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Cohen: Trump is ‘Becoming an Autocrat’, Uses Others to Threaten People with Physical Harm

President Donald Trump‘s former attorney believes he is “becoming an autocrat” who uses threats of physical harm and intimidation to silence his opponents. In a hearing before Congress Wednesday, Michael Cohen said Americans should have believed Trump during his presidential campaign when he said he can “shoot somebody on Fifth Avenue” in New York City and get away with it.

“I want to be very clear. He’s not joking. He’s telling you the truth,” said Cohen. “You don’t know him. I do. I sat next to this man for ten years and I watched this back. I’m the one who started his campaign and I’m the one who continued in 2015 to promote him.”

Cohen said he believed in the president’s greatness, and he still believes in Trump’s ability to use his power for accomplishing great things, but his use of force and intimidation tactics to get critics off his back has become “out of control.” The former Trump attorney added his fear was confirmed after Trump began attacking his family members on Twitter.

“He’s sending out the message he can do what he wants,” said Cohen. “It is becoming his country and he’s becoming an autocrat. And hopefully something bad will happen to me, my family, my children so that I won’t be here to testify. That’s what his hope was, to intimidate me.”

But Trump never did the dirty work himself, said Cohen; he would use others to do it. In fact, said the former Trump attorney, most of Trump’s employees knew that they would have to lie for him on some occasion, in order to protect him.

“Everybody’s job at the Trump organization was to protect Mr. Trump,” said Cohen. “Every day, most of us knew we were coming in and we were going to lie for him on something. That became the norm. That is exactly what is happening right now in this country and is happening here in government, sir.”

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