May 24, 2024

“I felt reassured because I had the president of the United States protecting me. It’s his Justice Department, this should go nowhere,” Cohen said, adding that he decided to remain loyal to Trump after the call.

The short testimony is damning for Trump on multiple counts. First, it reveals that Trump was intimately familiar with the details of Michael Cohen’s hush-money payments to Stormy Daniels, made to cover up an alleged 2006 affair between her and Trump. Second, it’s abundantly clear that Trump likely knew from the beginning that what they did broke the law—and he was willing to use his power as president to try to erase the whole thing.

It’s an unsettling reminder as Trump, the soon-to-be Republican nominee, faces down four criminal cases as he tries to return to the White House. Two of those are federal cases that he could very well try to make disappear by pardoning himself.