“She says that as a daughter of a man born in Birmingham, Ala., that there is no way that she would work for an individual who was racist,” Mr. Meadows said.

“Ask Ms. Patton how many people who are black are executives at the Trump Organization,” Mr. Cohen said.

The answer, he said, was zero.

The exchange was typical, signaling that if Mr. Cohen was chastened some by the near-term prospect of jail time, he had hardly surrendered his swagger.

Repeatedly, he was asked to swear off any book deals or other ventures that could allow him to profit off his time with the president. Mr. Cohen declined to make any promises.

“No,” he said.


“I will not do that, no.”

“So, you don’t commit to changing your ways, basically,” asked Representative Virginia Foxx, Republican of North Carolina, “because you want to continue to use your background as a liar, a cheater, a convicted liar, to make money?”

“That’s going to get me a book deal and a movie deal?” Mr. Cohen said. “I don’t think so.”

Yet that did not make him untrustworthy going forward, he said — a tension that persisted until the hearing’s end, the unwritten cable news chyron for every screen in the building.

A liar was speaking. But was the speaker lying?

“You don’t have to take my word for it,” Mr. Cohen said at one point, his body turned toward lawmakers he accused of doing Mr. Trump’s bidding, as he once did. “I don’t want you to.”

Just look at the documents, he said. And, perhaps, in a mirror.

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