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Rep. Eric Swalwell: 'There Is At Least One Indictment Waiting For President Trump'


It is rare to see someone turn against a president as dramatically and publicly as Michael Cohen, the man who was President Trump's fixer and personal lawyer for a decade. This was Cohen's third day of testimony before Congress. Yesterday's public hearings stretched on for hours. He testified in private on Monday and again today, answering questions from the House Intelligence Committee. Congressman Eric Swalwell, a Democrat from California, was part of today's hearing. And he joins us now from the Capitol. Thank you for being here.

ERIC SWALWELL: Of course, Ari. Thanks for having me back.

SHAPIRO: Michael Cohen worked with President Trump on a lot of deals that are now under federal investigation, from hush money payments to plans for Trump Tower Moscow. After yesterday's hearing, what were you most keen to follow up on today?

SWALWELL: We wanted to really dive much deeper into what was candidate Trump's knowledge about the Trump Tower in Moscow, which went much longer than Michael Cohen had told Congress. And he said he lied because he was indirectly told to by candidate Trump. We wanted to also know about the Trump Tower meeting with Russians offering dirt on Hillary Clinton where Mr. Cohen thinks that - based on interactions he observed between candidate Trump and his son Donald Trump Jr. - that the knowledge of that meeting was possessed by candidate Trump and then, of course, the Roger Stone phone call.

You had Roger Stone calling candidate Trump in the presence of Michael Cohen, saying that Stone had been in contact with Julian Assange and that there was going to be new emails dumped on Hillary Clinton. And Mr. Trump had said, wouldn't that be great - so really just going into candidate Trump's knowledge, which he has told the public and the American people that he had no knowledge of Russia - no Russia, no collusion, no witch hunt, as he so often says.

SHAPIRO: So really Russia at the center of your questioning. As many Republicans have pointed out, yesterday Michael Cohen publicly said he had not seen evidence of collusion. He said that doesn't mean that there was none. After today's questions, what do you see as the evidence?

SWALWELL: Well, first, Mr. Cohen actually said yesterday - and he has been consistent with this - that he has suspicions of collusion and that he saw no direct evidence of collusion. Now, of course direct evidence and circumstantial evidence are treated the same legally. And he laid out yesterday, you know, many of his concerns from what he saw that circumstantially would show collusion.

Also, Ari, it's really interesting that the Republicans, who want to dismiss everything Michael Cohen says that hurts them, would like to also amplify anything that helps them. You know, you really have to take the good with the bad here. And, you know, I think he came across as very credible. He had the sword of Damocles hanging over him in that he would get a much more significant jail sentence if he lied to Congress.

SHAPIRO: One big question here is whether President Trump is complicit in some of the crimes that Michael Cohen is now going to prison for. Have you seen evidence that convinces you he is?

SWALWELL: I'm convinced that there is at least one indictment waiting for President Trump. If you look at the payoffs to the women during the campaign at the direction of candidate Trump and then making the payments while he was president, it's hard to really believe how any prosecutor would not indict based on that evidence that the president...

SHAPIRO: So the crime there would be campaign finance violations.

SWALWELL: Well, co-conspirator, I think, would be the crime. You know, the violation was by Mr. Cohen. And the co-conspirator would be Mr. Trump.

SHAPIRO: Looking ahead, NPR has learned that your committee plans to call Allen Weisselberg, the CFO and treasurer of the Trump Organization, to testify. What would you hope to learn from him?

SWALWELL: Well, you know, Mr. Weisselberg is a relevant witness for many committees. You know, he knows where the money in the Trump Organization went to and, you know, money that came in. We have a Trump Organization that for a very long time has wanted to do business in Russia and has also had Russians invest in Trump Tower in the United States. The Trump children have said publicly that they have a lot of money flowing in from Russia.

And we know that the Trump Organization's bank, which Mr. Weisselberg would interact with, Deutsche Bank, just as recently as 2017 was fined $300 million for a multibillion-dollar Russian money laundering scheme. So it's to really find out if this president is financially compromised by the Russians.

SHAPIRO: Congressman Eric Swalwell, Democrat of California. Thanks so much.

SWALWELL: My pleasure. Thanks, Ari. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.