Michael Cohen says Trump is ‘grifting’ off the American people

Lawrence Neumeister/AP Photo

Michael Cohen, former attorney for Donald Trump, said Sunday that the former president is “grifting off of the American people,” using the 2020 stolen election accusations as a fundraising motivator.

“One of the things Donald Trump has done is grift off of ‘the big lie‘ — that the election was stolen from him in 2020. It was not stolen from him,” Cohen told host Chuck Todd on NBC's “Meet the Press.”

Cohen said he was convinced that Trump, contrary to almost all expectations, won’t run in 2024 because a second defeat would be another unacceptable blow to his ego. “If he loses, and he will in 2024, what happens to the big lie? The big lie disappears,” Cohen said. “He can’t now be like the boy who cried wolf, oh, they stole it from me in 2020, they now stole it from me in 2024.”

Cohen added that Trump will likely appear to be running in 2024 “right to the very, very last second” and then step aside.

As far as the New York criminal investigation into Trump and his family business, Cohen said that the former president is “guilty of his own crimes,” though he didn’t elaborate. Cohen added that he was involved in “the inflation and deflation“ of Trump’s assets.

The investigation is coming to a head as Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance Jr. heads into the final weeks of his term.

“My case is over. It was over when I had pled guilty,” said Cohen, who served more than a year in federal prison after pleading guilty to campaign finance violations, tax fraud, and bank fraud in 2018, Trump subsequently denounced him as a liar and a “bad lawyer and fraudster.”

“It was all part of one big, giant package,” Cohen said. “And it’s amazing that I’m the only one, you know, it’s amazing that I’m the only one that ended up doing prison, right, and indicted, incarcerated out of his entire group.”