As Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) grilled Michael Cohen during his testimony before the House oversight committee on Wednesday, the former personal lawyer to Donald Trump said the president had asked him to threaten individuals on his behalf “probably” 500 times.
“How many times did Mr. Trump ask you to threaten an individual or entity on his behalf?” Speier asked.
“Quite a few times,” Cohen replied before the two embarked in a snappy back-and-forth.
Speier asked, “50 times?” “100 times?” and “200 times?”
“More,” Cohen responded to all of those inquiries.
When the congresswoman asked, “500 times?” Cohen said, “Probably, over the 10 years.”
Rep. Jackie Speier: “How many times did Mr. Trump ask you to threaten an individual on his behalf?”
Cohen: “Quite a few times”
Speier: “50 times?”
Speier: “100 times?”
Speier: “200 times?”
Speier: “500 times?”
Cohen: “Probably” pic.twitter.com/CxNntBS8Yo
— CNN (@CNN) February 27, 2019
Cohen clarified that by “threaten,” he meant litigation or an argument — with a “nasty reporter that is writing an article,” he said, apparently by way of example.
He also noted that Trump did not directly threaten people who crossed him, but would use those around him to issue threats.
“He would use others. I’m not so sure he had to hire them, they were already working there,” Cohen said. “He’s sending out the message that this is his country; he’s becoming an autocrat.”
While many of Cohen’s exchanges with various members of Congress have been contentious, Speier ended her line of questioning by asking Cohen what he wants his children to know.
“That I’m sorry for everything and I’m sorry for the pain that I’ve caused them. And I wish I can go back in time,” he said.