Digital illustration of a dramatic courtroom scene where Michael Cohen testifies before a judge, pointing decisively, as a stern-looking Donald Trump observes in the background, surrounded by lawyers

Cohen Claims Trump Approved Hush-Money Payment on His First Day of Testimony – The New York Times

Cohen Claims Trump Approved Hush-Money Payment on His First Day of Testimony

Michael Cohen, the former personal attorney for President Donald J. Trump, testified before a closed congressional hearing, making significant accusations regarding his one-time employer and client. Among the most piquant details emerging from these proceedings was Cohen’s claim that President Trump explicitly approved a payment intended to silence allegations of an affair during the 2016 presidential campaign.

Details of the Testimony

Cohen’s testimony, aimed at shedding light on his previous confessions of paying hush money at Trump’s behest, underscores the complex legal and ethical entanglements that have surrounded the former president even after his tenure in the White House. During the hearing, held on Capitol Hill, Cohen provided what he claimed were explicit instructions from Trump to orchestrate the payment that would prevent the surfacing of potentially damaging revelations during a critically sensitive time in the Presidential race.

Cohen’s Evidence and Claims

Michael Cohen presented documents and checks as evidence of the alleged transaction, which he claims was intended to keep Stephanie Clifford, also known by her stage name Stormy Daniels, from going public with her story. Cohen alleged that then-candidate Trump was fully aware of the payment, had directed its execution, and later reimbursed Cohen through installments disguised as legal retainer fees.

Implications of the Testimony

The implications of these claims are manifold and could potentially lead to further legal challenges for Trump. If proven, these allegations could suggest violations of campaign finance laws, alongside potential implications about the truthfulness of Trump’s past statements. Cohen’s testimony, thus, not only brings to question the legality of these actions but also the ethical considerations of such a high office.

Response from Trump’s Legal Team

Reacting to Cohen’s statements, Trump’s legal representatives dismissed the claims as fabrications by a discredited source seeking to reduce his own criminal liabilities. They argued that Cohen’s credibility was deeply damaged by his previous conviction for lying to Congress, among other charges. The defense team also suggested that Cohen’s current claims were part of a ploy to garner public sympathy and possibly reduce his ongoing legal entanglements.

Public and Political Reaction

The testimony has stirred significant interest both in the media and amongst the public. Politicians from various factions have also voiced their opinions, with some arguing that the allegations, if true, necessitate further investigation and possible legal repercussions, while others believe that Cohen’s tarnished reputation might undermine the validity of his claims.


The accuracy and consequences of Cohen’s explosive revelations remain to be fully unraveled. As legal processes continue and additional details emerge, the scope and impact of Cohen’s claims against former President Trump will potentially craft a new narrative in an already tumultuous political legacy. For now, all eyes remain on the continuing investigations and what they will reveal about the shadowy mechanics of power, money, and politics in the Trump era.


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