Former Trump personal lawyer Michael Cohen’s new tell-all memoir says that his long relationship with Donald Trump revealed Mr. Trump for “who he really was: “a cheat, a liar, a fraud, a bully, a racist, a predator, a con man.”
His allegations, his most detailed to date, are part of an unsparing and deeply personal put-down of the president. Cohen assails Mr. Trump as an “organized crime don” and “master manipulator” who is “guilty of the same crimes” that landed his former fixer in federal prison, and he offers a detailed account of Mr. Trump’s alleged role in a hush money scandal during the 2016 election.
In “Disloyal: The True Story of the Former Personal Attorney to President Donald J. Trump,” Cohen recounts the porn actress Stormy Daniels’ claims of an extramarital affair with Trump. Mr. Trump, despite his later protestations, green-lighted the $130,000 payment to silence Daniels ahead of the 2016 election, reasoning he would “have to pay” his wife a far greater sum if the affair ever became known, Cohen writes, adding the president later reimbursed him with “fake legal fees.”
“It never pays to settle these things, but many, many friends have advised me to pay,” Mr. Trump said, according to Cohen. “If it comes out, I’m not sure how it would play with my supporters. But I bet they’d think it’s cool that I slept with a porn star.”
The White House derided Cohen’s memoir as “fan fiction.”
“He readily admits to lying routinely but expects people to believe him now so that he can make money from book sales,” White House spokesman Brian Morgenstern said in a statement. “It’s unfortunate that the media is exploiting this sad and desperate man to attack President Trump.”
Cohen also writes that Mr. Trump held “low opinions of all Black folks.”
“‘Tell me one country run by a black person that isn’t a s***hole,’ he would challenge me as he cursed the stupidity of Obama. ‘They are all complete f******g toilets,'” Cohen writes.
He noted Mr. Trump’s fixation with Mr. Obama, whose appearance and manner of speaking he mocked.
“‘Obama is a f*****g phony,’ Trump screamed. ‘He’s a Manchurian candidate. He’s not even f*****g American. The only reason he got into Harvard law school and Columbia was f*****g affirmative action. He could never get into those schools on his f*****g grades. F*** him,'” Cohen recalls.
At one point, Mr Trump even had a video produced in which he “belittled” a “Faux-Bama” — an actor who played Mr. Obama — reviewed his first term job performance and then fired him.
CBS News obtained an early copy of the book, which is scheduled to be released Tuesday. The book is distributed by Simon & Schuster, a division of ViacomCBS.
Cohen, who pleaded guilty to campaign finance violations and other crimes, including lying to Congress, calls himself the “star witness” of a hush-money conspiracy that still could culminate in charges for the president after he leaves office. He described his new book as a “fundamental piece of evidence” of the president’s guilt.
He likens his fealty to Mr. Trump to a mental illness and compared himself to a drug user in need of an intervention.
“I never really did understand why pleasing Trump meant so much to me,” Cohen adds. “To this day I don’t have the full answer.”
The memoir offers an introspective — and at times self-loathing — apology for the role Cohen played in Trump’s political ascent. He urged Mr. Trump for years to run for president but now laments that his election “led the nation and maybe even the world to the brink of disaster.”
“I thought Trump was a visionary with a no-nonsense attitude and the charisma to attract all kinds of voters,” he writes. But the real reason he wanted Mr. Trump in the White House, Cohen concedes, “was because I wanted the power that he would bring to me.”
He also writes that Mr. Trump’s three oldest children came to Cohen’s office after his campaign announcement in 2015, in which Mr. Trump referred to people coming to the U.S. from Mexico as rapists and murderers. Cohen says they asked him to convince their father to drop out of the race, arguing his rhetoric was “killing the company.”
Cohen says Mr. Trump was unconcerned with any harm to his businesses. “Plus, I will never get the Hispanic vote,” he said, according to Cohen. “Like the blacks, they’re too stupid to vote for Trump. They’re not my people.”
Throughout the book, Cohen returns to Mr. Trump’s treatment of women.
He recalls Mr. Trump ogling contestants at his Miss Universe pageant and boasting he could “have all of them” if he wanted. He also claimed to have seen Trump corner and forcibly kiss women at his office.
And Cohen writes of Mr. Trump leering at Cohen’s then-15-year-old daughter at Mr. Trump’s New Jersey golf club in 2012. Cohen writes that when he informed Mr. Trump that it was his daughter, Mr. Trump replied: “When did she get so hot?”
Cohen also sheds light on the president’s admiration of Russian President Vladimir Putin, saying he admired him most because he “had the balls to take over an entire nation and run it like it was his personal company.”
Beyond his dealings with the president, Cohen waxes nostalgic about experiences he says informed his fierce loyalty and attack-dog persona. The Long Island native, a Holocaust survivor’s son, writes of rubbing shoulders with mobsters at his uncle’s club, where he worked as a teen. After witnessing a poolside shooting, he says he felt a duty to keep quiet. A few days later, he writes, a tough-looking fellow handed him an envelope stuffed with $500 cash.
Cohen has led a publicity blitz around his memoir, penned during his incarceration, even as he serves his federal sentence in home confinement. A judge ruled this summer that authorities had retaliated against him in sending him back to prison in upstate New York after he was furloughed because of the coronavirus pandemic, for publishing the book ahead of the November election.
Cohen was released to home confinement in July and the government lifted a ban denying him the ability to speak publicly.
“This story is all I have left for my wife, my children and the country I love so much,” Cohen writes.