President Trump on Thursday called his former lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen a “low-level” employee who “did more public relations than he did law.”
“He did very low-level work,” the president told Fox News. “You would see him on television and he was okay on television.”
Trump also said he regretted hiring Cohen years ago, calling it a “mistake.”
“I thought he was a great guy. I thought he was really a nice guy,” Trump said. “He was really supportive, and I liked him, and he was a lawyer, and because of that I did it. And you know what? In retrospect, I made a mistake.”
The president’s comments come a day after Cohen was sentenced to three years in prison for a slew of federal crimes, including bank and tax fraud and campaign-finance violations, related to hush-money payments made to two women who claimed to have had affairs with Trump, then the Republican nominee for president.
“They put that on to embarrass me,” Trump said of court filings connecting him to the campaign-finance violations, before claiming that Cohen was responsible for making sure the payments were legal.
“He’s a lawyer,” Trump said. “A lawyer who represents a client is supposed to do the right thing. That’s why you pay them a lot of money.”
Cohen became a target of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation and ended up cooperating with the probe, presumably in hopes of receiving a lighter sentence.
The attorney called his time working for Trump “a personal and mental incarceration” and said the president’s insult that he was “weak” was correct because “time and time again, I felt it was my duty to cover up his dirty deeds.”
“I never directed Michael Cohen to break the law,” Trump wrote on Twitter earlier on Thursday. “Cohen was guilty on many charges unrelated to me, but he plead [sic] to two campaign charges which were not criminal and of which he probably was not guilty even on a civil basis.”