Cohen is providing Congress with multiple pieces of evidence to corroborate several of his claims. Some of the documents are critical to investigations involving the president, including a check, signed by Trump in August 2017, that’s a partial reimbursement for the illegal hush money payment Cohen made to porn actress Stormy Daniels on Trump’s behalf.
Cohen also brought paperwork that speaks more to Trump’s character and personal insecurities, including letters Cohen sent to academic institutions on Trump’s behalf warning them not to publicly release the president’s grades.
Cohen worked for Trump for more than a decade, acting as his personal lawyer and “fixer.” But in April 2018, he came under investigation by federal prosecutors in Manhattan and apparently broke ties with Trump.
Cohen pleaded guilty to tax evasion, bank fraud, and campaign finance violations involving those hush money payments to two women, including Daniels. Cohen also pleaded guilty to lying to Congress about the timeline of the Trump Tower Moscow project.
So Cohen is not exactly the most credible witness, as he readily admits in his testimony. Which is why he’s bringing some receipts this time around to back up his claims.
Cohen has provided 13 pieces of evidence to the Oversight Committee. Here’s a quick look at them.
Trump’s financial statements (2011-2013) and examples of Trump inflating his wealth for personal gain
Cohen said he’s providing Congress with three years of Trump’s financial statements, from 2011 to 2013. According to Cohen, he gave them to Deutsche Bank “to inquire about a loan to buy the Buffalo Bills” and to Forbes, the magazine that puts out its annual ranking of billionaires.
“It was my experience that Mr. Trump inflated his total assets when it served his purposes, such as trying to be listed among the wealthiest people in Forbes, and deflated his assets to reduce his real estate taxes,” Cohen told the committee.
He also included two news articles to try to make the case that Trump adjusted his wealth when it suited him.
Trump bragging about his portrait at a charity auction that was actually a setup
Cohen alleges in his testimony that Trump directed him to find a straw buyer for a portrait of himself that was going up for auction in the Hamptons. “The objective was to ensure that his portrait, which was going to be auctioned last, would go for the highest price of any portrait that afternoon,” Cohen said.
Cohen says the buyer, identified as Stewart Rahr, won the portrait on a $60,000 bid — and was later reimbursed for that amount by the Trump Foundation. Cohen doesn’t actually offer evidence of the reimbursement, but he does present a Trump tweet (there’s always a tweet) and an item from an article dated July 19, 2013, but he doesn’t include the name of the publication.
If Cohen’s account is true, the payment to Rahr was not mentioned in the Trump Foundation’s IRS filings for 2013. Those filings show only a $60,000 payment from the Trump Foundation, but that was listed as going to the American Cancer Society.
But Cohen’s story tracks with other claims that are already public knowledge — including an allegation from the New York attorney general that Trump used money from his charitable organization, the Trump Foundation, to purchase a $10,000 painting of himself at an auction for a children’s foundation in March 2014.
Stormy Daniels reimbursement checks — from Trump and Don Jr.
Cohen presented three documents relating to the illegal hush money payments he made to Daniels to keep her silent about an alleged affair she had with Trump in 2006.
Cohen first document is what he says is a wire transfer from him to Daniels’s attorney to complete the $130,00 hush money payment.
Cohen also presented Congress with a $35,000 check, signed by Trump on August 1, 2017 — that is, while Trump was president — that was a partial reimbursement for the hush money payment to Daniels.
There was one more surprise reimbursement check for the hush money: a $35,000 check dated March 17, 2017, which Cohen claims is signed by Donald Trump Jr. and Trump Organization finance chief Allen Weisselberg, implicating them in the reimbursement scheme as well.
Trump really, really didn’t want anyone to know the academic background of a “very stable genius”
In his testimony, Cohen alleges that Trump ordered him to threaten Trump’s past schools not to release his grades or SAT scores.
To back this up, Cohen provided a letter that he sent to Fordham University — where Trump went to school for two years before transferring to the Wharton School — threatening legal action if the university released Trump’s grades. (Fordham University has confirmed someone from Trump’s camp did reach out and send a letter.)
And if Cohen’s break with the president weren’t already obvious, Cohen included a 2011 news article where Trump questions former President Barack Obama’s academic credentials.
Trump’s threatening tweets
These last pieces of evidence have to do with threats Cohen says Trump made to him and his family on Twitter last year.
“I hope this committee and all members of Congress on both sides of the aisle will make it clear,” Cohen told the committee. “As a nation, we should not tolerate attempts to intimidate witnesses before Congress and attacks on family are out of bounds and not acceptable.”