Cohen Hearing Proves the GOP are Liars & Hypocrites
It has been a grueling week for Michael Cohen, Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer and self-proclaimed “fixer.” The recently disbarred attorney is facing a third day of testimony Thursday before Congress on Capitol Hill, to be followed in the coming months by a three-year sentence in prison.
Wednesday’s open and televised session in front of the House Oversight Committee was the first real peek general public has had into the legal workings behind Trump-related scandals, and the day delivered all the accusation and tension one would expect. Cohen entered the room as a convicted felon and admitted liar, something the Republican House members were happy to remind him of.
Georgia Rep. Jody Hice defined just what it means to be a liar. “Just to set the record straight, if you lied, you are a liar by definition.” Hice said forcefully. Although the Congressman is correct, it is hard to see how that statement won’t come back to bite the very same GOP members seeking to protect the president, a man proven to be a prolific liar.
Unlike Trump, Cohen now openly admits he was dishonest in prior statements made to Congress and that “blindly” following his former boss led him down a path of criminal activity on par with that of a mob organization. Knowing his credibility is suspect, Cohen brought hard proof to back up his accusations against the man occupying the Oval Office.
Donald Trump denied to a reporter, on camera, that he knew anything at all about the hush money payment made to Stormy Daniels. The check copy Cohen brought with him to Wednesday’s hearing suggests that Trump not only knew about the payment, but personally reimbursed his attorney for the deed. Up on the big screen for all to see was the EKG-like signature we’ve all become so familiar with on the bottom of a check dated in August 2017, well into the president’s official term.
But the “fixer” did not stop there.
Cohen used the publicized event to lob accusations of patterned racism, dishonesty and what many believe is awfully close to proof of Russian collusion, a topic he will be addressing with the House Intelligence Committee behind closed doors Thursday.
If what Cohen said is true, Trump was personally aware that WikiLeaks hacked into the Democratic National Committee email server and that his campaign would benefit from the sharing of that information.
Cohen read from a prepared statement:
“In July 2016, days before the Democratic convention, I was in Mr. Trump’s office [in Trump Tower] when his secretary announced that [longtime Trump adviser] Roger Stone was on the phone. Mr. Trump put Mr. Stone on the speakerphone. Mr. Stone told Mr. Trump that he had just gotten off the phone with [WikiLeaks founder] Julian Assange and that Mr. Assange told Mr. Stone that, within a couple of days, there would be a massive dump of emails that would damage Hillary Clinton’s campaign.”
“Mr. Trump responded by stating to the effect of ‘wouldn’t that be great,’” Cohen said.
And for Trump, who desperately needed to distract the public from the Access Hollywood revelation, it turned out to be pretty great at the time. However, what was then “great” is quickly falling apart at the seams for the president embroiled in more scandal and investigation than any other president in U.S. history. According to Cohen, maneuvers such as these were not abnormal practice for his former boss. Cohen pointedly told Congress: “He is a racist. He is a con man. And he is a cheat.”
It should be noted that Roger Stone, who is also facing charges of witness tampering, obstruction and lying to Congress, denies accusations Cohen made publicly Wednesday. But if Hice’s stance on liars holds true, comments made by Stone should taken with a grain of salt. However, the hearing Wednesday proved that the GOP is willing to tolerate liars when it serves them – hypocrisy at its finest.
As Rep. Adam Schiff and the rest of the House Intelligence Committee push Cohen to answer questions Thursday, specifically related to the Russia topic, pundits and experts are busy analyzing whether Cohen’s statements in just Wednesday hearing are proof enough that Trump broke the law.
Further discussion about whether a sitting president can be indicted has also thickened the air as Trump heads back to Washington D.C. after a failed nuclear summit with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.
Yes, it has been a hard week for Michael Cohen, who is still now taking his lashings from Congress. But whereas Cohen is already paying the piper and will face real prison time for his wrongdoings, Trump has yet to be held accountable for his part. That may quickly begin to change.
But as the world around the president unravels, the country itself is unraveling as well. Many ardent supporters still refuse to acknowledge mounting evidence that Trump was at the very least dishonest in his campaign to become the nation’s leader, choosing willful ignorance over admission that we have been duped. It is understandably uncomfortable – it never feels good when someone you believe in turns out to be more villain than hero.
In the end, it is the people of the United States who are paying the heaviest price, whether they know it or not. It is democracy at risk and as Rep. Elijah Cummings suggested in his closing remarks addressed to Cohen, there will come a time when we have to reckon with our choices:
“We are better than this as a country, we are so much better than this…It sounds like you’re crying out for a new normal, to get back to normal. It sounds to me like you want to make sure that our democracy stays intact. I’m hoping that the things you said today will help us to get back there.”
Rep. Cummings continued:
“When we’re dancing with the angels, the question will be asked, in 2019, what did we do to make sure we kept our democracy intact? Did we stand on the sidelines and do nothing?”