Farah Griffin: Cohen denying desire for White House role made ‘my jaw hit the floor’

Former White House communications director Alyssa Farah Griffin said Thursday she was surprised to hear Michael Cohen say in court that he was never pining for a job at the White House during his testimony in former President Trump’s Manhattan criminal trial.

“My jaw hit the floor when I heard him denying that,” Farah Griffin said on CNN, responding to the line of questioning Thursday, when Trump’s former personal attorney and ex-fixer took the stand to testify against him for the third time this week.

Farah Griffin, who worked in the Trump administration, said Cohen never told her personally that he wanted to work in the White House, but she said it was “widely known and believed.”

“I was working for a number of Republican lawmakers at that time, several of whom would go into the administration, including Mick Mulvaney as [Office of Management and Budget] director, and it was widely known and believed. Now, Michael Cohen never told me firsthand, ‘I’m going into the White House, I want to,’” Farah Griffin said.

“But it was widely discussed that he was angling for attorney general or to be White House counsel. That’s, I mean, there’s dozens and dozens of people around Washington who could corroborate that,” she added.

In the Manhattan courtroom Thursday, Trump attorney Todd Blanche repeatedly asked Cohen whether he hoped he would be offered a position in the White House once Trump took office in 2017.

Blanche asked Cohen twice whether he “really wanted” to work in the White House, to which Cohen responded, “No, sir.”

“You hoped that you would be named the White House chief of staff, not just be considered, but be named the White House chief of staff?” Blanche said.

“No, sir,” Cohen responded.

The topic came up during the prosecution’s questioning Monday. Cohen acknowledged that he was disappointed when Trump didn’t include him in the pool of candidates up for the White House chief of staff job after the election.

“I didn’t want the role. I didn’t believe that the role was right for me or that I was even competent to be chief of staff. I just wanted my name to be included,” Cohen said.

He added, “It was more about my ego than anything.”

Cohen also indicated that Reince Priebus, who ultimately got the chief of staff role, offered to Cohen that he could be an assistant general counsel in the White House, but he didn’t want the job.

Cohen is the prosecution’s star witness in the Manhattan criminal case that charges Trump with falsifying 34 business records over a $130,000 hush money payment Cohen sent to a porn actor to keep her quiet about an alleged affair with the then-2016 candidate.

Zach Schonfeld and Lauren Sforza contributed.

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