After a week of revelations that suggest Michael Cohen may have turned on Donald Trump, Rudy Giuliani, the President’s current lawyer, argued that Trump’s former attorney wasn’t credible and has “lied all his life.”
That’s a stark reversal from what Giuliani once said about Cohen, whom he described as truthful not long ago.
In May, Giuliani said that Cohen was “honest,” and just a few weeks ago he said he didn’t think Cohen would lie, saying, “I think he is going to tell the truth.”
Giuliani’s shifting statements on Cohen
The criticism Giuliani is now leveling at Cohen follows a series of reports that have led the President to lash out at his former lawyer.
First, CNN obtained a recording of a conversation between Cohen and Trump from 2016 discussing how they would buy the rights to a Playboy model’s story about an alleged affair. Then, citing sources with knowledge of the situation, CNN reported that Cohen claimed Trump knew in advance about the June 2016 meeting in Trump Tower in which Russians were expected to offer up dirt about Hillary Clinton to his campaign.
Following the report on the Trump Tower meeting, Giuliani told CNN’s Chris Cuomo on Thursday that Cohen has “been lying for years … he’s lied all his life,” and said he doesn’t “see how he has any credibility.” Giuliani also said that Cohen has been described as a “pathological liar.”
As recently as a few weeks ago, however, Giuliani said, “I do not expect that Michael Cohen is going to lie,” during an interview with CNN’s Dana Bash in response to a question about whether he thought Cohen will flip. “I think he’s going to tell the truth as best he can,” Giuliani added.
Giuliani was even more explicit in his praise of Cohen in May, saying that Cohen is “an honest, honorable lawyer” when ABC’s George Stephanopoulos asked if he was concerned that Cohen, who is under criminal investigation by the US attorney’s office in Manhattan, would cooperate with prosecutors.
He similarly told ABC News in early July, “I have no concerns that Michael Cohen is going to do anything but tell the truth.”
How the dynamic between Trump and Cohen changed
In April, Trump said in a tweet that Cohen is “a fine person … who I have always liked & respected.”
But after the release of the Trump-Cohen recording, Trump criticized his former attorney, saying on Wednesday, “What kind of a lawyer would tape a client? So sad!”
On Friday, Trump denied knowing of the controversial 2016 Trump Tower meeting in advance, and suggested that Cohen was not being truthful. “Sounds to me like someone is trying to make up stories in order to get himself out of an unrelated jam,” the President tweeted.
Cohen’s tone has also shifted. He once said that he would “take a bullet” for Trump. Earlier this month, however, he said that his loyalty is first to his family and country, not the President.
Jay Goldberg, another former Trump lawyer, argued Friday on CNN’s “Erin Burnett Out Front” that Giuliani “immeasurably” damaged his case against Cohen with the sudden shift in tone.
“No defense lawyer would say that,” Goldberg said.
CNN’s Marshall Cohen and Eli Watkins contributed to this report