Yesterday the much anticipated Congressional testimony of a long time Trump “fixer”…..Michael Cohen…..
For those that had better things to do but still would like to know what Cohen had to say…..
Michael Cohen began his testimony in front of the House Oversight and Reform Committee on Wednesday, and the first words out of his mouth addressed Republican criticism that a known liar, and one who lied to Congress at that, can’t be trusted. “I am here under oath to correct the record, to answer the committee’s questions truthfully, and to offer the American people what I know about President Trump,” he said. He noted he would bolster his words by sharing “documents that are irrefutable and demonstrate that the information you are about to hear is accurate and truthful.” And then he went right at his former boss:
- “I am ashamed of my weakness and misplaced loyalty, of the things I did for Mr. Trump in an effort to protect and promote him. I am ashamed that I chose to take part in concealing Mr. Trump’s illicit acts, rather than listening to my own conscience. I am ashamed because I know what Mr. Trump is. He is a racist, he is a conman, and he is a cheat.”
- “Mr. Trump is an enigma. He is complicated, as am I. He has both good and bad, as do we all. But the bad far outweighs the good, and since taking office, he has become the worst version of himself. He is capable of behaving kindly, but he is not kind. He is capable of committing acts of generosity, but he is not generous. He is capable of being loyal, but he is fundamentally disloyal.”
- The remainder of his opening statement, which was released in advance, touched on what Cohen said was Trump’s efforts to conceal his SAT and college scores, explained that Trump knew in advance about the Wikileaks drop of emails, and discussed hush-money payments to Stormy Daniels. Read highlights here.
- CNN’s Brian Stelter notes that in addition to the cable news networks, ABC, CBS, and NBC are airing the hearing and will continue to do so for several hours, putting it in front of an audience that could hit the tens of millions. “Broadcast’s power has receded in recent years, but it still makes a big statement when the broadcasters decide to interrupt their usual talk shows and game shows for big news events.”
The Guardian reports that there are 42 members of the House committee, each of whom will be able to ask Cohen questions. “It’s going to be a long day,” the paper quips. Read on for highlights.
House Oversight Chair Elijah Cummings dove into one of the 2017 checks Cohen presented as evidence of Trump having reimbursed him for a hush-money payment. “So let me make sure I understand. Donald Trump wrote you a check out of his personal account while he was serving as president of the United States of America to reimburse you for hush money payments to Ms. Clifford. Is that what you are telling the American people today?” Cummings asked. Cohen’s reply: “Yes.”
- Debbie Wasserman-Schultz asked if it was “likely” Trump “had every intent,” as the Guardian puts it, of working with Russia to win the election. Cohen declines to directly answer, citing other investigations into the question, but says, “Mr. Trump’s desire to win would have him work with anyone.”
“Republicans have clearly decided their best path to defend Trump is by attacking Cohen,” observes the Guardian. Jim Jordan, Mark Green, James Comer, and subsequent Republican lawmakers used their five minutes each to highlight Cohen’s financial crimes and lies.
- Cohen said Trump knowingly inflated his assets to get on the Forbes richest people list, that the inflated numbers were used in an effort that could lower insurance premiums, and that they were shared with a bank on one occasion.
Republican Jim Cooper pointed pushed Cohen on why he worked for Trump for such a long time considering all the negative attributes Cohen says he has. Cohen responded with a warning: Cohen said Trump knowingly inflated his assets to get on the Forbes richest people list, that the inflated numbers were used in an effort that could lower insurance premiums, and that they were shared with a bank on one occasion.
Cohen got into it with the GOP’s Paul Gosar, who said to him, “You’re a pathological liar. You don’t know truth from falsehood.” Cohen’s response: “Sir, I’m sorry. Are you referring to me or the president?” Gosar pushed back that this was “my time.” “Are you referring to me, sir or the president?” Cohen pushed again.
GOP Rep. Virginia Foxx pushed Cohen on how his appearance could benefit him. She asked him repeatedly if he could “commit under oath” that he wouldn’t ink a book or film deal in the future. He said no
There you have the breakdown……enjoy and be fearful…..