Cohen continues Day 3 of testimony, admits to years of lying to protect Trump

The president responds to Michael Cohen's testimony after summit with Kim Jong Un is cut short.
23:44 | 02/28/19

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Transcript for Cohen continues Day 3 of testimony, admits to years of lying to protect Trump
Hey everybody welcome to the brick interim on this Thursday I'm Devin Dwyer Washington thank you for joining us here with our White House and investigative reporter Catherine folders Catherine a big day today. The third day that the president's personal attorney Michael Cohen. Is up on Capitol Hill this time behind closed doors many hours now it's still going on of course yesterday. All eyes were on the public hearing that Michael Cohen testifying in extraordinary scene. To take a step back to longtime. Confidant ten years working for Donald Trump and then to see this moment. Of Michael Cohen testified accusing president trump of committing crimes while in office. Also accusing him being a liar racist and a cheat. What reaction have you heard from the white house on this you've been pretty plugged in over there how are they seeing this even as they come back now. From B and CEO of multiple sources that. I spoke and you haven't had too much yet at least amity they're still digesting an about the substance of Collins testimonies on I was hours. A test nanny but what they do say is the president was frustrated he was watching. This testimony at least parts and as he acknowledges he cousin be true or frustrated because it's eclipsing his moment spot well frustrated I think I think there's a little bit of both but what I heard from sources as. That he's frustrated that it's a club saying he is moment at in the spotlight one source told me that it that the president thinks that. That's heightening was hindering his negotiations. With North Korea so bush those negotiations fell apart over that so are we didn't hear the president. Make that excuse for perhaps if you fire a tweet he had America doesn't just become add to our Jon Karl called the hearing shameful on caught a fake hearing but. It's clear he was paying attention to the substance because the part that he said that he thought Cohen that it lied about was when Collins said that there. Was no collusion with luck with Russia he didn't really say that he said that he had. No evidence to believe there was collision with Russia but I he was suspicious so clearly the president was paying close attention. And Democrats salivating at all looked at all the things that Michael Cohen had to say here they are seen. A lot of different avenues for investigation Republicans meanwhile today. He came out and largely brushed it off PT Michael Cohen as a liar who in fact is going to federal prison next month for lying to congress are married Bruce. Senior congressional correspondent caught up with some top Republicans a short timer and asked them for their reaction to yesterday's hearing tickle us. Republicans yesterday spent a lot of time attacking Cohen's credibility but they didn't seem to spend a lot of time defending the president against Collins accusations did any. Of Cohen's claims about the president's wrongdoing or is alleged criminal activity. Give you cause for concern the Democrats wanted to have this hearing. Barrier Y cause cones going to jail line for line. But when the fact that Cohen brings documentation he says look you don't have to take him at his word look at the evidence that he says he's bringing. Does any of that give you pause about some of the act allegations against the president. From what I've seen it will be investigated doesn't give me any pause whatsoever about this for nothing that you heard from calling yesterday makes you question the president in air anything new in the process now. All of the collusion question I think he did not answer calls and all of trying to campaign included with the Russians. Seems to be bid sort of went the other way on that question you're looking for him to prove collusion and did happen. In Louisiana we would call on my crook. He's angry man. He's bitter. I'm not calling him a bunny all our bodies of little one back punched. And I wouldn't take as check. In our mind most Americans believe. So both sides clearly retreating to their partisan corners here you have Democrats arguing that Clemens testimony was a game changer that there need to be even more investigations and more hearings on the flip side that Republicans Tuesday calling it is simply a liar and that essentially there is nothing to see here. The big remaining question is what's the American public think does Collins testimony. Move the needle at all. He. Right important questions raised are very Bruce there let's bring in our Ben Siegel now Capitol Hill reporters on the corn story was in the hearing yesterday banned. Help us break through some of this noise and spin on both sides. I Democrats would have you believe this is all. Plain and clear evidence of criminality by the president Republicans say it's absolutely nothing that's simply bluster or in fact more lies from Michael Cohen. Imagine the truth is somewhere in the medal how do you Parse that. That's right now I think Democrats will be the first ones to tell you that. They were hearing many things ensure that they want to follow up on. Things that Michael Cohen said things that he couldn't discuss even because there are still ongoing investigations. Bespoke with mr. a lot of coming to say the chairman of the house oversight committee. And he said recently everybody whose name came up in that hearing he wants to talk to so there could be many more hearings like this but at least at the very least many more investigations stemming from yesterday he had that. Striking thing yesterday captain was being named names Michael Cohen was asked several times give us specifically. Some individuals in Trump's orbit. Who we should follow up with and he went there. And now some of those people could potentially be called to the he'll. A yet exactly heard a number of names you heard. I'm top executives at the Trump Organization summit is some names that we haven't I'm heard from before heard of before UAL that was in a lot of lines of questioning from. From specifically the Democrats. To Michael Collins he'll be interesting to see who comes in their necks and as shocking reminder of the consequences of elections by the way if the Democrats had not won. A majority in the House of Representatives in November in the midterm elections we would not be here we would not be having this here exactly one of the freshman congressmen and women and men and women who won a seat in in November Alexandria cost you know Cortez of New York you know her. Quite well who chased her on a video captured. She had quite a moment yesterday asking about the president's tax returns let's take a listen to that exchange. It's here knowledge to the president ever provide inflated assets to an insurance company. Yes. Who else knows that the president at this. Alan Weiss oberg Ron Liebman and Matthew Telemar. The striking exchange. That regarding the tax returns but. Also an interesting moment what the president's tax returns in their. It co seemed to suggest that may be it. The president from might not be under on it he says that he doesn't want to release his tax returns because the is an hour on it but in another line of questioning about the tax returns he says. That you know he didn't want to become under odd so I think that's another thing to watch for is relates to the tax turns a lot more. Reporting and information to be done there the other thing though that I want to point out. From police custody have striking is not a similar investigation seems to be coming to an end what we did learn now and I think what president. Could potentially be more concerned about is this investigation in the southern district of new York and Barnett it's expanding many still cooperating with famine that. There are there investigating other aspects of an as a relates the president. That was a fascinating admission I'm Michael Collins learned that he's been cooperating with these other federal prosecutors aside from the special counsel that commitment may be much more to come there but want to go back to the tax returns. Michael Cohen told the panel yesterday he's one of the few people who has seen Donald Trump's tax returns he looked at them he said he hadn't. Gone through them the thousands of pages but then Siegel. You've been doing some reporting on what Democrats now intend to do to try to get their hands on those tax returns and that there are ways that the committees on Capitol Hill can actually do that how does that work. There are three committees appear to have the ability through a almost century year old a century old laws to requesting returned from the IRS have any and any citizen that includes the president. So the chairman of the house Ways and Means Committee Richard Neal is studying men now. I spoke to him about yesterday's hearing he said his staff as a watching that adjusting their paperwork accordingly but they're going about this and a very methodical way because they expect. The trump administration and the treasury to challenge this in court. So long story short he is still trying to make sure all of his ducks are a row to make sure they do this request the right way. Despite that testimony and then exchange we heard yesterday from Cohen with some of the members of congress it sounds like they're just gonna make sure they do this the right way. All right Ed Siegel thanks so much for your reporting up on Capitol Hill aggravation followed then on Twitter thanks for that reporting Dan and depressing Katherine just before flying back east on the air right now yeah to Jerve Sanders was asked our Jonathan Karl chief White House correspondent what he thinks. President Cohen herb Michael Collins testimony here's a little bit of what the president had to say about the testimony he caught. On TV from Vietnam. While this was going on the drama back in Washington. Your former lawyer Michael Cohen who worked for you for ten years office. Right next year's radio by yours at trump tower he called Ewing is a liar or a con man or racist. What's your response to Michael Cohen while it's incorrect he lied allowed but it was very interesting because. He did lie about one thing he said no collusion with the Russian hoax. And I said I wonder why didn't just lie about that do like you did about everything else and he lied about so many different things and I was actually impressed that he didn't say well I think there was collusion for this reason that he had to say that he said no collusion. And I was. A little impressed by that frankly that if he could have gone all out he only went about 95% of sort of a 100%. A fiance shameful if they carrying hazard talking Allen a bit about earlier of course the president and his allies on Capitol Hill are capitalizing on the narrative that Michael Cohen said. That there was no collusion that. That's what it was a striking point not in my life Hong would have had complete visibility over the campaign when he said he had new evidence exactly but but certainly help the president's case and that is not exactly an idiot suspicions as well but again that's not. Targeting. Ten unit of course those hearings and Michael Cohen our container right now behind closed doors a much more reporting to com. I'm meanwhile as we as we said the president leaving behind it leaving Vietnam empty handed. Leaving Kim Jung went behind without a deal nuclear deal they had did these are the pictures they came in overnight. Of that historic second summit between the president of the United States the leader of of North Korea. You know one of the questions Catherine this despite they have minor not having to deal here was about. And the way Kim Jong-un has treated Americans in his custody and of course everybody remembers the case of the American college student Otto warm beer. Who president trump upheld as an example. Of Kim's brutality invited the family to the state of the union there we see a picture of auto died shortly after being released. From North Korean custody. I was shocked to hear the president basically absolved him for any risk. Possibility in in Arnold's death this was. Absolutely striking he said that Kim Jong Hoon told him that he didn't know about this that he didn't have anything to do with and the president took his. Word for a. And we have a little and that's how much listened to president trump speaking in deserves raising eyebrows. About his thoughts on it Kim Jung owns role in auto one rears death. I really believe something very bad happened to him and I don't think that. The top leadership knew about it I did speak about it and I don't believe that he would have allowed that to happen just wasn't to his advantage to allow that to happen. But I really don't believe that he was he he I don't believe he knew about it. Thought pattern and if taking dictators. At their word of course remember he did that with Vladimir prudent. Denying any route involvement US elections of course and he as one example what you've been in touch with the warm beer family's attorney what what are they react. He I have and it's unlikely wouldn't hear anything from the family attorney says that quote I doubt. I don't think they're going to have anything to say about it I'm that's you know all we have from memory now but you remember they sued. North Korea for a one billion dollars the court ended up warning and the family 500. A million and I think the other. I think to point out here is that it you know we talk about Russian and our intelligence communities and in their conclusions well US officials have it publicly said that North Korea is responsible for us let's also. And the president not to believe in aren't Intel community once again. Britain certainly tragic story as the president calls can German his friend a construction constructive relationship. But again coming back without a deal let's talk a little they're more now about that stalemate. In in Korea and no road map forward to today regards you he'd show she's the Asian correspondent for ABC news's in Hanoi now joins us live that you he. Hit North Korea in fact just minutes ago coming out forcefully disputing the president's characterization of what went down in that room. What can you tell us about their response. While that call for a press conference at midnight was a surprise here today aways. You know series of surprises first Kim you don't I'm answering questions to. You know answering questions from reporters. And then also he was talking a little bit about how he does not have much time during the photo op before you let into the bilateral meeting. Now the foreign minister in the elbow and their vice foreign minister chess he they came out at midnight invited couple. Reporters and that North Korea had proposed a maximum they could give up he said. Permanently. Completely dismantling all nuclear material production facilities in the amusement area needs at that includes. Plutonium and your rainy and and in the presence of US experts but during the meeting he said they US insisted. One more step to be taken now this coincides with what president trump had explained about the new facility that. He thought surprise in north Koreans demanding a return to earth here said they asked for a parts of the UN sanctions resolutions to be removed. Only the ones that impeded light needed of their people now this contradicts exactly what trump set her there. He said basically north -- of one at this sanctions lifted in their entirety so yes there's contradiction and there's a lot to work out. And certainly. An incredible admission on the north Koreans part as you said you he that perhaps they've lost the will to continue in these negotiations there are no future talks settled. Which sort of surprise me you were there watching the body language in listening closely overnight to all the things both of these men said. Things were proceeding quite nicely they were dining on steak chocolate lava cake they were. I is said to have a grand alliance talked about their great friendship together. It but the rhetoric aside you were. Perhaps clued in to some of the body language that there could have signaled some of this wasn't going so well. The first sign that I saw today away as when. President trot was talking at the photo opportunity. He lists you know praising Kim Jung and and congratulating effort not which firing missiles are testing missiles. Kim tell her and nodded constantly as if he understood what president Joseph was saying even before the translator translated that into English. So obviously we learned that and you don't does understand English to a certain extent. And then when president trump started talking about the war in no rush that no rush comment that he had repeatedly. Repeated in the past couple of days. King Dylan. Stop and he just frowned he's facial expression totally changed. And then. He tried humor to his chest later he said but we have no time. The time is very important to us. But he kind of ended that sentence and then he went on to another topic so. We says that Kim John with age just and he want to get a deal done because first and he used to tell you think about his domestic people he'll have to north creek in glory they celebrated they all thought that king Dylan was on his great journey for 66 hours. To bring a big. President that calls meaning sanctions lifted that will make their lives easier. But obviously he's going back home empty handed in north Koreans are not happy. Yeah and it's a very good point and we shall see if that domestic pressure in any way brains can gentlemen. Back to the table perhaps this is to be continued you hit show think so much for your reporting today and home. Overnight your on with us here on ABC news live with great reporting fronts from Hanoi think you Jew he. Meanwhile congress here Washington closely watching all the developments overseas also. Taking some action and a couple of pretty significant pieces of legislation that may not be on your radar in fact. For the first time in 25 years the House of Representatives passed a major piece of gun control legislation this is a background check bill. That they passed last night a requiring background checks on all firearms sales and transfers nationwide. A very significant piece of legislation that has long been called for by the march for a life students in the one year anniversary of the Marjorie Stoneman Douglas high school shooting when in the deadliest school shootings in American history just about a year ago down in Florida. And we see some of those advocates here a big win for them. Pretty slim chances over in the senate the Republican controlled senate but nonetheless a significant milestone worse mentioning meanwhile. The Democrats in majority in the house also taking a look at other priorities including marijuana. Of all things are Mary Alice parks has been up on Capitol Hill today tracking a new bill. That was just unveiled to legalize marijuana nationwide. Mary Alice tell us about this piece of legislation that's up today. Yet this is pretty dramatic legislation it would legalize marijuana at the federal level flight he said and also it's fun to record. Of previous convictions. So someone who served time for marijuana possession or use in the past when they would have the record clear. And someone who's in jail currently on a marijuana related charge they could have reason to bring that case. Up to a judge so really huge sweeping legislation. I was struck by the fact that there are already thirty co sponsors in the house and in the senate. Five senators who are running for president well they signed on works this legislation as well. I talked to congresswoman Barbara Lee from California she was one of the authors of the house version. Of the bill of this new legislation I talked to her just a few minutes ago about the prospects whether or have any chance of passing let's adolescents legends and. Congressman think you re doing next time for talking tests about the marijuana justice. Act your staff just a few meant to gap was telling us that there are almost twice as many co sponsors this go around. Is this an increasingly popular idea in the Democratic Party. Absolutely and I think it's because of the people around the country who this and that our marijuana laws are unjust or unfair. They need really need to be reformed we have over thirty some states that have either legalize decriminalize. Or pass medical marijuana. Initiatives on the balance so it's time silence very proud to introduce the bill today yes with thirty co sponsors. And congressman wrote comment of course is the principal called sponsor and then senator Booker in the senate has introduced the senate bill with I believe seven coast mountains. What ifs you're lying Kennedy chewed those Democrats say this is too much this is too radical. That's really not radical I mean racial injustice. You know that's pretty radical in a country that believes in liberty and justice for olive criminal justice reform not radical I mean when you look at the fact. That more than three times the number of African Americans that they had been incarcerated than a white people as a result of marijuana charges I'm that's outrageous and so. Mass incarceration is radical is Ron so we're transit repair the damage. Of the criminal justice system system and also move forward. To make sure that those who work affected by these unjust laws receive some justice and in the bill we expunge the records of all misdemeanor. Marijuana charges. I noticed that of those co sponsors in the senate five's including Greg Booker are ready for president so it seems as though they are ready to take this argument about federally federally legalizing marijuana. To event to that. The national stage to the presidential campaign do you think this should be a new litmus test for presidential candidates. I'm not. Really for litmus test Saddam for people. Be an educated and informed and really understanding what an agenda for the people really means and part of that agenda is racial justice. And criminal justice reform and so I'm really do light it. That they have embraces it will be talking about it indeed beta unit and making sure we built the critical mass so we can get it passed and signed into law. And if so what does come next is our dignity hearings in the house. Let's hope so we're working as we now as Democrats in the house at least we are in the majority. As time working to get close bounces congressman Thomas working to get co sponsors and so we're gonna build. Support and again this goes back to the people that's going to be the power of the people who voices of the people to make sure they are members of congress sign on to detail. Well congressman thank you again. Congratulations I hear bill today seems like make a lot of headlines thank you thank you very much do you think. You can imagine that those presidential candidates are gonna get a lot of questions about signing on to this legislation. Yep fascinating stuff Mary Alison as you pointed out to couple loved presidential candidates opposing it Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota not signing on their Sherrod Brown of Ohio as well. But pretty fascinating that she frames it as something of of racial justice and all those. Criminal convictions that would. Presumably be expunged by this bill. Yet the big deal and speaking of the presidential race there's two. Possible contenders that I think of on this topic as well there's been a lot of buzz and rumors about Washington's governor Jay insulate. He told CBS just last week that he was gonna make an announcement. In the coming weeks obviously marijuana is legal in Washington State and Colorado's former governor Hickenlooper he has been campaigning he was an Iowa I guess not formally campaigning at him and announcement he's been traveling to those early states. So you have governors from Washington and Colorado these two states and marijuana as party legal. Bringing their message to the national stage as well. And act congressmen that to former congressman that total work of Texas also on that train and rumored to be close to decision I guess he said he's. Made one he's about to tell us about it Sierens so a lot of intense. Speculation about win more Democrats are gonna race Mary Alice thank you so much for that reporting deputy political director up on Capitol Hill. And we will be tracking those new democrats' presumed new Democrats in the presidential race coming soon in the field is getting more crowded. Our great to have you with us here today in a briefing room on Devin Dwyer will be download the ABC news apple be back here tomorrow 3:30 eastern time CNN.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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