Dissecting the Cohen testimony
Briefly stated, Wednesday was a sad day for our republic. Former Trump personal attorney Michael Cohen answered questions from Republicans and Democrats for almost seven hours. I endured the entire event but have gleaned little new information or understanding about the events that the anti-Trump aficionados claim demonstrate Trump's unsuitability for office. In addition, it is disappointing that no Republicans could offer specific defenses for Donald Trump and chose only to tear apart Cohen. There is plenty to tear apart in Cohen's testimony, by the way.
The summary of the testimony can be boiled down to a few key points. First, Cohen can offer no direct evidence for Russian-campaign collusion. This raises the question of the origin of Mueller's investigation. Cohen is and was always a Democrat, with a short period during which he served the Republican National Committee. No surprise that Lanny Davis is one of his lawyers.
Cohen claims to be an excellent lawyer but admitted to rarely giving Trump legal advice concerning many actions he acknowledged were illegal. One can say this proves that he was a corrupt lawyer. In this regard, his pleadings demonstrate a desire for self-enrichment through misleading and false financial reporting and tax filings. He did not serve his client well, preferring to maintain his position in the Trump sphere. He "lovingly" took shots at the Trump children as a way of hurting his former boss.
Cohen stated conclusively that Donald Trump never asked him to lie to Congress. He admitted that he had no direct evidence of collusion with Russia to abuse the election of 2016. He had a feeling since Donald would do anything to win. However, he had previously indicated that Donald did not expect or intend to win the election.
Michael Cohen indicated that the rumors about a "love child" are false, that he would not harm his wife (in the elevator) and that no video of such existed. He stated that Trump did not abuse drugs, that he has a large ego and bought a portrait for an inflated price.
His information about the payoffs to the two women claiming relationships with Trump is a thorny area. Some would argue that his check proves illegalities. As has been stated before, if a personal reason (keeping his wife from finding out) exists to make the payments, then the election campaign rationale may be irrelevant. One will argue that Trump misled the public about his knowledge of Stormy Daniels and others, but this is not illegal. Cohen did indicate that he sent bills for his work.
Cohen did not adequately demonstrate that he had no interest in a job in the administration. In this, he contradicts the N.Y. federal filings. He did solicit business based upon his connection with Trump as president. He admitted to several contracts. Again, self-benefit is a clear motivator.
Michael Cohen did given testimony to Trump inflating his assets for beneficial banking. He also stated that Trump reduced assets for tax breaks. On this issue, the evidence offered to taxing authorities must be convincing. By the way, this is a tactic that Cohen used illegally. This line of questioning by Ro Khanna, a Democrat, is quite interesting and could be a source for the NYC federal attorney's inquiries. This is the most troubling issue for Trump, but is not an issue from his tenure in office.
The Democrats shamefully used the same week as the Vietnam meetings with Kim Jung-un to embarrass Trump, weakening his negotiating position. They would love to stop him from any success that helps him get re-elected.
Rep. Tlaib attacked Rep. Meadows which Chairman Cummings had to mediate.
The move to impeach Trump was given some boosts yesterday by partisan Democrats, but little in the way of "high crimes and misdemeanors" was demonstrated by the president while in office. The anti-Trump crowd will feel that this hearing was fruitful, but I suspect that most Americans found the hype misleading and hardly worth the effort.
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