Well this is awkward: All of the times that Team Trump praised Michael Cohen

Life comes at you fast.

Michael Cohen in an elevator at Trump Tower during the presidential transition (CREDIT: Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Michael Cohen in an elevator at Trump Tower during the presidential transition (CREDIT: Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

It’s hard to erase a paper trail — and even harder to obliterate a long string of public comments complimenting someone who was your former ally.

Donald Trump and his advisers are working hard to discredit his former lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen, following reports that Cohen is ready to testify that Trump himself knew about the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting between top Trump campaign officials and Kremlin-connected Russians.

The Trump Tower revelation comes shortly after Cohen released a recorded conversation between himself and Trump where they discussed payments to Karen McDougal, who alleges she had an affair with Trump.

On Thursday, Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani called Cohen a “pathological liar” who shouldn’t be trusted. “He’s been lying for years,” he told CNN’s Chris Cuomo. “There’s nobody that I know that knows him that hasn’t warned me that if his back is up against a wall, he’ll lie like crazy, because he’s lied all his life.”

“There is no doubt in my mind that he is just not credible,” Giuliani added. He likened Cohen’s actions to Benedict Arnold betraying George Washington and Brutus stabbing Julius Caesar.


Trump took a similar tact, tweeting Friday morning that it “sounds to me like someone is trying to make up stories in order to get himself out of an unrelated jam.” Trump notably did not use Cohen’s name (a possible tactic to communicate disrespect toward someone perceived as disloyal) even though it is clear he’s referring to him.

There is a reason Trump and Giuliani are flip-flopping on Cohen so quickly and starkly. If Cohen testifies that Trump knew about the meeting in Trump Tower, the president’s allies need to discredit him to avoid further legal problems.

Cohen may be a persona non grata now — but Team Trump has long advocated Cohen’s honesty, loyalty, and totally-normal legal expertise involving hush money payments.

Cohen used to be honest

In May, Giuliani defended Cohen as an “honest, honorable lawyer.”

During an appearance on the Sunday talk shows in July, Giuliani said he trusted Cohen’s honesty. “I have no concern that Michael Cohen is going to do anything but tell the truth,” Giuliani said.

Cohen used to be a “fine person”

In April, Trump accused the New York Times of “going out of their way to destroy Michael Cohen and his relationship with me in the hope that he will ‘flip.'” He called Cohen “a fine person with a wonderful family” who is a “businessman for his own account/lawyer who I have always liked & respected.”

On June 15, 2018, White House reporters asked Trump in a press gaggle if Cohen was still his friend and lawyer. He said, “I always liked Michael Cohen… No, he’s not my lawyer anymore. But I always liked Michael, and he’s a good person.”

Cohen used to be loyal

The president concluded his Twitter thread by saying that he didn’t see Cohen flipping, “despite the horrible witch hunt and the dishonest media!”

During a 2017 fundraiser, Trump called out Cohen in the crowd, after complimenting his loyalty and legal skills. “I haven’t seen Michael in a month. It’s good to see you, Michael. I miss you, man.”

Cohen used to be a normal and ethical lawyer

In May, Trump assured his Twitter followers that Cohen had been legally allowed to be reimbursed for his payments to Stormy Daniels for her silence regarding her alleged affair with Trump.

The president’s aides have also presented Cohen as a legitimate legal entity representing the president, with the White House referring reporters to Cohen on personal legal matters, and Republican National Committee Chair Ronna Romney McDaniel defending Cohen despite the federal criminal probe that surfaced. Cohen was serving as RNC deputy director at the time. “Michael Cohen has not been charged with anything, he’s under investigation,” she said. “I believe in due process, I’m sure you do too, so we’ll see what happens.” Cohen resigned from the RNC a month later.


Last year, Fox News host and informal Trump adviser Sean Hannity had Michael Cohen on his show, where Hannity told Cohen “I would hire you as my lawyer. You’d keep me in,” when the two men were discussing his use of incendiary language about President Obama. Earlier this year, Hannity dismissed the FBI raid on Cohen as a “fishing expedition.”

Cohen used to be a key part of the Trump campaign

Cohen was important enough to the Trump campaign to be chosen to chair the campaign’s effort at racial outreach. During the 2016 general election, the Trump campaign founded something called the National Diversity Coalition for Trump, which was used to argue that, in the words of one of its leaders, Trump was “not racist, misogynist, sexist or Islamophobic.” Trump and former adviser Omarosa Manginault touted the group on a September 23, 2016 episode of Hannity: “We have a huge diversity coalition called The National Diversity Coalition, founded by Michael Cohen, Darrell Scott, Bruce LeVell.”

Cohen is no longer listed on the website’s “who we are” page, though he was identified as chairman centrally as recently as of two days ago, and had been listed as co-chair since the site’s launch in April 2016. As of Friday, there was a vice chairman but no chairman.

Cohen has said he would “take a bullet” for Trump, and last year told Vanity Fair after an anecdote about seeing how much he could be paid for a tell-all book about Trump, “There’s no money in the world that could get me to disclose anything about them.” He wrote a 2012 article for Newsmax where he called Trump an “American hero,” which was shared by Trump with the comment, “Good article.”

The last time Cohen tweeted about Trump was on April 8, he focused on loyalty.

He shared a CNN link about his role as Trump’s fixer, with the quote “A person who deserves my loyalty receives it,” and the assertion from Cohen that he “will always protect our @POTUS @realDonaldTrump #MAGA.”