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Trump Wished to Use Classified Documents as ‘Leverage,’ Ex-Lawyer Says

Michael Cohen, who previously worked being an attorney and vice president for the Trump Organization, said he believes former President Donald Trump wished to use a number of the classified documents he kept at Mar-a-Lago as “leverage” later on.

The FBI completed a search warrant of Trump’s Florida resort home, Mar-a-Lago, on August 8 to recuperate top-secret along with other classified materials that the former president had extracted from the White House. Although Trump initially floated the chance that the FBI planted the classified documents, his spokespeople later pivoted to state that the files were declassified under a “standing order.” But top former White House staff said they never heard about this order.

Cohen, who is becoming among Trump’s harshest critics recently, discussed the FBI raid and the classified-documents scandal within an interview with CNN on Saturday. While he said a few of the materials were likely kept by the former president out of vanity, the former lawyer thinks he held others for more sinister purposes.

Michael Cohen
Michael Cohen, the former personal attorney to President Donald Trump, said he believes his ex-boss wished to keep classified documents as “leverage.” Above, Cohen departs his Manhattan apartment for prison on, may 6, 2019 in NEW YORK. Spencer Platt/Getty Images

“I believe he would utilize it as leverage,” Cohen said. “There is no other reason.”

The former Trump administration executive said he “could understand” why his former boss wished to keep “the love letters” from North Korea’s Kim Jong Un. Cohen said Trump may show such what to people later on in order to “impress” them.

“So he’ll grab a letter from the queen or grab a letter from [Turkish President Recep Tayyip] Erdogan or from [Russian President Vladimir] Putin or Kim Jong Un, just like the love letters he kept discussing for months and months. OK, he’ll show those, ‘Oh, look what this person said about me. I’m really smart, really handsome, really rich.’ That’s what he’d use those for,” Cohen said.

In a previous interview with CNN on Tuesday, Cohen made an identical assessment regarding Trump’s plans for the classified materials.

“The next they might put him in handcuffs, he’d change and say I’ve the documentation showing, for instance, where our nuclear launchpads are,” the former attorney said. “This is exactly what I really believe: He’d utilize it and say, in the event that you proceed with this particular, I’m letting you know there are 20 of my loyal supporters, you do not know who they’re, but we shall release that information to Russia, to Iran, to whoever it may be.”

Cohen pleaded guilty in August 2018 to eight counts, including campaign finance violations, tax fraud and bank fraud. The charges linked to “hush money” payments to women who said that they had sexual encounters with Trump prior to the 2016 election.

The former attorney, who was simply disbarred, received a three-year prison sentence in December of 2018 but premiered to serve the rest from your home through the COVID-19 pandemic. He continued to become among Trump’s most prominent critics, regularly appearing on cable news to go over his former boss’ scandals.

Trump has denied any wrongdoing linked to the classified documents. He’s got accused the FBI to be corrupt, claiming that the raid on Mar-a-Lago is section of broad partisan “witch hunt” targeting him and his allies. Notably, the existing FBI director, Christopher Wray, is really a Republican and was appointed by Trump in 2017.

Newsweek reached out to Trump’s press office for comment.

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