Michael Cohen’s visit to Congress Wednesday, Feb. 27 began like a flashback to the Kavanaugh hearings – but with the roles reversed. Twenty-four seconds after committee Chair Elijah Cummings (D-MD) called the House Committee on Oversight and Reform to order, Republicans interrupted. Mark Meadows (R-NC) asked that the hearing be postponed because – in direct violation of the committee’s rules – he and his colleagues weren’t given Michael Cohen’s written testimony until late Tuesday night. Cohen’s advisor, former Clinton lawyer Lanny Davis, was accused by multiple GOP committee members of orchestrating the entire affair, and the whole thing was a hot mess.
Sadly, for all our sakes, the hearing continued.
Lanny Effectively Games the System
The importance of receiving that written testimony as early as possible, and what a handicap it is to be without it, was demonstrated by Cummings straight-away and continued throughout. He summarized the testimony before Cohen even spoke. Republicans, on the other hand, did not have time to vet or challenge anything due to the violation. This led to the nearly absurd result of committee members reading out tweets sent during the hearing to refute testimony, and a black woman fond of Trump presented as proof that the president is not a racist.
“He is a racist, he is a con-man, and he is a cheat.” That’s what Cohen says of Trump. Also that he inflates and understates his property values as it benefits him. The president also supposedly insulted Donald Jr.’s judgment to Cohen and had him pay off Stormy Daniels. What else? Oh yes, Trump also got himself out of serving in Vietnam and didn’t want schools he attended releasing his SAT scores.
Two canceled checks were produced, one signed by President Trump and the other by his son, to reimburse Cohen for the Stormy Daniels payoff. When you find out that the man accused of murder, in fact, overstayed the parking meter instead, what do you do? Double down if you’re a Democrat. Given the total absence of any evidence that Trump was in league with Russians to ensure his own election, or otherwise regarding politics in America, it looks like Stormy, racism, and the ever-popular drumbeat about Trump’s still unreleased tax returns.
Prelude to Prosecution?
DC’s Democrat non-voting member of the House, Eleanor Holmes Norton, did a good job trying to develop evidence against Trump on campaign finance crimes. It’s Trump’s state of mind that could make his actions criminal or not, and she managed to get Cohen to say the election drove his desire to acquiesce to Stormy Daniels’ demands: pay for her silence or face disclosure of their night’s liaison. While hardly dispositive of guilt, it was a blow to Trump’s penal interest to be sure, and one that will yield more hearings. Like manna from heaven for the Democrats, more subpoenas were no doubt being drafted after the hearing. That one of the reimbursement checks came from Donald Trump Jr. puts him in the jackpot as well.
If the president thought there would be any way anyone could think he did not have sex with Stormy Daniels and then agree to her demands for money to stay silent, that must be over now. The good news for Trump is that Cohen said he did not know about any collusion. Cohen denied ever being in the Czech Republic, another lie from the Steele Dosssier. He also debunked the stories about Trump offering Putin an apartment at the never-built Trump Tower in Moscow as a bribe. Instead, it was a gimmick thought up by Felix Sater to induce other Russians to then pay a much higher price per square foot for the privilege of having the head of state as a neighbor. No collusion there. As before, lack of evidence would not, however, stop them from seeing the criminality.
Disgraced former DNC Chairman Debbie Wasserman Shultz (D-FL) earns the medal for most detestable performance from an elected official. After hearing Cohen could offer zero evidence of any “collusion,” she asked:
Do you believe that he [President Trump] would co-operate or collude with a foreign power to win the presidency?
So much for a search for facts and the truth.
The First Thing We Do, Let’s Kill All the Lawyers
Cohen himself is the points winner for overall despicability. As an attorney, it’s hard to say how truly vile it is to see another testify against his client. Like a Doctor giving a patient poison, revealing the confidences and inside information learned as the client’s attorney is against everything we are. That he did so voluntarily means his road to redemption now stretches toward eternity.