Michael Cohen Suggests Trump Lied About His Taxes Being Under Audit

“What he didn’t want was to have an entire group of…tax experts run through his tax return and start ripping it to pieces.”

J. Scott Applewhite/AP

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.

As he launched his 2016 presidential campaign, Donald Trump staunchly refused to release his tax returns, despite decades of tradition of presidential candidates releasing them to show voters they had nothing to hide. At the time, Trump fixer Michael Cohen told reporters that Trump was under audit and so, as the president’s attorney, he could not allow the returns to be released.

“I personally will not allow him to release those tax returns until the audits are over,” Cohen told CNN. “There is not a lawyer on this planet that should give that advice—any advice other than what I just gave—to their client short of suffering malpractice.”

Testifying before the House oversight committee on Wednesday, however, Cohen offered a very different explanation. He told Rep. Jimmy Gomez (D-Calif.) that he had asked Trump for copies of the audit to help him talk to reporters about it, but was never able to get them.

“Can you give us any insight into the real reason the president has refused to release his tax returns?” Gomez asked Cohen.

“Statements he made to me…what he didn’t want was to have an entire group of think tanks that are tax experts run through his tax return and start ripping it to pieces, and then he’ll end up in an audit and he’ll ultimately have taxable consequences, penalties, and so on,” Cohen explained.

So, Gomez asked, could one presume that, since he was fearing an audit, Trump was not actually under audit at the time?

“I presume that he is not under audit,” Cohen said.

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate