Michael Cohen Claims He Did Not Want White House Job Despite Reportedly Telling People He Would Be Chief of Staff
Former Donald Trump attorney Michael Cohen potentially made another false statement during his testimony on Wednesday before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform when he claimed during Rep. Jim Jordan’s (R-OH) questioning that he did not want a job in the White House when Trump won the presidency.
Jordan, the ranking member of the committee, closed his opening questions to Cohen by asking about his desire to get a White House job.
“Mr. Cohen, how long did you work in the White House?” Jordan asked.
“I never worked in the White House,” Cohen replied.
“That’s the point, isn’t it, Mr. Cohen?” Jordan followed up.
“No, sir,” Cohen responded.
“Yes, it is,” Jordan said.
“No, it’s not,” Cohen said.
“You wanted to work in the White House,” Jordan said.
“No, sir,” Cohen said.
“You didn’t get brought to the dance,” Jordan said.
“Sir, I was extremely proud to be personal attorney to the President of the United States of America,” Cohen said. “I did not go to the White House. I was offered jobs. I can tell you a story of Mr. Trump reaming out Reince Priebus because I had not taken a job where Mr. Trump wanted me to, which is working with Don McGahn at the White House General Counsel’s office.”
After some crosstalk, Cohen continued.
“What I said at the time, and I brought a lawyer in who produced a memo as to why I should not go in–because there would be no attorney-client privilege,” Cohen said, adding, “and in order to handle some of the matters that I talked about in my opening, that it would be best suited for me not to go in, and that every president had a personal attorney.”
“Here’s what I see: I see a guy that worked for ten years who is here trashing the guy he worked for for ten years who didn’t get a job in the White House, and now you’re behaving just like everyone else who got fired or didn’t get the job they wanted, like Andy McCabe, like James Comey,” Jordan said. “The same kind of selfish motivation after you don’t get the thing you want. That’s what I see here today, and I think that’s what the American people see here, too.”
“All I wanted was what I got,” Cohen said. “To be personal attorney to the president, to enjoy the senior year of my son in high school, and waiting for my daughter, who is graduating from college to come back to New York. I got exactly what I want.”
Cohen is going to prison after pleading guilty to a variety of crimes, including lying to Congress. He claimed in his opening statement that he has lied but is not a “liar,” as President Trump has branded him, framing this hearing as his effort to come clean and tell the truth once and for all. But it appears as though Cohen might be lying again about the White House job potential, as many Trump officials, including Trump’s sons, Donald Trump Jr., and Eric Trump, have said in response to his testimony:
Michael was lobbying EVERYONE to be “Chief of Staff.” It was the biggest joke in the campaign and around the office. Did he just perjure himself again?
— Eric Trump (@EricTrump) February 27, 2019
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) February 27, 2019
Arthur Schwartz, a GOP consultant who works with Trump Jr., said on Twitter that Cohen specifically complained to him about not getting a White House job:
Cohen: “I didn’t want to go to the White House.” LIAR. He complained to me on numerous occasions about the fact that POTUS didn’t offer him a job at the WH. #CohenTestimony
— Arthur Schwartz (@ArthurSchwartz) February 27, 2019
— Arthur Schwartz (@ArthurSchwartz) February 27, 2019
Sam Nunberg, another former Trump adviser who worked for the president for years and worked with Cohen when he worked for Trump, told Breitbart News, as well, that Cohen personally told him that he was in the running to become the White House chief of staff.
“He told me numerous times he wanted to be chief of staff,” Nunberg said when reached by phone on Wednesday.
Nunberg added that Cohen floated his name as a candidate for chief of staff in the White House to the media.
“Not only that; I was told by numerous people in the transition that Michael was trying to put his name out in the media as a potential candidate for chief for staff,” Nunberg told Breitbart News.
GOP sources familiar with Cohen’s pleading for the White House chief of staff position think there may even be contemporaneous text messages or emails from him to people in the media or in the political world regarding President Trump from the time after Trump won the White House through the early days of the administration during which he was pushing for this. Those messages, if they do exist and emerge, could demonstrate that Cohen lied again on the day he supposedly was–at the urging of congressional Democrats–finally, at long last, going to be telling the truth.
After this moment during the hearing, CNN actually reported that Cohen’s testimony was not accurate.
Good point by @DanaBashCNN that when Cohen was asked in the hearings whether he wanted a job in the White House and he said "no" he contradicted mountains of reporting that show he did, in fact, want one.
— Nathan McDermott (@natemcdermott) February 27, 2019
CNN’s Dana Bash reported that Cohen did seek a White House job:
"[CNN has] been told by people in and around the process real time, [Cohen] very much wanted a job in the White House. Very much." pic.twitter.com/3p4QRffK7d
— Steven Cheung (@CaliforniaPanda) February 27, 2019
The Daily Beast, in the summer of 2018, even reported that Cohen “had told friends that he even expected to be named chief of staff” in the White House.