Publicly silent, Trump has three words after watching Cohen: 'He's a liar'

President is publicly silent on Cohen sentencing

By JEFF ZELENY, SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT
Copyright 2018 CNN

(CNN) - President Donald Trump's public silence on Wednesday belied his rising fury over longtime lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen, who the President still insists is not telling the truth after he turned against him and was sentenced to three years in prison.

"He's a liar," the President told associates after the Cohen sentencing, the coverage of which he was carefully watching on television from the residence of the White House.

Trump was intentionally silent during his one public event on Wednesday in the Roosevelt Room as reporters pressed Trump for reaction to Cohen's three-year prison sentence and his allegations implicating Trump in federal crimes.

But privately, Trump assailed Cohen as a "liar," one administration official said.

The President used that word repeatedly in conversations, the official said, echoing what he has repeatedly said in public in recent weeks.

The White House also did not comment on Wednesday, but when pressed, an official pointed CNN to a tweet that Trump sent last week, saying it perfectly reflects his feelings.

"He lied for this outcome and should, in my opinion, serve a full and complete sentence," Trump tweeted last week.

Cohen has implicated Trump in a felony, saying he violated campaign finance laws at Trump's direction. Trump has denied any wrongdoing, but the proceedings represented an extraordinary turnabout for Cohen, the first member of Trump's inner circle to receive a prison sentence this year.

"I felt it was my duty to cover up his dirty deeds," Cohen told the court.

Cohen was once one of Trump's closest advisers, working with him at the Trump Organization for more than a decade before becoming one of his most vocal public defenders during his presidential run.

Trump has repeatedly belittled Cohen, his onetime protector, but Cohen may have the last word, as he told the judge: "I will continue to cooperate with the government."

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