Michael Cohen said in testimony to Congress on Wednesday that President Donald Trump never directly ordered him to lie, but instead made his wishes clear by speaking in “code” understood by anyone who works with him.
“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,” testified Cohen, Trump’s former longtime personal attorney.
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For example, Cohen said Trump would frequently remark that he had no business ties in Russia. Cohen said he understood Trump to mean that he should deny any such connections.
Cohen also gave a theoretical example of Trump complimenting someone on a necktie and others feeling forced to agree, regardless of their opinion of the attire. Trump would use such statements to indicate how he wanted Cohen or others to portray the situation under discussion, Cohen said.
Cohen has pleaded guilty to tax fraud, making false statements to a bank and campaign fraud while working for Trump, The Washington Post reported. He faces a three-year prison sentence.
Cohen has been cooperating with special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into allegations of campaign fraud and Russian influence in the 2016 election, according to USA Today.
Cohen began testifying before Congress on Tuesday in a closed session, CNN reported. Following his public testimony before Congress on Wednesday, he is set for another closed session on Thursday.
In the hearing, Cohen accused Trump of using racist language, lying about his wealth and possible criminal conduct.