Costello, a Trump ally, is trying to undercut Cohen in the money probe

A key Trump associate testified before a grand jury on Monday and tried to discredit Michael Cohen’s earlier testimony in a hush money probe that could lead to the former president’s first indictment.

Speaking to reporters after two hours of testimony, Robert Costello said he told the truth about the New York County district attorney’s star witness — that he couldn’t be trusted.

“If they want to go after Donald Trump, if they have solid evidence, so be it. But Michael Cohen is far from solid evidence,” said Costello, Cohen’s former legal counsel. “He’s completely unbelievable.”

Cohen, who was one of Trump’s lawyers at the time of the payment to adult film actress Stormy Daniels, told Ari Melber on MSNBC that “a lot of the things he said were untrue.”

Costello, who represented Trump associates Rudy Giuliani and Steve Bannon, told reporters after his testimony that he met with Cohen in April 2018 when he was being investigated for several potential crimes, one of which related to payments to Daniels. Now the focus is on Trump. Daniels has said she had an affair with Trump, which Trump has denied. Cohen paid $130,000 to remain silent in the final days of the 2016 presidential election.

In 2018, Cohen pleaded guilty to federal campaign violations in connection with the payments, which he says he made at the request of Trump, who has since repaid them.

When Costello spoke to Cohen in 2018, Costello told reporters that Cohen paid for it himself and that it wasn’t Trump’s idea. “Michael Cohen did this on his own,” Costello said.

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“I was like, ‘Why would you do that?’ He said: ‘I wanted to keep this a secret. A secret even from my own wife,'” Costello said, noting that Cohen had taken out a loan to make the payments. She said Cohen told her: “I don’t want Melania [Trump] to know. I don’t want my wife to know.

Costello added that he had turned over more than 300 emails covering his discussions with Cohen and notes of his discussions with federal prosecutors who decided not to charge Trump in the case.

Cohen dismissed Costello’s post-testimony comments, saying their conversations were never as detailed or involved as he made out.

“I don’t know what he’s talking about. He’s making up too many stories here,” Cohen said, accusing Trump of using a strategy of trying to “muddy the water.”

Cohen added that prosecutors from the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office had summoned Costello to Lower Manhattan Court to rebut his testimony, but said he did not need to.

Trump called out Costello’s upcoming testimony on his social media site, Truth Social, on Sunday. A very important witness to go before the New York City Grand Jury.

Costello said Monday that Trump did not ask him to testify before a grand jury and that he did so because he felt he had an “ethical obligation.”

Costello’s interactions with Cohen were previously detailed in former special counsel Robert Mueller’s case. Report Potential obstructions by Trump and his allies in the 2016 election. After Trump tweeted on April 20, 2018, that Cohen would never “flip” and testify against him, Costello reached out in a supportive email saying he had spoken to Giuliani about him.

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“The conversation was very positive,” Costello told Cohen[.] You ‘love’ … they are in our corner. … sleep well tonight[]You have friends in high places,” the Mueller report said.

A grand jury appears to be in the final stages of its investigation.

Trump said on social media over the weekend that he expected to be arrested on Tuesday, and he called on his supporters to protest.

New York police officers installed metal barriers and cameras in the courthouse Monday morning.

A small group of demonstrators arrived in Lower Manhattan on Monday evening for a demonstration organized by the Young Republicans of New York.

The organization’s sergeant-at-arms, Troy Olson, scoffed at a potential charge against Trump: criminal falsification of business records. “After six, seven years of armed organization, one man against all the cultural media institutions of American life, is this the best they can come up with?” Olsen said. “After this he will gain more lead in opinion polls.”

Vish Burra, the group’s executive secretary and director of operations for Representative George Santos, said, “I think a lot of Americans would be upset if Trump were arrested, and that disappointment and that outrage would be justified.”

The rally was sparsely attended, where members of the media outnumbered the roughly two dozen protesters, likely the result of intimidation by Trump supporters, one demonstrator said.

“President Trump has a huge silent majority, more than you know. They’re afraid to speak out,” said longtime MAGA protester Susan Miller. “They’re afraid Antifa will beat them up. They’re afraid they’ll lose their jobs. They’re afraid their landlord will evict them or they’ll be arrested.

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