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Michael Cohen Calls President Trump A 'Con Man' In Wednesday Testimony

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Michael Cohen once said he would take a bullet for Donald Trump. Now the president's former lawyer and fixer is singing a different tune.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

MICHAEL COHEN: I am ashamed because I know what Mr. Trump is. He is a racist. He is a con man. And he is a cheat.

KELLY: Cohen during marathon testimony today in front of the House Oversight and Reform Committee.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

That hearing covered a wide range of issues connected to the president - the hush money payment to porn star Stormy Daniels, the failed Trump Tower Moscow project, possible contacts with WikiLeaks. But it was also a firsthand account of a decade inside Trump's inner circle.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

COHEN: When I first met Mr. Trump, he was a successful entrepreneur, a real estate giant and an icon. Being around Mr. Trump was intoxicating.

KELLY: That was in 2007. Cohen said that sheen eventually wore off.

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COHEN: Mr. Trump brought me into his personal life and private dealings. Over time, I saw his true character revealed.

KELLY: Cohen gave specifics.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

COHEN: Mr. Trump directed me to call business owners, many of whom are small businesses, that were owed money for their services and told them that no payment or a reduced payment would be coming.

SHAPIRO: And an alleged conversation about Trump receiving a medical deferment from the draft.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

COHEN: He finished the conversation with the following comment - you think I'm stupid? I'm not going to Vietnam.

KELLY: Cohen also claimed that Trump made racist comments about countries with black leaders in language we do not normally use on the radio. Republicans on the committee pushed Cohen on his motives for turning on the president. And here's Ohio Congressman Jim Jordan.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

JIM JORDAN: How long did you work in the White House?

COHEN: I never worked in the White House.

JORDAN: That's the point, isn't it, Mr. Cohen?

COHEN: No, sir.

JORDAN: Yes, it is.

COHEN: No, it's not, sir.

JORDAN: You wanted to work in the White House...

COHEN: No, sir.

JORDAN: ...And you didn't get brought to the dance.

COHEN: Sir...

JORDAN: And now...

COHEN: ...I was extremely proud to be personal attorney to the president of the United States of America. I did not want to go to the White House.

SHAPIRO: Cohen cautioned the Republicans defending Trump.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

COHEN: I can only warn people the more people that follow Mr. Trump, as I did blindly, are going to suffer the same consequences that I'm suffering.

KELLY: The president's former lawyer and fixer nodding there to the three-year prison sentence he will begin in May partly for the illegal payment to porn star Stormy Daniels allegedly made at Trump's behest. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.