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Al Sharpton: Cohen meeting me sends 'a signal' to Trump

The Hill logo The Hill 7/21/2018 John Bowden
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Rev. Al Sharpton's meeting with President Trump's longtime former lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen was not happenstance but rather a planned conversation meant to send a message to Trump, the MSNBC host said.

Sharpton told MSNBC's Ali Velshi that he has a longstanding relationship with Cohen dating back to Trump's time as a real estate mogul in New York, adding that Cohen used to "arrange" meetings between the two men to discuss their differences on social justice issues.

"He was the one to try to get all sides together, usually unsuccessfully," Sharpton said.

The MSNBC host added that Cohen, who ended his years-long relationship as Trump's attorney earlier this year, was "troubled" during his conversation with Sharpton about his business with the president and the resulting media attention.

"I received a text from him saying he wanted to meet," Sharpton said. "We met at a public restaurant and we spoke for over an hour. He was very troubled and felt in many ways cast wrongly."

"And I feel he was saying that he had been abandoned by Mr. Trump," Sharpton continued, adding: "He was adamant that he was opposed to things that Mr. Trump was doing."

Sharpton told Velshi that Cohen's decision to sit down with the MSNBC host known for his work in the civil rights movement was a "signal" to Trump and Robert Mueller's special counsel investigation that he was not in lock-step with his former boss.

"Out of all the people he could reach out to, reaching out to me is sending a signal to Mr. Trump and I think, probably, to prosecutors that he was not one who would not deal with someone who has been fighting Donald Trump for decades on social justice issues," he said.

Sharpton originally tweeted Friday about his meeting with Cohen.

"Just spent an hour w/ Michael Cohen, Trump's former attorney," Sharpton wrote. "I bet you're wondering what we could be talking about! Stay tuned."

"I have known Rev for almost 20 years," Cohen responded. "No one better to talk to!"

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