Former Trump attorney Michael Cohen’s meeting on Friday with Al Sharpton was intended to send a signal to the president, the civil rights activist says.
“Out of all the people he could reach out to, reaching out to me is sending a signal to Mr. Trump and I think, probably, to prosecutors that he was not one who would not deal with someone who has been fighting Donald Trump for decades on social justice issues,” Sharpton said in an interview on MSNBC on Friday.
Sharpton and Cohen met at a restaurant for over an hour on Friday morning, shortly before news broke that months before the 2016 election, Cohen secretly recorded a two-minute conversation with Trump regarding Karen McDougal, a Playboy playmate who allegedly had an affair with Trump in 2006.
The Washington Post reported that Cohen suggested purchasing the rights to McDougal’s story from AMI, the parent company of the National Enquirer. AMI paid McDougal $150,000 in August 2016 for her story.
According to The Post, Trump is mostly silent in the recording. At one point he asked Cohen how the payment would be made.
“I received a text from him saying he wanted to meet,” Sharpton said on Saturday. “We met at a public restaurant and we spoke for over an hour. He was very troubled and felt in many ways cast wrongly.”
“And I feel he was saying that he had been abandoned by Mr. Trump,” Sharpton continued, adding: “He was adamant that he was opposed to things that Mr. Trump was doing.”
Sharpton tweeted about his meeting with Cohen shortly after it ended.
“Just spent an hour w/ Michael Cohen, Trump’s former attorney,” Sharpton wrote. “I bet you’re wondering what we could be talking about! Stay tuned.”
Cohen confirmed the meeting, writing that “I have known Rev for almost 20 years. No one better to talk to!”
Trump blasted his former attorney in an early-morning tweet on Saturday.
“Inconceivable that the government would break into a lawyer’s office (early in the morning) – almost unheard of. Even more inconceivable that a lawyer would tape a client – totally unheard of & perhaps illegal,” he wrote. (RELATED: ‘Perhaps Illegal’: Trump Rails Against Cohen For Taping His Private Conversations)
The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan is reportedly investigating Cohen over his business dealings and possible campaign finance violations. Cohen’s payments to women are reportedly a part of the investigation. Just before the 2016 election, Cohen paid $130,000 to Stormy Daniels, an adult film star who also allegedly had an affair with Trump in 2006.
The FBI raided Cohen’s home, office and hotel room on April 9.