Wednesday Briefing: Michael Cohen Faced Donald Trump’s Lawyers

Michael Cohen, center, on his way to court yesterday.Credit…Timothy A. Clary/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Michael Cohen faced Trump’s lawyers

The testimony from Michael Cohen, Donald Trump’s former fixer, is a linchpin in the Manhattan case against the former president. Here’s the latest.

Yesterday, Cohen returned to the stand. Lawyers for the Manhattan district attorney’s office have told the judge that he will be their last witness. On the stand, Cohen described to jurors a $130,000 payment to Stormy Daniels as an effort to influence the 2016 election “on behalf of Mr. Trump.”

After that, he faced Trump’s legal team. In a barrage of questions, they sought to portray Cohen as an opportunist. Trump’s lead lawyer, Todd Blanche, pressed Cohen about his social media posts, his efforts to monetize his connection to the former president, his own criminal history and his desire to see Trump behind bars.

“Do you want President Trump to get convicted in this case?” Blanche asked.

“Sure,” Cohen replied.

Blanche emphasized Cohen’s television appearances and insult-slinging online — all of which he did in defiance of the prosecution’s wishes and at Trump’s expense. He also noted that Cohen maintains a financial interest in attacking Trump, arguing that he cashed in on their feud with a podcast and books.

Analysis: The defense seemed to be trying to portray Cohen as “essentially, Trump’s stalker,” my colleague Maggie Haberman wrote — a man once obsessed with the former president who was now equally obsessed with getting revenge.

What’s next: Trump’s lawyers indicated that they could call an expert witness and that they had not decided if they would call Trump himself.

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