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February 28, 2019

Rep. Ayanna Pressley Sheds Light on Misdealings of the Trump Foundation

WASHINGTON — Today, at the Committee on Oversight and Reform’s public hearing with Donald Trump’s longtime personal attorney, Michael Cohen, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-07) questioned Mr. Cohen about his knowledge of the misdealings of the Trump Foundation.

During the exchange, Congresswoman Pressley reaffirmed the non-partisan nature of the hearing and the responsibility of Congress to protect the American people from any and all threats to our democracy. Congresswoman Pressley also highlighted the important oversight the Committee has already conducted, including hearings on drug pricing reform, strengthening voting rights, and issuing subpoenas in order to reunite families separated at the border.

See below for an excerpt of the exchange between Congresswoman Pressley and Mr. Cohen:


Congresswoman Pressley:  The point of oversight is for us to pursue the truth and justice for the American people, to understand if lies, deceit and corruption are threatening the American democracy, and indeed our safety.  Mr. Chairman, charities should not be abused as personal piggy banks.  It is both against the law and extremely unfair to charities that play by the rules.

Congresswoman Pressley: According to the New York Attorney General, in March of 2014, Mr. Trump again used the [Trump] foundation to pay $10,000 for the winning bid on another portrait of Mr. Trump that ended up as decor in one of his golf courses in Miami. Mr. Cohen, are you familiar with that transaction?

Mr. Cohen: Yes.

Congresswoman Pressley: Are you aware of any other instances where the Trump Foundation was used to benefit the Trump family?

Mr. Cohen: Yes.

Congresswoman Pressley: Could you elaborate?

Mr. Cohen: So there was a contract that I ended up creating on Mr. Trump’s behalf for a Ukrainian oligarch by the name of Victor Pinchuk and Mr. Trump was asked to come to participate in what was the Ukrainian-American Economic Forum. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to go, but I was able to negotiate 15 minutes by Skype where they would have a camera very much like that one, and they would translate Mr. Trump to the questioner and then he would respond back.  I negotiated a fee of $150,000 for 15 minutes. I was directed by Mr. Trump to have the contract done in the name of the Donald J. Trump Foundation as opposed to Donald J. Trump or services rendered.