Jamaica Plain's two Congressional representatives had five minutes each to ask Michael Cohen anything about his former client President Donald Trump. In those five minutes, Ayanna Pressley and Stephen Lynch, excoriated the Trump Foundation, Congressional Republicans and dug into alleged illegal activities.
Michael Cohen, Trump's former personal lawyer and fixer, voluntarily testified publicly at the Congressional Committee on Oversight and Reform on February 27. Cohen continued to testify behind closed doors on Feb. 28, and is scheduled to appear again on March 6.
Congressman Stephen Lynch, D-8th, reacted to Georgia Congressman Jody Hice's, R-10th, insinuation that the committee was brought to "its knees in terms of losing its credibility," by naming off associates of the president who have pled guilty since Trump took office. He added that the GOP "ran away from the truth" by being unwilling to call indicted associates of Trump.
First-term Congresswoman Pressley, D-7th, asked Cohen about the misdealings of the Trump Foundation, including the securing of a straw bidder to push up the price of a painting of Trump that was auctioned off. (Pressley's questioning begins at the 4:25 following Congresswoman Alexandria Oscasio-Cortez's questioning.)
Pressley posted a partial transcript of her interchange with Cohen on her own website.
Congresswoman Pressley: The point of oversight is for us to pursue the truth and justice for the American people, to understand if lies, deceit and corruption are threatening the American democracy, and indeed our safety. Mr. Chairman, charities should not be abused as personal piggy banks. It is both against the law and extremely unfair to charities that play by the rules.
Congresswoman Pressley: According to the New York Attorney General, in March of 2014, Mr. Trump again used the [Trump] foundation to pay $10,000 for the winning bid on another portrait of Mr. Trump that ended up as decor in one of his golf courses in Miami. Mr. Cohen, are you familiar with that transaction?
Mr. Cohen: Yes.
Congresswoman Pressley: Are you aware of any other instances where the Trump Foundation was used to benefit the Trump family?
Mr. Cohen: Yes.
Congresswoman Pressley: Could you elaborate?
Mr. Cohen: So there was a contract that I ended up creating on Mr. Trump’s behalf for a Ukrainian oligarch by the name of Victor Pinchuk and Mr. Trump was asked to come to participate in what was the Ukrainian-American Economic Forum. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to go, but I was able to negotiate 15 minutes by Skype where they would have a camera very much like that one, and they would translate Mr. Trump to the questioner and then he would respond back. I negotiated a fee of $150,000 for 15 minutes. I was directed by Mr. Trump to have the contract done in the name of the Donald J. Trump Foundation as opposed to Donald J. Trump or services rendered.