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Trump attacks Cohen over testimony, demands Congress investigate 'love letter' book pitch

Trump zeroed in on a flattering book his former personal attorney shopped around to publishers prior to his legal woes.
Image: Donald Trump
President Donald Trump arrives at the White House on Feb. 28, 2019.Manuel Balce Ceneta / AP

President Donald Trump lashed out at Michael Cohen, his former fixer and personal attorney, in a string of tweets Friday aimed at discrediting the blockbuster testimony Cohen delivered while the president was abroad.

Trump, who returned from faltering talks with North Korea late Thursday night, tweeted repeatedly that a book Cohen reportedly shopped to publishers prior to the start of his legal troubles proved the testimony he gave to Congress on Wednesday was "fake" and "a lie!"

"Your heads will spin when you see the lies, misrepresentations and contradictions against his Thursday testimony. Like a different person! He is totally discredited!" Trump wrote on Twitter in a string of tweets.

"Michael Cohen’s book manuscript shows that he committed perjury on a scale not seen before. He must have forgotten about his book when he testified," he continued.

Cohen testified under oath on Wednesday, calling the president a "con man" and a "racist" before going on to allege that Trump approved hush money payments to Stormy Daniels, knew about the 2016 WikiLeaks email dump in advance and had wanted Congress to receive misleading testimony about his ties to Russia.

He also told lawmakers that prosecutors were investigating other possible illegal acts by the president that have not been made public, telling Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Ill., that "those are part of the investigation currently being looked at by the Southern District of New York."

Republican members on the House Oversight Committee largely sought to paint Cohen as a liar and a profit-seeking opportunist whose word was not to be trusted, in part because he is on his way to prison, and questioned him repeatedly about any potential book or movie deals in the works.

At one point, Cohen testified that it was true he had shopped around a book about his time with Trump, and that he ultimately turned down a $750,000 book deal. He also testified that he soured on his former employer after the president's response to violence at race-fueled riots in Charlottesville and his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki.

In his tweets Friday morning, Trump said it was "just revealed" that Cohen penned a flattering book after those events occurred — negating Cohen's stated reason for turning on Trump.

But reporting on the book deal dates back to last year, and cites a book proposal — not a full manuscript, which Trump claimed Friday to have seen a "transcript" of. It's unclear if the book was ever written or when precisely the book proposal was shopped around, though Cohen indicated to Congress Wednesday that talks with publishers occurred "early on when I was still part of the RNC."

Cohen was deputy finance chair of the Republican National Committee, a post he resigned months after his home and offices were raided by the FBI in April 2018.

Lanny Davis, a Cohen attorney, said Friday that Trump is the one who is lying.

"Sometime in early 2018, Mr. Cohen was offered a substantial advance for a proposal regarding a book on understanding Donald Trump. Mr. Cohen ultimately elected not to proceed. In other words, POTUS has yet lied again...but what’s the difference between 9000 or 9001 lies?" Davis said in a statement provided to NBC News.

The Daily Beast reported on the book proposal in February 2018, months after the Charlottesville protests.

"Time to start looking at the other side where real crimes were committed. Republicans have been abused long enough. Must end now!" Trump wrote in Twitter, again claiming without evidence that Democrats and Hillary Clinton were involved in collusion.

In his public testimony, Cohen came prepared to back up many of his claims with evidence, providing the House Oversight Committee with over a dozen exhibits, including checks, news articles, financial statements and more.

Frank Thorp V contributed.