Michael Cohen didn't just reveal Trump's alleged past crimes — he gave dire warnings about the president's future plans
Michael Cohen's testimony before Congress on Wednesday delivered a litany of damaging allegations of reprehensible and potentially criminal acts carried out by his former employer, President Donald Trump. But while Cohen's revelatory claims implicate the president in several of past felonies, some of his characterizations of Trump and his predictions about the future could be even more important.
In his closing statement, Cohen ominously warned: "Given my experience working for Mr. Trump, I fear that if he loses the election in 2020 that there will never be a peaceful transition of power."
Cohen noted that, by working for Trump, his own life was destroyed.
"And I will not sit back, and say nothing, and allow him to do the same to the country," he said.
Trump himself has suggested that he might find contest the result if he lost a presidential election. In 2016, he refused to say he would concede if he lost to Hillary Clinton, while he consistently said the whole system was rigged — stoking his followers to believe the election was stolen if he lost. Even still, once he won, he said he only lost the popular vote because millions of people voted illegally for Clinton — a completely baseless claim. And in 2018, while the Florida election results were going through a necessary recount process in two close races, Trump and his allies erroneously cried foul and accused local officials of trying to steal the elections for Democrats.
Other moments in the testimony made it clear that Cohen takes the threat the president poses to the country very seriously.
“When Mr. Trump turned around early in the campaign and said I can shoot somebody on Fifth Avenue and get away with it, I want to be very clear: He's not joking," Cohen said. "He's telling you the truth.”
And while many people have made these claims about the president, Cohen's claims carry extra weight because of his long personal relationship with Trump.
"You don't know him," Cohen told Congress. "I do. I sat next to this man for ten years, and I watched his back. I"m the one who started the campaign. And I'm the one who continued in 2015 to promote him. And so many things I thought he could do that are just great... and he can and is doing things that are great. But this destruction of our civility to one another it's just — it's out of control."
He continued: "And when he goes on Twitter, and he starts bringing in my in-laws and my parents and my wife — what does he think is going to happen? He's causing — he's sending out the same message that he can do whatever he wants: This is his country; he's becoming an autocrat; and hopefully something bad will happen to me or my children or my wife so that I will not be here and testify. That's what his hope was — to intimidate me."