President Donald Trump, through his lawyer, threatened his schools and colleges saying they should never release his grades and SAT scores, Michael Cohen testified Wednesday.
"When I say conman, I’m talking about a man who declares himself brilliant but directed me to threaten his high school, his colleges, and the College Board to never release his grades or SAT scores," Cohen, Trump's former personal attorney, said in his testimony to the House Committee on Oversight and Reform. Cohen was recently disbarred.
Cohen provided the committee with a copy of a single letter, on Trump's letterhead, that he addressed to the president of Fordham University in New York in May 2015.
The letter to Rev. Joseph McShane threatened the university with legal action if they released Trump's records to the media without his consent.
The letter also demanded McShane "permanently seal" Trump's records and to inform Cohen once it was done.
Cohen ended the letter with a P.S., saying, "Trump truly enjoyed his two years at Fordham and has great respect for the University."
"We did receive that letter: the University received a call from someone on the Trump campaign as now-President Trump was gearing up for his run. We told the caller that Fordham is bound by federal law, and that we could not/would not reveal/share any records (as we would not reveal any student records) with anyone except Mr. Trump himself, or any recipient he designated, in writing," a Fordham spokesperson told BuzzFeed News.
"Fordham received a follow-up letter from one of Mr. Trump's attorneys summarizing the call and reminding us that they would take action against the University if we did, in fact, release Mr. Trump's records," the spokesman said.
In 2011, Trump criticized President Barack Obama for not releasing his grades.
"The irony wasn’t lost on me at the time," Cohen said.
Trump at the time had called Obama a "terrible student" who did not deserve to attend prestigious universities like Columbia University and Harvard.
Trump, who was then considering a bid for the Republican presidential nominee, questioned Obama's ability — without offering any proof — to study at Columbia and Harvard and demanded him to release his school records.
"I heard he was a terrible student, terrible. How does a bad student go to Columbia and then to Harvard?" Trump said in an interview with the Associated Press. "I'm thinking about it, I'm certainly looking into it. Let him show his records."
In multiple tweets in 2012, Trump slammed Obama for not releasing his school records and even offered to give $5 million to a charity if Obama released them.
Cohen also called Trump a "racist" in his testimony. "He told me that black people would never vote for him because they were too stupid. And yet I continued to work for him," Cohen said.
Trump attended the private Kew Forest School in Queens, New York, before he was sent to the New York Military Academy at 13 owing to "behavior problems," the Washington Post reported in 2015.
He graduated from the academy in 1964 and was admitted to Fordham University in the Bronx, New York. After two years there, he transferred to the University of Pennsylvania, an Ivy League school.
Trump was reportedly admitted to Penn owing to a "friendly" Wharton School admissions officer who was an ex-classmate of Trump's older brothers, according to the Post.
"Sorry, but we do not comment about student records," a spokesperson for Penn said.
The College Board also declined to comment.
The White House and the Trump campaign didn't immediately return requests for comment.