In his public testimony before Congress Wednesday, President Trump’s former attorney Michael Cohen will testify that the president made the habit of inflating the value of his financial assets in some instances – such as when he attempted to buy the Buffalo Bills NFL franchise or when seeking to be listed on the Forbes 400 – while deflating the value for tax purposes.
The former attorney for the president, according to an opening statement released before Cohen’s testimony, will also give the House Oversight Committee three years of the president’s financial statements.
“It was my experience that Mr. Trump inflated his total assets when it served his purposes, such as trying to be listed among the wealthiest people in Forbes and deflated his assets to reduce his real estate taxes,” according to the released opening statement, as published by CNBC. The attorney says the inflating and deflating was done in statements to Deutsche Bank, long suspected as the only major bank willing to do business with Trump.
Cohen is scheduled to testify Wednesday before the House Oversight Committee, part of a three-day visit to Washington in which Cohen will appear before Congress prior the start of his prison sentence. Unlike sessions Tuesday and Thursday, Cohen’s Wednesday testimony will be public and nationally televised.
Trump, in 2014, made an unsuccessful attempt to purchase the NFL’s Buffalo Bills following the passing of the team’s longtime owner Ralph Wilson. According to a GQ article three years later, Trump was behind what appeared to be a grassroots scheme for Bills fans to boycott the music of Jon Bon Jovi, the rock star who was also bidding on the team at the time and was rumored to want to move them to Toronto. Area businessman Terry Pegula ended up buying the Bills that year and has kept them in Buffalo.
Deutsche Bank/Trump in spotlight today, from DC: Longtime Trump lawyer Michael Cohen plans to show House Oversight private 2011-13 fin'l statements he says Trump gave to DB to 'inquire about a loan to buy the Buffalo Bills' @rebeccaballhaus @wstrobel
— jenny strasburg (@jennystrasburg) February 27, 2019
The future president made a previous attempt to buy into the NFL in the early 1980s. Trump ended up buying the New Jersey Generals of the upstart USFL, with an eye toward forcing a merger with the NFL which would end up with Trump owning an NFL team. Per The Guardian, the plan failed and the USFL folded.
It’s been argued by some NFL observers, per a 2018 New York Times article, that Trump’s bashing of NFL players, especially during the anthem protest controversy, may have been driven by residual bitterness that he was never allowed into the club of NFL owners.