John Gauger, the director of polling firm RedFinch Solutions LLC, toldThe Wall Street Journal that President Donald Trump's former attorney Michael Cohen hired his firm to rig two online polls in the president's favor. Cohen paid less than half of what was owed in cash which he handed off to Gauger in a Wal-Mart shopping bag that also contained a boxing glove Cohen said was from a Brazilian mixed-martial arts fighter.
Gauger's lawyer, Charles James, told the Journal that Cohen "promised but never was able to develop the business he predicted." And Cohen is accepting responsibility for the part he played in the ruse, responding to the news in a tweet. Cohen said what he did "was at the direction of and for the sole benefit of" Donald Trump.
"I truly regret my blind loyalty to a man who doesn’t deserve it," he added.
As for the @WSJ article on poll rigging, what I did was at the direction of and for the sole benefit of… https://t.co/5gP6a2X1IQ— Michael Cohen (@Michael Cohen) 1547733924.0
Cohen, who was sentenced to three years in prison last month for campaign finance violations, tax fraud, and bank fraud, and later pleaded guilty for lying to a Senate committee about efforts to build a Trump Tower in Moscow, was greeted with rather supportive responses. Cohen once infamously claimed that he would "take a bullet" for the president, but his cooperation with Special Counsel Robert Mueller's probe has many believing he's turned over a new leaf.
@MichaelCohen212 @WSJ @realDonaldTrump @POTUS There was a time when lots more people hated you but this is no longe… https://t.co/Q1XgXn1jWC— Ayofemi (@Ayofemi) 1547734492.0
@MichaelCohen212 @WSJ @realDonaldTrump @POTUS I believe you regret having the back of someone who didn't have yours… https://t.co/xywGUeGIVI— HudsonValleyHandymom (@HudsonValleyHandymom) 1547734145.0
@MichaelCohen212 @WSJ @realDonaldTrump @POTUS Thank you for speaking truth, please don't stop. I know you're afraid… https://t.co/mVY2O0ugWV— 🌊🌊Dana🌊🌊 (@🌊🌊Dana🌊🌊) 1547735208.0
Cohen has agreed to testify before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on February 7, a decision which has left him open to the attacks from both the president and his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani.
Last week, three top Democrats warned the president that any attempts to obstruct and influence witness testimony could be construed as a crime after he accused Cohen of lying about him to win leniency from federal prosecutors and alleged potential legal problems involving Cohen’s father-in-law.
Trump had made the comments during a Fox News interview with network host Jeanine Pirro, claiming that Cohen, who has agreed to testify before Congress next month, had “no information” on him.
“He’s in trouble on some loans and fraud and taxicabs and stuff that I know nothing about,” Trump said at the time. “And in order to get his sentence reduced, he says, I have an idea, I’ll tell — I’ll give you some information on the president.”
Trump then implied authorities should investigate Cohen’s father-in-law, whose name he said he did not know, “because that’s the one that people want to look at. That’s the money in the family.”
“I don’t know, but you’ll find out, and you’ll look into it because nobody knows what’s going on over there,” he said when Pirro asked him to elaborate.
The president’s statements prompted Representatives joint statement in response:, Adam Schiff (CA), and Jerrold Nadler (NY), who respectively chair the Intelligence, Judiciary and Oversight committees, to release the following a
“The integrity of our process to serve as an independent check on the Executive Branch must be respected by everyone, including the President. Our nation’s laws prohibit efforts to discourage, intimidate, or otherwise pressure a witness not to provide testimony to Congress. The President should make no statement or take any action to obstruct Congress’ independent oversight and investigative efforts, including by seeking to discourage any witness from testifying in response to a duly authorized request from Congress.”
Others who weighed in, including Representative Ted Lieu (D-CA) agreed that Trump is trying to intimidate Cohen and suggested he is guilty of a felony under 18 U.S.C. 1512, which outlines consequences for those who tamper with witnesses, victims, and informants.
Trump is intimidating witness Cohen. Anyone who "uses intimidation ... or attempts to do so, with intent to influe… https://t.co/s818PMWw9y— Ted Lieu (@Ted Lieu) 1547422481.0
Giuliani, for his part, had a flippant reaction when questioned about Cohen's decision to testify before Congress next month.
“Big deal!” he said. “I have no concerns about Cohen at all because I can prove with very little effort that he is a total, complete and absolute liar.”