Trump distances himself from his former attorney ahead of Congress hearing

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Cohen also testified privately before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday.

Speaking at a news conference in Vietnam on Thursday after his summit with North Korea's Kim Jong-un ended without agreement, the U.S. president said it was "sort of incredible" that such a hearing would be held back in Washington while he was on an important overseas trip. He also said that Trump provided false information to insurance companies and devalued assets for purposes of his tax liability. His only praise for Cohen was that he was impressed his former lawyer did not lie about collusion.

Cohen told the House Oversight Committee that Trump directed him previous year to lie about hush payments made to a porn actress to silence her claims of an affair with Trump.

"This should never happen to another president".

Cohen testified that Trump was told in advance that WikiLeaks planned to release emails damaging to Hillary Clinton's 2016 White House campaign.

Strikingly, Republican members of the house committee did not defend the president against Cohen's charges. "I was you", he told Trump loyalists.

This could include US President Donald Trump's son, Donald Jr, as well as former Trump CFO Allen Weissleberg.

"The last time I appeared before Congress, I came to protect Mr. Trump".

The president called it a 'fake hearing, ' saying: 'Having a fake hearing like that and having it in the middle of this very important summit is really a awful thing. Armed with exhibits and corroborating documents, Cohen divulges, with startling frankness, sensitive information about subjects that have dogged the Trump presidency since inauguration: pay-offs to Stormy Daniels, the Democratic National Committee email leaks from WikiLeaks, the Russian Federation investigation, and, most tellingly, Trump's very character - if the public were looking for spice, they got it.

However, he claimed to be "impressed" with Cohen for not lying about collusion with Russian Federation.

Lawmakers on the House intelligence panel said Thursday that they expected the hearing with Cohen to go "deeper" than his public appearance did - and guessed that the interview would continue into the night. He said the check was one of 11 installment checks.

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"Mr. Trump is a racist", Cohen stated.

Cohen also took aim at a fellow personal lawyer for Trump. Cohen said Trump did not directly tell him to lie, but "he would look me in the eye and tell me there's no business in Russian Federation and then go out and lie to the American people by saying the same thing".

He said Trump once arranged for a fake bidder at an auction to pay $60,000 for a portrait of Trump, then reimbursed the bidder out of funds from Trump's charitable foundation so Trump could hang the painting at one of his country clubs.

Other Republicans went off on Cohen, including Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., a top Trump ally who pointed his glasses at Cohen and at times shouted.

Cohen was already heading to prison next month after pleading guilty to violating campaign finance laws and yes, lying to Congress.

"He was just disbarred by the State Supreme Court for lying & fraud". Without public testimony, it was possible for Republican party leaders to maintain that a defense of Trump was principled conservatism. At a Vietnam hotel and unable to ignore the drama thousands of miles away, Trump lashed out on Twitter, saying Cohen "did bad things unrelated to Trump" and "is lying in order to reduce his prison time".

Cohen briefly spoke to reporters after the hearing, saying he is "humbled".

"He wanted me to lie", the witness added.

And Cohen asserted that personal lawyers for Trump and his family reviewed and edited his written testimony to Congress in 2017 in which he lied about a Moscow real estate deal that was negotiated through the 2016 presidential election. But Cohen said he believed he was following implicit directions to minimize their efforts on the tower. The president retweeted an earlier dig at Cohen but otherwise did not offer live commentary.

Cohen was also asked about a presumed payoff to a former Trump World Tower doorman, who reportedly sold a story about Trump's "love child" for $30,000 to the tabloid publisher American Media.

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