The President’s former lawyer Michael Cohen testified Wednesday that Donald Trump directed him to “threaten” Trump’s high school, colleges and the College Board to not release his educational records.
“When I say conman, I’m talking about a man who declares himself brilliant but directed me to threaten his high school, his colleges and the College Board to never release his grades or SAT scores,” Cohen told the House Oversight Committee during a public hearing.
Cohen provided the committee with copies of a letter he said he sent at Trump’s direction “threatening these schools with civil and criminal actions if Mr. Trump’s grades or SAT scored were ever disclosed without his permission.”
In a copy of a letter Cohen gave to the committee and obtained by CNN, Cohen wrote in May 2015 to Fordham University, where Trump studied before transferring to the University of Pennsylvania. In the letter, Cohen notes that “several media outlets have asked for the release” of Trump’s records and that they turned them down.
“(If) in the event any of his records are released or otherwise disclosed without his prior written consent, we will hold your institution liable to the fullest extent of the law including damages and criminality,” the letter reads. “As you are again no doubt aware, this notice applies to any and all of The College Board’s employees, agents, third parties, vendors and any other person or entity acting for or on its behalf.”
On Wednesday, Bob Howe, Fordham’s assistant vice president for communications, confirmed to CNN that the school received Cohen’s letter in 2015. He added in a statement that the school also “received a call from someone on the Trump campaign as now-President Trump was gearing up for his run” regarding Trump’s records.
“We told the caller that Fordham is bound by federal law, and that we could not/would not reveal/share any records (as we would not reveal any student records) with anyone except Mr. Trump himself, or any recipient he designated, in writing,” Howe said.
Cohen added in his testimony that “(the) irony wasn’t lost on me at the time that Mr. Trump in 2011 had strongly criticized President (Barack) Obama for not releasing his grades,” adding that he also provided the committee with a 2011 news article he says shows that Trump “declared ‘Let him show his records’ after calling President Obama ‘a terrible student.’”
CNN’s Brian Vitagliano contributed to this report.