Former 'fixer' Michael Cohen: Donald Trump will 'do anything' to keep power
WASHINGTON – In the latest in an avalanche of books about President Donald Trump, his former attorney says the president authorized hush money to an ex-porn star, routinely disparaged Black and Hispanic people and women, and will do anything to hold onto the presidency.
Michael Cohen, who served as Trump's "fixer" for years, says "anything" includes messing with the election system and refusing to give up office even if he loses the November election to Joe Biden.
"So Donald Trump will do anything and everything within which to win. And I believe that includes manipulating the ballots," Cohen told NBC News in previewing the book to be released Tuesday.
Cohen's interview with Lester Holt will air on Tuesday's episode of NBC Nightly News.
"I believe that he would even go so far as to start a war in order to prevent himself from being removed from office," he added. "My biggest fear is that there will not be a peaceful transition of power in 2020."
Cohen describes Trump as “a cheat, a liar, a fraud, a bully, a racist, a predator, (and) a con man," reports The Washington Post, which obtained an early copy of the book.
Trump's hatred of predecessor Barack Obama is so intense, Cohen says, that during the 2016 campaign he hired an Obama impersonator for a video in which the former host of "The Apprentice" could "fire" the nation's 44th president, according to the book, "Disloyal, a Memoir: The True Story of the Former Personal Attorney to President Donald J. Trump."
Cohen declined to comment on the book.
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The White House dismissed Cohen's effort.
“Michael Cohen is a disgraced felon and disbarred lawyer, who lied to Congress," said White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany. "He has lost all credibility, and it’s unsurprising to see his latest attempt to profit off of lies.”
Some of the book echoes previous Cohen testimony before prosecutors and congressional committees.
The lawyer writes that Trump may not have colluded with Russians who interfered in the 2016 election, but he welcomed their help; Trump has long sought to do business deals with Russia, and always admired authoritarian Russian leader Vladimir Putin.
"Trump had cheated in the election, with Russian connivance, as you will discover in these pages, because doing anything – and I mean anything – to 'win' has always been his business model and way of life," Cohen writes in the forward to his book.
Cohen also goes into detail about his assertion that Trump authorized hush money payments to ex-porn star Stormy Daniels right before the 2016 election in order to buy her silence about a past affair.
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Cohen pleaded guilty in 2018 to charges that he lied to Congress about Trump's plans for a project in Moscow that was under discussion even during the 2016 presidential election. He also pleaded guilty to breaking campaign finance laws over the payments to Daniels and said at the time Trump authorized those payments.
The former Trump lawyer was recently released from prison because of the spread of COVID-19.
In addition to helping with the Russian development, Cohen writes that "I stiffed contractors on his behalf, ripped off his business partners, lied to his wife Melania to hide his sexual infidelities, and bullied and screamed at anyone who threatened Trump’s path to power."
The president routinely disparages millions of Americans, according to Cohen, particularly Hispanic and Black Americans, as well as white working-class voters who helped him win election.
"The cosmic joke was that Trump convinced a vast swath of working-class white folks in the Midwest that he cared about their well-being," Cohen writes, according to The Washington Post account. "The truth was that he couldn’t care less.”
Cohen's work is the latest in a run of books about the president.
Just this summer has seen former National Security Adviser John Bolton write in a book that Trump is self-dealing in foreign policy, such as asking Chinese leader Xi Jinping to buy more U.S. agricultural products to help his re-election campaign.
The president's niece, Mary Trump, wrote a book saying he was scarred by his father and developed habits of lying and self-deception that shadowed him into the White House.
There have also been pro-Trump books. Former White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders' memoir will also be published Tuesday.
Also coming out Tuesday: Ex-FBI agent Peter Strzok, a former deputy assistant director of counterintelligence who, according to his publisher, "grapples with a question that should concern every U.S. citizen: When a president appears to favor personal and Russian interests over those of our nation, has he become a national security threat?"
Future Trump books include new ones by Bob Woodward, the investigative reporter who made his name during the Watergate scandal; Andrew Weissmann, an assistant to Special Counsel Robert Mueller during the Russia investigation; and Rick Gates, a former campaign official who testified during Mueller's probe.
Gates book is entitled "Wicked Game: An Insider's Story on How Trump Won, Mueller Failed, and America Lost."