The Tom Arnold saga with Michael Cohen made an abrupt shift to the completely bizarre Friday as Arnold gave a rambling interview to CNN.
A jittery Arnold told CNN’s Poppy Harlow that he was planning on working over the weekend with Cohen, President Donald Trump’s former longtime personal attorney.
“I’m spending the weekend hanging out with Michael Cohen and there’s a lot going on,” Arnold said to the camera, as if addressing Trump directly. “You’ve disrespected him and his family, and there’s a lot going on.”
Arnold, who is working on a new show called “The Hunt for the Trump Tapes” that will investigate rumored recordings of the president, said of Cohen on CNN, “Yeah, he’s got tapes.”
Then, when asked by Harlow if he knew if Cohen was cooperating with federal investigators, Arnold sat in silence on live television for more than 20 awkward seconds without answering.
Harlow wrapped up the interview.
Tom Arnold, after bluntly warning Trump about what Michael Cohen has on the president, refuses to say to @PoppyHarlowCNN on @outfrontcnn whether Cohen is cooperating with the feds. He says he's spending the weekend with Cohen. https://t.co/LVx4Xr3afo
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) June 22, 2018
After the CNN interview, Cohen seemed to have enough of the spiraling speculation over his relationship with Arnold. He denied on Twitter that he had spoken to Arnold about Trump.
“Not spending the weekend together, did not discuss being on his show,” Cohen tweeted, adding the hashtags #done #ridiculous.
Cohen wrote that he had been pictured with Arnold after giving him a selfie during a “chance, public encounter in a hotel lobby.”
Appreciate @TomArnold kind words about me as a great father, husband and friend. This was a chance, public encounter in the hotel lobby where he asked for a selfie. Not spending the weekend together, did not discuss being on his show nor did we discuss @POTUS. #done #ridiculous
— Michael Cohen (@MichaelCohen212) June 23, 2018
Arnold immediately tweeted back to Cohen that his CNN interview was “nonsense.” But then he appeared an hour later on MSNBC’s “The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell”
So you didn’t like me on @CNN either? That makes it unanimous. Get some rest brother. I won’t trouble you anymore. Last think you need is my nonsense. #done #ridiculous oh & whatever you do DO NOT watch @Lawrence @MSNBC https://t.co/J0eAUsL3BU
— Tom Arnold (@TomArnold) June 23, 2018
Arnold told O’Donnell of his relationship with Cohen: “I probably oversold it, but he way undersold it…our relationship.”
Arnold said that Cohen telephone tapes would “100 percent” be part of his show and that Cohen “is the star of an episode of our show…he’s totally cooperating with me.”
The saga began when Cohen retweeted a photo of himself with Arnold that the actor had posted on Thursday with the caption “I love New York” — fueling speculation that the two were working on the TV tape project.
Arnold told NBC News earlier Friday that he met with Cohen at the Lowes Regency Hotel in Manhattan and they discussed the new show.
“We’ve been on the other side of the table and now we’re on the same side,” Arnold told NBC. “It’s on! I hope he (Trump) sees the picture of me and Michael Cohen and it haunts his dreams.”
I love New York pic.twitter.com/J7AJg1HiHo
— Tom Arnold (@TomArnold) June 22, 2018
The idea for the show, which is set to air on Viceland later this year, came about after the release of the “Access Hollywood” tape during the 2016 presidential election, which captured Trump bragging about grabbing women’s genitals.
In announcing the show last month, Vice said Arnold would “draw on his high-profile network of celebrity friends, entertainment executives, and crew members he’s met over more than 35 years in showbiz to dig for evidence on Trump’s most incriminating moments.”
“I say to Michael: ‘Guess what? We’re taking Trump down together,’ and he’s so tired he’s like, ‘OK,’ and his wife is like, ‘OK, (expletive) Trump,'” Arnold told NBC.
Arnold tweeted Friday to clarify that it was him who said he was teaming with Cohen to “take down” Trump and that Cohen was not being paid by Vice. Cohen replied, “Thank you Tom for correcting the record.”
For more than a decade, Cohen was Trump’s personal lawyer and fixer, and he has long been a key power player in the Trump Organization and a fixture in Trump’s political life. He regularly threatened lawsuits against those who could pose a challenge to Trump, and a day before the FBI raided his office and hotel room, he tweeted, “I will always protect my POTUS.”
Last week, Trump said he hadn’t spoken with Cohen “in a long time” and said, “He’s not my lawyer anymore, but I always liked Michael.”
Cohen’s attorney, Guy Petrillo, did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment Friday from The Associated Press. A publicist for Arnold referred an inquiry from The Associated Press to a Vice Media spokesman, who didn’t immediately comment.
Cohen is under investigation by federal officials in New York. His home, office and hotel room were raided by the FBI in April as part of a probe into his business dealings. Investigators are also looking into a $130,000 payment made as part of a confidentiality agreement with porn actress Stormy Daniels, who alleges she had an affair with Trump in 2006, which Trump denies. She is suing both Cohen and Trump in an attempt to invalidate the nondisclosure agreement.
Daniels’ former attorney, Keith Davidson, has sued Cohen and alleges he illegally recorded their telephone calls when Davidson represented Daniels. The lawsuit, filed earlier this month in Los Angeles, provided no proof to substantiate the claims and no details on exactly when the calls were recorded.