In a further effort to distance himself from the criminal activity performed on his behalf, President Donald Trump dismissed the idea that he and former lawyer Michael Cohen, who recently pled guilty to campaign finance fraud, had a close professional relationship.
In an interview with AP, the president insisted that Cohen, who became known during the 2016 campaign as Trump's "fixer" and made numerous television appearances to vouch for the president, was actually just a "PR person who did small legal work."
Perhaps most stunningly, the president claimed that Cohen's crimes had nothing to do with him:
"Michael Cohen was a PR person who did small legal work, very small legal work."
As Senior Political Reporter for The Washington Post Aaron Blake points out, this is not the case.
In reality, Michael Cohen was Trump's personal lawyer for over a decade; from before the election of Barack Obama until nearly two years after Trump's own ascent to the White House. Their closeness often led Cohen to be one of the president's most vociferous defenders.
Cohen even implied once that he'd give his life for Donald Trump.
“I’m the guy who stops the leaks. I’m the guy who protects the president and the family. I’m the guy who would take a bullet for the president"
When Cohen initially landed in hot water for what would ultimately be his downfall, Trump returned the favor.
The New York Times and a third rate reporter named Maggie Haberman, known as a Crooked H flunkie who I don’t speak… https://t.co/du9mLxGUjS— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump)1524316200.0
....non-existent “sources” and a drunk/drugged up loser who hates Michael, a fine person with a wonderful family. M… https://t.co/dlBa5kZQId— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump)1524316201.0
....it means lying or making up stories. Sorry, I don’t see Michael doing that despite the horrible Witch Hunt and the dishonest media!— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump)1524316201.0
Now, Twitter users aren't about to let Trump forget that he and Cohen were bosom buddies.
@AC360 So all this time referring the free press and the American people to Trump's atty, Michael Cohen, for all th… https://t.co/bD4585lKZV— TLHoffman (@TLHoffman)1525921975.0
@AC360 What’s next, Trump downplaying his ties to Ivanka— rrat (@rrat)1525960292.0
This is hilarious, a laugh a second. Cohen was extremely close to trump and let's not forget Cohen had tapes and wh… https://t.co/MON8RCwsGW— todd h. (@todd h.)1539786020.0
Some are calling out the president's attempted dismissal of Cohen's guilty plea, which implicated then-candidate Trump as well.
Cohen's guilty plea—made under oath in a court of law—states that Cohen was acting on the orders of then-candidate Donald Trump when making payments to Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal in exchange for their silence about alleged affairs with the president.
@AaronBlake @NicolleDWallace Trump has an outstanding ability to make up his own alternative facts because he, righ… https://t.co/GX3bwhuHFk— Anthony Caruso (@Anthony Caruso)1539775002.0
I’m sure Trump will be happy to say so under oath, as Cohen did, then. https://t.co/gjNmYfiF33— Matthew Miller (@Matthew Miller)1539729683.0
@AP Translated: Trump lied about Cohen "lying".— Jaime Miller (@Jaime Miller)1539729077.0
Not only does Cohen's plea contradict Trump's statement, but many pointed out that there are tapes to corroborate Cohen's claims as well.
Twitter reminded Trump of their existence.
@AP @benshapiro IT IS ON TAPE.— Speculawyer 🇳🇴-American (@Speculawyer 🇳🇴-American)1539730011.0
@WFPBLifer @AP @MarilynLouise5 @MichaelCohen212 Audio tapes available for Christmas! They make great stocking stuff… https://t.co/4ez99fiU7t— Thomas E. Murphy (@Thomas E. Murphy)1539732520.0
Cohen's function for Trump was essentially to keep his darkest secrets from coming to light—a feat that's impossible to perform without a deep level of trust and a close relationship. In addition to making the payments to the two women, Cohen also set into motion a plan to buy every negative story on Trump from the National Enquirer in order to keep them from being published.
Though the president claims the opposite, it's well-documented that Cohen is in the position to reeal a wealth of secrets about Donald Trump in his talks with Special Counsel Robert Mueller. It's possible that the public will soon know a great deal of them. Mueller's report is allegedly coming next month.