President Donald Trump refusal to give explicit illegal orders was given a closer look on MSNBC's "The Beat" with Ari Melber on Tuesday.
"We're back with 'State of Mind' and we're digging into something that was so apparent in Michael Cohen's testimony. The Donald Trump code, a system for communicating -- even potentially criminal instructions, allegedly -- through nods, but never putting those orders in writing overtly," Melber noted.
The question was raised in the context of whether Trump suborned perjury when talking to Cohen prior to his initial testimony to Congress, for which Cohen has been convicted of lying.
The host played a clip from Cohen's testimony before the House Committee on Oversight and Reform.
"Mr. Trump did not directly tell me to lie to Congress, that's not how he operates," Cohen testified.
"In conversations we had during the campaign -- at the same time I was actively negotiating in Russia for him -- he would look me in the eye and tell me, 'there's no Russian business,' and then go on to lie to the American people by saying the same thing," Cohen explained. "In his way, he was telling me to lie."
For analysis, Melber was joined by Tony Schwartz, who coauthored with Trump the 1987 blockbuster book, Trump: The Art of the Deal.
Cohen explained how he had also had similar experiences with Trump.
"You understand, Tony, right? You understand?" Trump would reportedly tell him.
"It was literally a wink, because he lived this public life, even when he wasn't really a public figure, which is, how is this going come back at me? Where's this going to play? And so he was always playing the angles," he continued.
"This is what a grifter does," Schwartz noted. "This is what a mafia boss does."
"And his style was to be aware of what the impact might be and not to put himself too far -- put his toe right up to the edge, but not put it in," he added.