Cohen Testimony: Melania Behind ‘Locker Room Talk’

( – Disgraced former attorney Michael Cohen took the witness stand on May 13 to testify against his former boss, Donald Trump. As expected, he appeared to betray his longtime employer and, at one point, admitted that he secretly recorded one of their conversations. Cohen also offered some behind-the-scenes information regarding the Trump campaign’s handling of a potential crisis during the 2016 election cycle.

Manhattan prosecutor Susan Hoffinger started that line of questioning by directing Cohen’s attention to October 7, 2016. She asked if he learned about the now-infamous “Access Hollywood” tape that day. Cohen responded affirmatively, testifying that he received a phone call from Hope Hicks and an email from Steve Bannon regarding the recording.

Cohen said he wrote back to Bannon and asked him to call. Hoffinger asked him why. Cohen said he wanted to strategize with Bannon to make sure the campaign handled that potential scandal properly “to protect Mr. Trump.”

Hoffinger followed up by asking Cohen if he had received a call from Trump the following day. He responded, “Yes.”

The prosecutor asked what Trump wanted. Cohen said Trump wanted him to reach out to his media contacts to get in front of their coverage of the recording. Trump told him “the spin he wanted to put on [the tape] was that this is ‘locker room talk.'”

Trump also told Cohen that his wife, Melania Trump, had come up with the idea of using that strategy. “At least he told me that was what Melania had thought,” Cohen said, adding that they should run with the idea and “use [it] to get control over the story and minimize [its] impact on him and his campaign.”

Taken as a whole, Cohen’s first day of testimony didn’t shed any new light on the prosecution’s allegations against Trump. The “Access Hollywood” tape is old news. The only thing Cohen had to contribute was his confirmation that Melania Trump stood behind her husband and came up with a helpful suggestion for handling the media.

Then again, the former First Lady’s loyalty to Trump isn’t new. The press reported on it long before the New York billionaire launched his presidential candidacy in 2015.

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