Michael Cohen released his prepared remarks before a public testimony on Capitol Hill in which he was due to detail Donald Trump’s alleged lies, corruption and criminal conduct throughout the 2016 presidential election.
Among those explosive claims — Cohen will say Mr Trump “was a presidential candidate who knew that Roger Stone was talking with Julian Assange about a WikiLeaks drop of Democratic National Committee emails” — include the president telling his former attorney there was no real medical excuse behind his military deferral during the Vietnam War.
“Mr Trump tasked me to handle the negative press surrounding his medical deferment from the Vietnam draft,“ Cohen said in his prepared remarks on Wednesday. “Mr Trump claimed it was because of a bone spur, but when I asked for medical records, he gave me none and said there was no surgery.”
“He told me not to answer the specific questions by reporters but rather offer simply the fact that he received a medical deferment,“ he added.
The remarkable decision by Cohen to expose the president’s supposed crimes and wrongdoings reflects an incredible reversal from one of Mr Trump’s closest former confidants who previously said he would defend his ex-boss until the very end.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders came out in defence against Mr Trump ahead of Cohen’s public testimony, calling him a “disgraced felon” and noting he “is going to prison for lying to Congress”.
“Sadly, he will go before Congress this week and we can expect more of the same,“ she said. ”It’s laughable that anyone would take a convicted liar like Cohen at his word, and pathetic to see him given yet another opportunity to spread his lies.”
Cohen was scheduled to meet with the Democratic-controlled House Oversight Committee on Wednesday during a three-day appearance on Capitol Hill.
Mr Trump has previously received scrutiny over his deferral from the Vietnam War, with dubious claims he suffered bone spurs at the time never having been held up by verifiable facts or evidence.
“You think I’m stupid, I wasn’t going to Vietnam,” Cohen said the president told him.
Mr Trump reportedly told The Times in 2016 his bone spurs “healed up” over “a period of time”.