NEW YORK — Donald Trump is likely terrified he could become the first American president to end up behind bars once he’s out of office, his former personal attorney, Michael Cohen, said Monday on the heels of a bombshell report about the commander in chief’s finances.
Cohen, who was himself released from prison in July to serve out the rest of his sentence in home confinement, told the New York Daily News that Sunday’s New York Times expose on Trump’s tax returns backs up his long-held claim that the president has committed various types of fraud over the course of his career.
“Based on what I know and what has now been reported, he may soon be the first sitting president to go from the White House straight to prison,” Cohen said as part of a text message exchange.
The New York Times, citing several years’ worth of Trump’s personal tax returns, reported that the president only paid $750 in federal income tax per year in 2016 and 2017. Prior to that, he didn’t pay any income tax at all for a decade, all while claiming enormous business losses and racking up more than $420 million in debt to various creditors, according to the report.
The peek into Trump’s chaotic finances undermines his portrayal of himself as a business genius and raises a plethora of questions about whether he may have broken the law to evade taxes. New York Attorney General Letitia James and Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance Jr., are conducting separate investigations into the matter.
Cohen — whose crimes included issuing an illegal hush payment to a porn star with whom Trump allegedly had an affair — said he has no doubt the president committed tax fraud.
“Trump’s body language is a telltale sign of what is going on inside his head. He looks dazed, confused and lost as there is no legitimate response he can give to clean up this tax mess,” Cohen said, referring to Trump claiming at a Sunday night news conference that the Times report was “totally fake news.”
Beyond potential criminal liability, Cohen said the explosive report pokes a huge hole in Trump’s ego.
“Donald Trump’s entire image and self-worth is based on his inflated net worth,” Cohen said in a text.
Earlier in the day, a Daily News reporter spotted Cohen out for a walk near his Upper East Side apartment.
But the former Trump fixer declined to stop for a brief interview about his former boss’s tax scandal.
Instead, Cohen kept walking toward Central Park and only turned around briefly to say, “thank you,” to the reporter.
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