be chosen to be Trump’s campaign chief, but instead, Steve Bannon was tapped to fill the post.
Trump's elder sons echoed those reports as Cohen testified Wednesday.
“Michael was lobbying EVERYONE to be ‘chief of staff.” It was the biggest joke in the campaign and around the office. Did he just perjure himself again?” Eric Trump tweeted during the hearing.
Donald Trump Jr. also chimed in, sharing his brother’s tweet and saying: “Nailed it. It really was the biggest joke of the entire transition. The beginning of his bitterness was when he realized that was never going to happen. #Delusional.”
In his testimony, though, Cohen maintained that he “did not want to go to the White House,” saying he was offered jobs in the Office of Legal Counsel to work with former White House Counsel Don McGahn, but decided it would be best to maintain his role as Trump’s personal attorney to “handle some of the things in my opening statement.”
“All I wanted is what I got,” Cohen told Jordan. “To be the personal attorney to the president. I got exactly what I wanted.”
Cohen added that he wanted to stay in New York to watch his son finish his senior year in high school, and wait for his daughter to finish college and return to Manhattan.
Meanwhile, as part of Jordan's blistering comments meant to chip away at Cohen's credibility as a witness, he cited a number of other crimes, like tax evasion, which Cohen admitted under oath had nothing to do with protecting Trump.
Jordan listed five years of false tax returns filed by Cohen, and questioned whether he did that “out of blind loyalty” for Trump.
“No, I did not,” Cohen said.
“When you failed to pay $1.4 million in taxes—I got constituents who don’t make that in a lifetime—was that out of some blind loyalty?” Jordan asked.
“It was not, but the number was $1.38 million and change, and I have paid that money back to the IRS,” Cohen quibbled.
Jordan also quoted threatening statements made by Cohen years ago to a Daily Beast reporter.
“‘Tread very f---ing lightly. Because what I’m going to do to you is going to be very f---ing disgusting.’ Who said that?” Jordan asked.
“I did,” Cohen said, adding that it was to “protect Mr. Trump, Donald Trump Jr., Ivanka Trump and Eric Trump.”
Cohen pleaded guilty in November to lying to Congress about a Trump real estate project in Russia as part of Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling and potential collusion with Trump campaign associates. In August, Cohen also pleaded guilty to five counts of tax evasion, one count of making false statements to a financial institution, one count of willfully causing an unlawful corporate contribution, and one count of making an excessive campaign contribution. The excessive campaign contribution was regarding the $130,000 payment made to Stormy Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, in the weeks leading up to the 2016 presidential election in exchange for her silence about an alleged one-time sexual encounter with Trump.
Cohen is slated to report to prison next month to serve three years time.