Trump calls Michael Cohen’s congressional testimony ‘shameful’ and ‘fake’

President Trump’s second meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un this week came as Michael Cohen, a man who was once one of Trump’s closest allies, delivered dramatic testimony before Congress calling the president a “con man,” “racist,” and “a cheat.”

At a press conference in the Vietnamese capital of Hanoi on Thursday morning shortly after the talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un came to an abrupt end, Trump was asked to respond to Cohen’s appearance. The president described his former attorney and fixer’s descriptions of him as “incorrect” and said the “fake hearing” was “shameful.”

“I tried to watch as much as I could. I wasn’t able to watch too much because I’ve been a little bit busy. But I think having a fake hearing like that and having it in the middle of this very important summit is really a terrible thing,” Trump said.

Cohen was called to testify by the Democrats leading the House Oversight Committee after he pleaded guilty last December  to what a federal judge described as “a veritable smorgasbord of fraudulent conduct” including lying to Congress about a Moscow real estate project he worked on with Trump and arranging payments to silence women who alleged they had affairs with the president. Following his guilty plea, Cohen was sentenced to three years in prison.

In over six hours of testimony on Wednesday, Cohen attacked Trump’s character and also implicated the president in several potentially criminal acts. Among other things, Cohen said that, during the 2016 election, Trump was aware of Wikileaks plans to release emails hacked from the Democratic National Committee and the campaign of his opponent Hillary Clinton. Cohen also accused Trump of cheating on his taxes.

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U.S. President Donald Trump boards Air Force One after his summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, at Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi, Vietnam, February 28, 2019. REUTERS/Leah Millis
U.S. President Donald Trump boards Air Force One after his summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, at Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi, Vietnam, February 28, 2019. REUTERS/Leah Millis
U.S. President Donald Trump prepares to board Air Force One after his summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, at Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi, Vietnam, February 28, 2019. REUTERS/Leah Millis
U.S. President Donald Trump reacts during a news conference after his summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, at the JW Marriott Hotel in Hanoi, Vietnam February 28, 2019. REUTERS/Jorge Silva TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo leaves a news conference at the JW Marriott Hanoi in Hanoi, following talks between U.S. President Donald Trump and the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Hanoi, Vietnam, February 28, 2019. Andrew Harnik/Pool via REUTERS
U.S. President Donald Trump accompanied by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks at a news conference at the JW Marriott Hanoi, following talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Hanoi, Vietnam, February 28, 2019. Andrew Harnik/Pool via REUTERS
A view of the table in the room which was supposed to host a working lunch between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, that was cancelled, during the second U.S.-North Korea summit at the Metropole Hotel in Hanoi, Vietnam, February 28, 2019. REUTERS/Leah Millis
North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un listens as U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during the extended bilateral meeting in the Metropole hotel during the second North Korea-U.S. summit in Hanoi, Vietnam February 28, 2019. REUTERS/Leah Millis
White House national security adviser John Bolton reacts beside U.S. President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at the extended bilateral meeting in the Metropole hotel with North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un (not pictured) during the second North Korea-U.S. summit in Hanoi, Vietnam February 28, 2019. REUTERS/Leah Millis
U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un walk in the garden at the Metropole hotel during the second North Korea-U.S. summit in Hanoi, Vietnam February 28, 2019. REUTERS/Leah Millis
North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump talk in the garden of the Metropole hotel during the second North Korea-U.S. summit in Hanoi, Vietnam February 28, 2019. REUTERS/Leah Millis
A customer watches a set of TV's broadcasting a news report on a Hanoi summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump, in Seoul, South Korea, February 28, 2019. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji
U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un shake hands before their one-on-one chat during the second U.S.-North Korea summit at the Metropole Hotel in Hanoi, Vietnam February 27, 2019. REUTERS/Leah Millis
People read the Rodong Sinmun newspaper showing coverage of North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un visiting Vietnam for a summit in Hanoi with US President Donald Trump, on Kim Il Sung square Pyongyang on February 28, 2019. - The US-North Korea nuclear summit in Hanoi ended abruptly without a deal, with President Donald Trump saying he had decided to 'walk' in the face of Kim Jong Un's demands to drop sanctions. (Photo by Kim Won Jin / AFP) (Photo credit should read KIM WON JIN/AFP/Getty Images)
North Korean students read the Rodong Sinmun newspaper coverage of North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un visiting Vietnam for a summit in Hanoi with US President Donald Trump, on Kim Il Sung square Pyongyang on February 28, 2019. - The US-North Korea nuclear summit in Hanoi ended abruptly without a deal, with President Donald Trump saying he had decided to 'walk' in the face of Kim Jong Un's demands to drop sanctions. (Photo by Kim Won Jin / AFP) (Photo credit should read KIM WON JIN/AFP/Getty Images)
The motorcade of North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un arrives at the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi hotel in Hanoi, Vietnam, on Thursday, Feb. 28, 2019. U.S. President Donald Trump and Kim sounded an optimistic note at the start of their second set of face-to-face meetings, as the U.S. leader sought to advance nuclear talks that have largely stalled since their first summit in June. Photographer: Justin Chin/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Police outriders lead U.S. President Donald Trump's motorcade to the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi hotel in Hanoi, Vietnam, on Thursday, Feb. 28, 2019. Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un sounded an optimistic note at the start of their second set of face-to-face meetings, as the U.S. leader sought to advance nuclear talks that have largely stalled since their first summit in June. Photographer: SeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg via Getty Images
U.S. President Donald Trump's motorcade arrives at the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi hotel in Hanoi, Vietnam, on Thursday, Feb. 28, 2019. Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un sounded an optimistic note at the start of their second set of face-to-face meetings, as the U.S. leader sought to advance nuclear talks that have largely stalled since their first summit in June. Photographer: SeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg via Getty Images
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Trump and other Republicans have pointed to Cohen’s crimes, particularly his past lies to Congress, in order to question his credibility. During the hearing on Wednesday, Republican members of the Oversight Committee also suggested Cohen, who had a reputation as one of Trump’s most fiercely loyal aides, only changed his tune in the hopes of receiving a reduced prison sentence.

For his part, Trump objected to the timing of the hearing and claimed Cohen made many false statements.

“They could have made it two days later or next week and it would have been even better,” Trump said. “They would have had more time, but having it during this very important summit is sort of incredible and he lied a lot.”

Trump did manage to find one bright spot. He claimed Cohen “didn’t lie” when it came to the “most important question” — whether Trump and his campaign colluded with Russian efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential race.

“It was very interesting because he didn’t lie about one thing. He said no collusion with the Russian hoax. And I said, ‘I wonder why he didn’t just lie about that too like he did about everything else. I mean he lied about so many different things,” said Trump, adding, “I was actually impressed that he didn’t say, ‘Well I think there was collusion.’”

Cohen didn’t say there had not been collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. Rather, Cohen said he had no “direct evidence” that collusion had occurred while noting he had “suspicions.”

Still, Trump was apparently pleased with Cohen’s answer to that question.

“He could have gone all out,” Trump said of Cohen. “He only went about 95 percent instead of 100 percent.”

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