After spending nearly eight hours testifying about his role as a personal lawyer and fixer for President Trump, Michael Cohen was brought to tears by House Oversight Committee chairman Elijah Cummings at the end of Wednesday’s hearing on Capitol Hill.
Cummings said he felt sorry for Cohen, who Trump has called a “rat” for agreeing to cooperate with special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.
“I know it’s painful going to prison,” Cummings told Cohen. “I know it’s gotta be painful being called a rat.”
Last year, Cohen pleaded guilty to charges that included campaign finance fraud and lying to Congress. He’s due to begin a three-year prison sentence in May.
“When you call somebody a rat, that’s one of the worst things you can call them,” the chairman said. “Because when [they] go to prison, it means a snitch.”
He continued: “The president called you a rat. We’re better than that!”
Cohen was originally supposed to testify on Feb. 8, but asked for a delay because of what he said were “threats against his family” by Trump and his associates. He told lawmakers Wednesday that he is afraid to walk down the street with his family.
Cummings said the image of Cohen arriving at the courthouse for sentencing with his daughter, who had a cast on, left a mark on him.
“As the father of two daughters, it really hurt me,” Cummings said. “And I can imagine how it must feel for you.”
Cohen appeared to mouth the word “yeah,” wiped tears from his eyes and fidgeted with a pen as Cummings spoke.
“I know that this has been hard,” Cummings added. “I know you’ve faced a lot. I know that you are worried about your family. But this is a part of your destiny.”
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