A Glossary of References in Michael Cohen’s Congressional Testimony

Michael Cohen testifies before the House. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Michael Cohen’s testimony to the House Oversight Committee is full of references that may go over the heads of those who haven’t been following this story closely for the last 18 months. Here are some terms you need to know:

Allen Weisselberg

The Trump Organization CFO, who has reportedly been granted immunity by federal prosecutors for his help in their investigation of Cohen, has been called the “guy who knows everything.” Cohen said Wednesday that Weisselberg signed one of the checks reimbursing him for the hush payments to Stormy Daniels and participated in the effort to cover up Trump’s involvement in the scheme.

Buffalo Bills

A notoriously hapless NFL team from Western New York that Trump once tried, and failed, to buy. Cohen said in his testimony that Trump lied on financial statements that he gave to Deutsche Bank in an attempt to get a loan to buy the team.

Catch and Kill

The process of buying the rights to a story and then burying it. Cohen says he worked with AMI, the publisher of the National Enquirer, to execute “several” catch and kill operations on Trump’s behalf.

Clay Higgins

A congressman from Louisiana, who once filmed a selfie video at Auschwitz and was known as the “Cajun John Wayne.” At Wednesday’s hearings, he told Cohen that he hadn’t heard of him prior to the proceedings.

Elevator tape

One of the missing Trump tapes that actor Tom Arnold has been hunting for. Arnold has implied that the tape shows Trump striking Melania Trump. Cohen confirmed Wednesday that such a tape was rumored to exist. He said several people tried to purchase it in a “catch and kill” operation, but the tape didn’t exist. “Mr. Trump would never,” he said.

Job in the White House

Asked in Wednesday’s hearing if he wanted a job in the White House, Cohen said he did not. That conflicts with reporting from, well, just about everybody. That means that the man who is going to jail for lying to Congress appears to have once again lied to Congress.

Karen McDougal

The former Playboy Playmate who claims to have had an affair with Trump.

Lanny Davis

Cohen’s lawyer and, according to Jim Jordan, the top Republican on the committee, the man who orchestrated the Cohen hearing. Davis, a former lawyer and spokesman for Bill Clinton, is also, according to Jordan, “the Clintons’ best friend, loyalist, operative.”

Lynne Patton

An event planner, former Trump Organization employee, and HUD official. Patton, who is black, provided a statement to lawmakers saying that she doesn’t think Trump is a racist.

Mark Meadows

The North Carolina congressman and Freedom Caucus chair has had trouble controlling his emotions during Wednesday’s hearing.


A Swiss pharmaceutical company that paid $1.2 million to have Cohen on retainer. The agreement was supposed to give the company access to Trump administration officials, but Cohen failed to deliver.

Paul Gosar

A hard-right, conspiracy-theory-friendly Republican who lit into Cohen for being a “pathological liar.” During last year’s campaign, six of Gosar’s siblings made an ad for his opponent denouncing their brother.

Pee tape

The most salacious allegation in Christopher Steele’s dossier is that Trump was secretly recorded watching prostitutes urinate on a bed that President Obama had once slept in. Cohen threw cold water on the existence of such a tape in Wednesday’s testimony, saying, “I have no reason to believe that tape exists.”


One of the more high profile allegations from the Steele Dossier is that Cohen visited Prague in the summer of 2016 to meet Russian representatives. “The agenda,” Steele’s source alleged, “comprised questions on how deniable cash payments were to be made to hackers who had worked in Europe under Kremlin direction against the CLINTON campaign and various contingencies for covering up these operations and Moscow’s secret liaison with the TRUMP team more generally.” Cohen said Wednesday, as he’s said before, that he’s never been to Prague.

Rhona Graff

Trump’s longtime assistant and “the gatekeeper at Trump Tower for a quarter century.” Graff came up Wednesday when Cohen testified that she patched through a phone call from Roger Stone to Trump in which Stone shared information about Wikileaks’ plan to release stolen emails.


A website Cohen created in 2011 to gauge interest in a potential presidential run by Trump.

Stormy Daniels

The former porn star who says she slept with Trump in 2006 and recieved a $130,000 payment to keep quiet about it. Cohen says Trump ordered him to make that payment and has presented checks to Congress that he claims are reimbursement.

Tom Steyer

The billionaire environmentalist who has launched a campaign to impeach Donald Trump and, according to Jordan, one of the choreographers of today’s hearing. In a tweet, Steyer denied that he’s paying Cohen.

Trump Tower Moscow

A proposed Trump Organization development in the Russian capital that Donald Trump dreamed of building for decades. One of the reasons Cohen is going to prison is because he lied to Congress about when discussions regarding the project ended. He told lawmakers the discussion ended in January of 2016, but later admitted they continued at least until June of that year.


A Twitter account set up to send horny tweets about Cohen, who reportedly wanted it to “elevate his profile.” At Wednesday’s hearing Cohen said, “It was for fun.”

A Glossary of References in Michael Cohen’s Testimony