Trump Once Demanded Barack Obama’s College Grades

Michael Cohen testifying before Congress
Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

In his testimony on Wednesday before the House Oversight Committee, per CNBC, President Trump’s former attorney Michael Cohen referenced letters he wrote at the direction of the president to the College Board and to Trump’s high school and college “not to release his grades or SAT scores.”

In the letters, Cohen threatened the institutions with “civil and criminal actions” in the event that they ever released his grades or scores.

But Trump, as Cohen states, had made similar demands of then-president Barack Obama. In 2011, around the time that Trump was frequently declaring that Obama was not born in the United States, he occasionally also referenced his belief that Obama had not been a good student.

In April of 2011, per NBC New York, Trump questioned how the then-president had been accepted to Columbia University and Harvard Law School.

“I heard he was a terrible student, terrible. How does a bad student go to Columbia and then to Harvard?” Trump said that year. “I’m thinking about it, I’m certainly looking into it. Let him show his records.”

Over a year later, on the eve of the 2012 election, Trump released a YouTube video in which he offered $5 million to a charity of Obama’s choice if the president would release his college records and passport applications. Trump also took credit for getting Obama, in 2011, to release his longform birth certificate. Obama does not appear to have ever responded to the college transcript offer and was re-elected in November 2012.

“The irony wasn’t lost on me at the time that Mr. Trump in 2011 had strongly criticized President Obama for not releasing his grades,” Cohen said in his testimony.

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In his opening statement, Cohen lobbed a long list of charges at the president. He said that he has “suspicions” that the president colluded with Russia, then denounced Trump for allegedly having made racist comments in public settings.

Cohen said in court while pleading guilty last year that he was directed by the president to make hush money payments to women. Before the committee today, Cohen also produced documentation that he was reimbursed for those payments. The former lawyer, who is set to report to prison in May, also shared stories about Trump cheating people in business deals and testified that it was often his personal duty to tell Trump business associates that they would not be paid.

Earlier this week, Cohen was disbarred from practicing law in the state of New York.