Michael Cohen’s testimony Wednesday in front of lawmakers was compelling, but it likely did not reveal any crimes that President Donald Trump may have committed, attorney Alan Dershowitz told Newsmax TV.
In an interview on “Newsmax Now,” Dershowitz reacted to Cohen’s performance in front of the House Oversight Committee by questioning whether the man who spent 12 years working for Trump was even telling the truth as he painted a poor picture of the president.
“We saw a man who was really determined to put the worst possible light on his former boss, and he certainly succeeded in doing that,” Dershowitz said. “He certainly painted him in the most negative possible way. But I listened carefully for new evidence of any criminal conduct and I found it difficult to find any.
“Certainly not a good day for the president, but I don’t think [special counsel Robert] Mueller benefitted from it very much either.”
Dershowitz added later, “He’s a bad witness. The question is, how bad. Bad witnesses sometimes tell the truth, sometimes they’re incapable of telling the truth. If, in fact, he was trying to become chief of staff, then he’s probably committed perjury in front of this committee.”
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Dershowitz further wondered whether Cohen revealed conversations he had with the president that are protected under attorney-client privilege. Cohen spoke about discussions he had with Trump regarding business dealings, including his desire to build a real estate project in Moscow.
“I think he revealed too easily what might well have been lawyer-client privileged conversations,” Dershowitz said.
In a dramatic televised hearing in Congress on Wednesday, Cohen said Trump approved hush payments to cover up extra-marital sexual relationships in violation of campaign finance laws, and signed a personal check for $35,000 in 2017 to reimburse Cohen for at least one of those payments.
Cohen, 52, was a close aide of Trump for years and his testimony could increase the legal and political pressure on the Republican president, but he did not appear to disclose a “smoking gun” that could sink his former boss.
Cohen told a House of Representatives committee he had no direct evidence that Trump or his campaign colluded with Moscow during the election campaign.
Possible collusion is a key theme of special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, which has dogged the president during his two years in office. Trump has repeatedly denied the allegation as has the Kremlin.
Material from Reuters was used in this story.
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