Trump airs grievances over Michael Cohen during taped interview before gag-order hearing

Donald Trump spoke with Action News via satellite from New York, where he remains tethered due to his hush-money criminal trial.

ByWalter Perez WPVI logo
Tuesday, April 23, 2024
Action News' Walter Perez speaks 1-on-1 with former President Donald Trump
Action News' Walter Perez speaks 1-on-1 with former President Donald Trump

On Tuesday, the presumptive Republican nominee, former President Donald Trump, spoke with sister station WPVI Action News' Walter Perez via satellite from New York, where he remains tethered due to his hush-money criminal trial underway in Manhattan.

The interview was conducted before he went back inside a Manhattan courtroom for his historic criminal trial on Tuesday.

The former president did not hold back in airing his grievances over one of the key witnesses in the case, Michael Cohen - despite a gag order that requires him not to.

"Michael Cohen is a convicted liar, and he's got no credibility whatsoever. He was a lawyer and you rely on your lawyers. But Michael Cohen was a convicted liar. He was a lawyer for many people, not just me. Then he got in trouble because of things outside of what he did for me," Trump said.

The gag order in effect bars Trump from publicly discussing witnesses, jurors or court employees and is meant to avoid any intentional intimidation.

Judge Juan Merchan is deciding whether to fine Trump for previous violations of that order.

In his exclusive conversation with Action News, the former President also touched on immigration, abortion, and the economy.

"We're not respected throughout the world, our economy is lousy. Our border, when I see people pouring into our country, so many of them are from jails," said Trump.

The former president did not hold back on his thoughts about the accusations and the timing of the trial.

"It's election interference," he said. "They're trying to get Joe Biden elected. And what they want to do is see if they can damage his opponent, but it has the opposite effect."

St. Joseph's University Political Science Professor Dr. Susan Liebell believes the former president is hoping to control his narrative.

"I think a lot of it rides on whether Trump can make this into a persecution instead of a prosecution. Because I think he understands that he has a certain number of supporters who will understand this as a narrative of persecution," noted Liebell.

Action News reached out to the Biden Administration for a response to Trump's comments.

The administration referred us to their newly opened campaign office in North Philadelphia, where State Representative Malcolm Kenyatta spoke to Pennsylvania voters on Biden's behalf.

"This is the place where American Democracy was born. It was the place where we saved Democracy in 2020. And I'm confident this is the place where we save Democracy again in 2024," Kenyatta said.

Trump says he disagrees.

"[Biden is] the worst president in our history," Trump told Perez. "I don't want to say that. I wish he were a great, great president. I wouldn't even be doing this if that were the case, but he's the worst president in our history. He makes Jimmy Carter look like a genius."

The most recent Franklin & Marshall College poll reveals a tight presidential race in Pennsylvania.

The results show Biden with a narrow lead over Trump at 42% compared to 40%.

Of course, Pennsylvania is a battleground state, which could swing either way.