In an upcoming book, Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s former attorney, alleges that Trump worked with Russia to win the 2016 presidential election.
Among many other accusations, Cohen alleges that Trump worked to get close to Russian President Vladimir Putin and “his coterie of corrupt billionaire oligarchs,” according to an excerpt released Thursday from the book, entitled “Disloyal, A Memoir.”
Cohen claims that Trump lied when he told the American public he had no dealings in Russia, because Cohen personally oversaw Trump’s efforts to secure a major real estate deal in Moscow during the campaign.
“Trump had colluded with the Russians, but not in the sophisticated ways imagined by his detractors. I also knew that the Mueller investigation was not a witch-hunt,” Cohen wrote, although he did not provide specifics about the alleged collusion in the excerpt. “Trump had cheated in the election, with Russian connivance, as you will discover in these pages, because doing anything — and I mean anything — to ‘win’ has always been his business model and way of life.”
Trump has repeatedly and consistently denied any collusion with Russia in the 2016 election.
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Cohen began serving a three-year prison sentence last year for financial crimes and lying to Congress. He was released in July to serve the rest of his sentence at home following concerns that unsafe prison conditions could put him at risk for coronavirus. The 53-year-old has a history of high blood pressure and respiratory problems.
He has been described in the past as Trump’s “fixer,” but turned on his former boss, calling him a “con man” and “a cheat” during dramatic testimony before Congress last year.
In the excerpt released Thursday, Cohen claimed he knew Trump better than even his wife or children because he was tasked to cover up the president’s infidelities and various misdeeds. Cohen wrote that he is convinced Trump “will never leave office peacefully.”
“The types of scandals that have surfaced in recent months will only continue to emerge with greater and greater levels of treachery and deceit,” the excerpt said. “If Trump wins another four years, these scandals will prove to only be the tip of the iceberg. I’m certain that Trump knows he will face prison time if he leaves office, the inevitable cold Karma to the notorious chants of ‘Lock Her Up!'”
Trump has publicly called Cohen a fraud and liar following his decisions to work with Special Counsel Robert Mueller and testify before Congress, tweeting that he was a “failed lawyer” and “fraudster.” The White House called the book “fan fiction” in a statement following the excerpt’s release.
“He readily admits to lying routinely but expects people to believe him now so that he can make money from book sales,” the statement said. “It’s unfortunate that the media is exploiting this sad and desperate man to attack Tweety McTreason.”
Cohen does not attempt to paint himself as Trump’s victim in the released excerpt, but rather a self-described “bad guy” who helped the now-president rip-off business partners and cover up extramarital affairs. He described the president’s way of conducting himself “like a mob boss.”
“From golden showers in a sex club in Vegas, to tax fraud, to deals with corrupt officials from the former Soviet Union, to catch and kill conspiracies to silence Trump’s clandestine lovers, I wasn’t just a witness to the president’s rise—I was an active and eager participant,” he wrote.
He also described fearing for his life following his decision to testify against Trump and that he felt the president wanted him dead. At one point, Cohen said he even contemplated suicide as death threats “had come by the hundreds.”
“On my cell phone, by email, snail mail, in tweets, on Facebook, enraged Trump supporters vowed to kill me, and I took those threats very seriously,” Cohen wrote. “The President called me a rat and tweeted angry accusations at me, as well as my family. All rats deserve to die, I was told.”
Tom Winter is a New York-based correspondent covering crime, courts, terrorism and financial fraud on the East Coast for the NBC News Investigative Unit.
Kristen Welker, Carol E. Lee and Freddie Tunnard