Lying About Lying? Michael Cohen Appears to Confess to Prior False Statements Under Oath

C-Span/YouTube Screenshot

Below is my column on on the new allegations of perjury by Michael Cohen after his testimony in the New York fraud trial of his former client Donald Trump. The alleged perjury occurred in testimony before Congress, but it is part of patterns going back decades. For his critics, Cohen has made lying a virtual art form — supported by an ever-changing array of powerful benefactors.

Here is the column:

If lying were an art form, former Trump fixer Michael Cohen would be its Rembrandt.

Throughout his career, the disbarred lawyer has found powerful clients who valued his reputation for supporting any side that offered the biggest payback.

Now he is accused of yet another lie under oath and the question is whether his current benefactors will again protect him from a criminal charge.

For years, Cohen was the heavy for Donald Trump who threatened everyone from journalists to students with ruin for threatening the former president.

Faced with disbarment and criminal charges, he then became an equally vicious critic of Trump; a human cudgel for Democrats. The most remarkable thing about his checkered career is the one constant: a long, uninterrupted line of lies upon lies. Indeed, he is now accused of lying about prior lies.

I have been a critic of Cohen for years, going back to work as a legal thug for Trump. That criticism continued after Cohen sought to raise money from Democrats as a Trump killer as opposed to a Trump enabler. Those of us familiar with his history warned about the notion that he was now a “liberated former liar.”

As expected, the sides changed but the lies continued.

He would appear as the new star Democratic witness before House Oversight Committee chairman, Elijah Cummings, and was promptly accused of lying under oath again. Cummings refused to take any action against Cohen. He had again found a powerful ally who valued his moral flexibility.

Even after being stripped of his bar license and sentenced to three years in prison, Cohen continued the pattern. In 2019, Cohen failed to appear to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee, citing the inability to travel due to a medical surgery. However, he was seen partying before the hearing date with five friends with no apparent problems.

Even in jail, Cohen was accused of lying to a court in violation of an order for early release due to medical problems. He was ordered back into custody after being spotted at a high-end restaurant.

Nevertheless, Cohen has few illusions about his sudden alliance with media outlets and Democratic figures. He does not have to be truthful; he has to be useful.

That celebrated role continued this year when Cohen was called to testify in the New York fraud case brought by Attorney General Letitia James. It mattered little to James that Cohen is a serial liar. Yet, even her office may have been surprised with the ease with which Cohen now admits to false statements.

During his recent testimony, Cohen was confronted by statements about Trump inflating the value of his properties that directly contradicted his sworn testimony before Congress. Most witnesses would be petrified by the prospect of admitting lying under oath. Most would refuse to testify under the Fifth Amendment. Not Cohen. He simply seemed to shrug it off and admitted that he previously lied under oath in 2019 before Congress.

In testifying before the House Intelligence Committee on February 28, 2019, Cohen was asked about the same alleged violation and responded: “I’m sorry. Did he ask me to inflate the numbers? Not that I recall, no.”

When read that answer in New York by defense counsel, Cohen admitted that he was not being “honest” with Congress.  Trump attorney Alina Habba then asked him: “So you lied under oath in February of 2019? Is that your testimony?” Cohen replied “yes.”

For Cohen, the admission of a lie is hardly a significant moment. He pleaded guilty to felonies including false statements to banks in 2018. After professing his profound guilt and remorse, he was sentenced to three years. He then later said that he really did not mean it in denying aspects of the plea.

After that plea and then denying the sworn plea, Cohen was called to give testimony before the House Intelligence Committee. He now says that he proceeded to lie again.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Turner and House Republican Conference Chair Elise Stefanik have sent a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland for an investigation into the admitted false testimony.

This would seem an embarrassingly easy case for a prosecutor. A serial liar just admitted under oath that he lied previously under oath.  There is a five-year statute of limitations on lying to Congress.

Moreover, this is the attorney general who aggressively pursued Trump officials and associates for contempt and other violations linked to congressional investigations. It is also the same department that prosecuted figures like Gen. Michael Flynn for false statements made to FBI agents.

For Cohen, the key to his career has been to lie to the right people at the right time. It is now up to Garland whether he will join a long line of powerful allies covering for Cohen.

Cohen may be able to again evade real punishment. When he was still thumping people for Trump, Cohen told the reporter that he should “tread very f—ing lightly because what I’m going to do to you is going to be f—ing disgusting. Do you understand me?”

When it comes to the legal system, Cohen is ironically true to his word. What he has done to the legal system for decades is truly disgusting. The New York bar took no action for years until Cohen confessed to crimes to secure a plea deal.

Past incidents of alleged perjury before Congress were ignored because prosecution would have been inconvenient. Now he has nonchalantly acknowledged lying under oath in 2019 after pleading guilty to criminal falsehoods.

The problem is not Cohen. He continues to act to his nature. The problem is a political and legal system that enables him as a serial liar. It is a system that continues to call Cohen to the stand and ask him to swear to God to offer the “truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth” without a signature joke drum roll before his punchline.

The fact that Cohen can say “I do” without breaking up in laughter reflects a true artist at work.

140 thoughts on “Lying About Lying? Michael Cohen Appears to Confess to Prior False Statements Under Oath”

  1. Let’s think about Democrat smarts. They bring in a guy to testify that he is a liar. That’s a big Duh if I ever heard one. I’m looking forward to his testimony when the Trump case is on appeal. My cup of leftist tears will be overflowing.

    1. Let’s think about the smarts of those that support trump. Everyone around him is a criminal. His family business has been declared a criminal enterprise. trump whines that he needs your money and his stupid supporters send him money. He has 90+ criminal charges leveled against him. Those closest to him while he was president say he should never be allowed near the White House again. He has been found liable for defaming a woman he raped. trump says wounded veterans are losers. He has also said that anyone that joins any of the services are losers. He mocks people with mental and physical disabilities. He buried an ex wife in his golf course.

      So who has the smarts here?

      1. And – he has already served four years as President and was more successful than the current occupant of the White House. If we actually care about the future of country, he needs to be re-elected.

        1. If you support a fascist, you are a fascist. Look in the mirror. treating your opponents as vermin is not how a democracy works. With trumps latest verbal assaults, he has left no doubt he is a fascist. Now you may disagree that he is a fascist but his words indicate otherwise. And as I said, if you support a fascist, you are a fascist. And don’t go on about who I support. I have said nothing about who I support, only that I think trump is a fascist and he should be kept far away from governing our republic based on democratic principles.

          1. Looking around who the real fascists are, the ones supporting terrorists groups, chanting anti-semite and death to Jews, the ones calling for censorship, the ones who want to mutilate and chemically castrate children, yeah, they just might be fascist vermin.
            If you identify with any of that, you just might be vermin too.

          2. Actions, not words, matter. The real facsists are the people who corrupt the legal system to disqualify Trump from office. If you want an historical example, you can look at Hitler after the Reichstag fire, which he used to disqualify Communists and others from the ballot in the upcoming general election for deputies to the Reichstag. With a super majority, he established the Third Reich. If Democrats are able to disqualify Trump from the Presidency and enough Republicans from Congress (“supporters of insurrectionists”), they will also establish a super majority and put final form to their emergent police state.

          3. Calling someone vermin is anti-democratic, huh? Fascinating. Is it in your imaginary rulebook on “democracy” that it is also anti-democratic to falsely refer to someone for eight years as a fascist, Nazi, white supremacist, racist, bigot, etc. as your grotesque party began doing to Trump before he was even elected? What does your imaginary rulebook say about referring to half the country as irredeemable deplorables?

            You’ve been told to get your panties in a wad because Trump called Marxists, Socialists, and Communists in government “vermin” who he’d root out of government when re-elected. As an unthinking obedient pet, you comply with the command.

          4. If you support a fascist, you are a fascist

            Four years as President and Not a single fascist act. Are you coming back and joins us in reality?

          5. What democratic principles ?
            “..he should be kept far away from governing our republic based on democratic principles.”
            Those are not democratic principles, those are dreams of non democratic control.

    1. No one is more disassociated from truth and even reality than Joe Biden. As for “thugs”, Joe has the FBI.

      1. Biden hasn’t used the FBI as thugs. Trump did use Cohen as a thug. That’s why Trump kept Cohen working for him.

        1. Whom did Cohen arrest as a domestic terrorist (FBI)? Whom did Cohen beat up (AntiFa)? Whom did Cohen attempt to assassinate (Nicholas Roske)? You are just equating words with actions again, the most typical tactic of the American Left.

          1. Yeah, it’s really bad when the FBI arrests domestic terrorists to keep them from killing people, or after they’ve killed people (like the Tsarnaevs). The FBI hasn’t beaten people up, hasn’t attempted to assassinate anyone, so if that’s your yardstick for thugs, you’re only proving yourself wrong.

            Do you even listen to yourself?

  2. Of course Michael Cohen is a liar. That is why Trump hired him. That is why Trump hires most of his lawyers, and most of his spokespeople and all the other people working for him. They are liars for Trump.

    Look at all the people who turned on Trump and now Trump is calling them liars. Of course they are all liars. That is why Trump hired all of them.

    They were liars for Trump. It does not mean they are lying about Trump at this point though.

    It is like a mob boss trying to say the thug who worked for him for years and now turned on him was a thug and should not be trusted. Of course he was a thug, that is why the mob boss hired him.

    1. “They were liars for Trump. It does not mean they are lying about Trump at this point though.” You can’t have it both ways. If they are “liars,” they cannot be believed.

  3. All of the word salads surrounding both the Trump and biden affairs are just that. Swirling, conflicting, and deflecting from the real topic. Trying to keep to the essence of this situation requires a return to the basic tenets of our founding fathers. If we have created a Frankenstein monster out of our federal and state governments, inch by inch, so be it. Recognizing that fact and then dedicating ourselves to returning this government to the purity of its original design is the only topic that should be up for discussion. Prattering on about minute details, at this point, is similar to rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic – we are sinking and discussing just how corrupt we are will not eliminate that corruption. For that we need take direct action, and soon.

  4. As a non-lawyer, I find it hard to believe that a judge would allow a convicted perjurer to take the stand as a witness. It seems totally illogical to seek truth from a convicted liar.

    1. That’s why Cohen’s testimony needs corroborating testimony.

      In the NY Civil trial there is tons of it. It’s why the children were shredded as witnesses. There was much paper documentation proving they weren’t being truthful ( and that documentation backed up Cohen’s testimony as well).

      1. The two sons said that they relied upon accountants to evaluate asset values. Do you know of contrary evidence?

        1. All the emails brought to counter their testimony about just relying on accountants. Aa well as the fact accountants are only as good as the information brought them to work with.

    2. Check out Rule 609 of the evidentiary rules. The other side can always used prior convictions to impeach the witness. But the jury is tasked with evaluating the value of the evidence.

      This is the way it should be handled. Shutting the door entirely would lead to grave consequences.

  5. Dear Prof Turley,

    “lying about lying” is, afaict, a semantically null and void statement? One of those lies has to be true?

    As a general rule, I don’t believe Trump asked Cohen to ‘inflate’ Trump’s assets in pre 2019. Cohen was on retainer to do that very thing. No need to ask. That’s what he did – fix Trump’s assets – under color of law. .. in addition to his part-time bouncer duties @ Trump U.

    So, technically, Cohen is ‘lying about telling the truth’. I’m not so surprised he is lying, I am shocked anybody would believe him.

    *he’s an errand boy sent by D.C. grocery clerks to collect a bill

  6. I.M.O.: Michael Cohen is either a Patsy, Fall Guy, or Scapegoat 𝐟𝐨𝐫: Attorney General Merrick Garland, Stephen Ryan, Todd Harrison (McDermott Will & Emery LLP) to give Special Counsel Jack Smith (the prodigy of Robert Morgenthau) a loop-hole out of Smith’s investigation findings. The Prosecution of Trump will be quietly dismissed as “Reliance” on “Demeanour Evidence”(lies) based on Cohen and Others will be to blame.

    This would most likely be the case particularly if this ‘thing’ carries on beyond the January 20, 2025 and Trump becomes President.
    Michael Cohen tends to get his Tits stuck in the Ringer all the time.

  7. I am shocked, shocked trump would be in association with someone that would lie so easily. I mean trump is the man that the christians built a golden idol to at CPAC. Trump is the second coming of christ so how could he be associated with a lier? The fascist trump can do no harm. How is this possible?

      1. Read through the 90+ criminal charges against him. Plus the fraud his company has been found guilty of. And then there is the rape he committed in a department store. Just naming a few of the wonderful things this god baby man has done. Oh, maybe the rape doesn’t count because women love it when you grab em by the pu—.

  8. Cohen, Cummings, James, and Garland…what a collection of con-artists. The Detroitization of the nation continues.

  9. Of course lying is second nature to Cohen…, he was trump’s lawyer for years. He wouldn’t have lasted a month working for trump without lying….

    Thing is, he’s been the best trump whisperer in terms of predicting what trump will do next. He’s been spot on in this respect. Trump will have time to ruminate in depth from prison on what Cohen has educated the world on about trump.

    1. Trump Derangement Syndrome:

      “Of course lying is second nature to Cohen…Cohen has educated the world on about trump.”

      LOL. Tool.

      1. There is no such thing as trump derangement syndrome. He was impeached twice and charged with 91 felonies. It just gets worse with trump…

        Now he’s copying nazi language and making plans to further iguana f$%k the Constitution in the dirt with his tongue hanging out.

        What you consider derangement is really just an accurate assessment of the truth.

        1. “He was impeached twice and charged with 91 felonies.” This tells us more about the modern Democrat Party than it does about Trump.
          The first impeachment was for seeking information about Biden’s corrupt behavior in extorting Ukraine into firiing a prosecutor who was getting too close to Burisma (which oddly enough had paid millions of dollars to the BCF). It would have been a dereliction of duty to NOT inquire about the circumstances of this event. The second impeachment was devoid of legal process and asserted that Trump was trying to “overthrow the government”, an obviously absurd charge.
          As to the 91 felonies, the only case that has any merit is the classified documents case, and that will fail either in the trial court or appeal. We have just read that Biden will NOT be charged for more serious violations of classification laws.

          1. Lol. Trump was impeached for shaking down Ukraine for dirt on Biden (because he knew he’d lose to him) and he was impeached for inciting 1/6.

            The thing about making silly statements like you have is that you’ll then have to watch as they’re all proved wrong one by one. Even with your cognitive dissonance you still have to peddle really hard to stay in denial.

            1. LOL. We have the transcripts of the call. You are a liar to claim someone was shaken down for dirt. Trump politely asked Ukraine to see if there was anything to the rumors of Biden family corruption in Ukraine. You imagine a motive – to help Trump against Biden in an election – that was fed to you by the morons who tell you what to think.

              The fact is Biden had only announced his candidacy a few weeks prior to the call. There was no reason for Trump or anybody else to believe that Democrats would finance his campaign, let alone that Biden would somehow be the Democrat nominee. That’s because Biden had established a record as a losing presidential candidate. He withdrew from the primaries in 1988 after his track record of plagarism and lying became well known. And then again in 2008 when it became clear Democrat voters were going to reject him for Obama. Biden was 0 for 2.

              Meanwhile, Biden is an old, white, Catholic male. Leading up to the 2020 Democrat primaries, your party had developed a deep hatred for people with those traits. The only rational reason to think Democrat primary voters would nominate someone with the traits they despise is if they are frauds.

                1. LOL. Repeat your lies as often as you wish. It just proves you are a liar. Nothing more.

                  Now you introduce a new lie of extortion. There was no extortion in the garbage articles of impeachment Democrats manufactured against Trump from which he was acquitted.

                  Keep typing. I’m sure whatever you puke up next will be lies, too.

                  1. Impeached.

                    And then acquitted because R’s said it was close enough to an election to settle trump’s fate at the ballot box. Which happened…, and then trump got impeached again.

      1. Aha…, another Google adverse woeful traveler you are…

        Or more clinically, a low information voter.

        Cohen not only predicted years ahead of time Trump would disregard election results when he lost in ’20 but he predicted it while testifying before Congress.

        Since then he’s been the single best predictor of how trump’s mind works in relation to any triggering event.

        1. That’s 1 out of 5. And Trump ultimately did not “disregard” the final, legally-binding election of Biden by the state electors.

          1. Watch any Cohen interview. He’ll make five accurate predictions in every one…

            And trump disregarded election results. To not acknowledge this points to a serious break with reality within your psyche.

  10. It is ok…. Republicans are nice guys and NEVER punish people. They love giving money to criminal Democrats. They are fine when Democrats commit crimes and JAIL various republicans.

    Democrats meanwhile are fighting a CIVIL WAR against the USA

  11. OT. It is being reported that a billionaire couple has been funding one of the largest groups rioting for a “ceasefire” by Israel. It also seems as if this billionaire lives in Shanghai and has other ties to China.

    This is what China does, they get the useful idiots to march for the climate as they build coal plants every week, they cause riots in our streets to make sure Iran’s proxy doesn’t get eliminated, they help groups like ANTIFA and BLM sow discord among the electorate and they use Tic Toc to corrupt our youth.

    The Soviets in the 60s-80s used the same fools to try to get the US to unilaterally unarm ourselves through getting the little girls worried about OUR weapons. Never THEIR weapons. Thankfully we had Reagan to fight this evil. Sadly we now have Biden, a demented old fool who is probably being blackmailed by the CCP at this very moment. Biden just signed a new deal with XI that curtails our energy development with a promise that China will do the same. NB, China never does the same.

    If you doubt my thesis then please tell me ONE TIME when Great Thunberg has mentioned China when screeching about the climate. Name me one time any leftist has accused China of harming the climate. Name me one time when a leftist had an issue with China and human rights. Why do you think this is? Follow the money and just as importantly follow the ideology. Oh, and follow the self-hatred of America by our own leftists.

          1. This comment is another foolish and meaningless response by one of our anonymous posters who steps on his own toes. It appears to be made by climate activists. They provided a short minimalist statement by Thunberg and then, in the text, added (not Thunberg) everything China was doing wrong. It sounds like Thunberg didn’t want to make negative statements about China, so the activists recorded her saying China needs to be involved and then added a list of China’s horrendous behavior.

            It would have been much better if the activists could have recorded her saying those things, but maybe Hullbobby is correct since the link demonstrates the opposite of what Anonymus tried to say.

            People serious about these things would rebut Hullbobby with a video of Thunberg saying what the text said. You added proof she is not serious about China.

            1. ^^
              Allan doing what Allan does when facing contradictory evidence to his sheltered opinions.

              And flagrant idiocy is his cross to bear also.

              1. Look Stupid, you searched the Internet to show Thunberg criticizes China as much as the US. We would all like to hear it, but what did you provide? A video that has other people talking about China’s bad. If you could think more than skin deep, you would have found a video where Thunberg said those things, but you didn’t. You prove yourself INADEQUATE to the task. That is your problem, not mine.

                1. It’s not my job to do your research for you, f$%k twizzler. We are not in court. As is made clear on a regular basis on this blog by your one trick pony denials, you ALWAYS deflect when presented with evidence. It’s your only recourse for being faced with contradictory evidence.

                  1. My gosh, you are dumber than you displayed at the start of this mini-thread.

                    I did the research by listening to your link. That link demonstrated that you link without understanding what it says. You proved the opposite of what you wanted to prove, and you don’t even see it.

                    OK, you may continue acting like a moron.

                2. By the way, if you Google searched what Thunberg said re China you’d see many entries. Articles, videos, etc. Which answers hullbobby’s query about if she’d ever addressed China’s role in climate change. I can’thelp the fact you won’t search the internet for easy answers to his obviously flawed claims.

                  1. And no the link in no way disproves the reason I linked it. If you think it does, those are cognitive issues on your end.

                  2. “By the way, if you Google searched what Thunberg said re China you’d see many entries. Articles, videos, etc. “

                    That makes you doubly stupid. Why didn’t you choose one of the other videos instead of the one where Thunberg said almost nothing and those who created the video added text?

                    Each follow-up reply causes you to look dumber than the reply before. Keep your replies coming. It’s fascinating to see a dumb person prove himself dumber and dumber.

                    1. Because hullbobby asked for ONE example, moron. I took the first in a long line of options….

                      See the problem is, Allan, you don’t understand context. Full stop. Add that the RW idea that those of us have to provide proof, or arguments, that fit the impossibly small windows in your ability to decipher reality…

                      Your pattern is this, as I’ve pointed out many times before: you ask for proof from someone and then when it’s provided you’re only left with the trite deflection on your end that the person doesn’t understand what they posted.

                      Really it’s your lack of context and what appears to somewhat of a sizable learning disability, combined with your normal tactic of arguing in bad faith, all then built into your silo of alt right media consumption…

                      And, to top it off, you’re a b hole. Bad mix all the way around.

                    2. “Because hullbobby asked for ONE example, moron.”

                      I see. Hullbobby asked you to show one example. One has to be pretty stupid to pick out the worst example of the many you said existed. It mostly proved the opposite of what you said because she only provided lip service in her short phrase. The complaints about China are typed in by others, not Thunberg.

                      Thanks for entertaining me. I don’t need to pay for the comedy club. All I have to do is listen to your ignorance. LOL

                    3. Lol. I literally linked the top example in a Google search. The fact you’re nitpicking the source shows that you know hullbobby’s claim about Thunberg never critiquing China around the issue of climate change to be false. You’re an idiot.

                    4. No nitpicking ATS. I demonstrated how the specific link demonstrated a lack of sincerity by Thunberg, where China is concerned. If she was harsh on China and you have such a video, post it,

            2. S Meyer, thanks a lot for backing me up and pointing out the lies of a typical Anonymous poster. It is guys like you, Upstate, Estovir and Karen S (and many others) that make this site great.

  12. “The New York bar took no action for years until Cohen confessed to crimes to secure a plea deal.”
    It is also the Virginia Bar and The Florida Bar etc. The legal profession should not be allowed to police itself, it is a national joke.

  13. I can’t wait to hear Dennis’, Svelaz’s, Fishwings’ and Gigi’s lickspittle apologias on Cohen.

  14. The socialists are using KKK tactics of intimidation to curtail constitutional rights and political freedoms. Maybe someone should inform them of that, and then maybe they will stop.

  15. James is on that list of people that hire Cohen to lie, in furtherance of the their agenda.

    Who is worse? Cohen a known liar. Or James, NEEDING the lies, to further the lies she is telling?

    As a side note, scientist are now using lawyers as subjects to test potentially dangerous substances, drugs, cosmetic, procedures, and such. The reason? There as some things, even rats refuse to do.

    1. Trump is on that list of people that hired Cohen to lie, in furtherance of their agenda. James did not hire Cohen. Witnesses aren’t paid.

Leave a Reply