Republican lawmakers grilled Michael Cohen Wednesday putting the former lawyer for President Trump and now convicted felon on the hot seat. Cohen was on the defensive attempting to explain his 20-page vehemently anti-Trump testimony that was filled with speculation but provided no proof.
An admitted liar, Cohen said he was repentant for lying but during his testimony he made numerous allegations against Trump and his family without proof of evidence. He also admitted to lawmakers that his cooperation and assistance to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office helped reduce his sentence. Cohen will serve roughly three years in prison, out of a possible 70 year prison sentence.
Every time Cohen tried to dig himself out of his own tarnished reputation, he succeeded in only digging himself deeper, according to Republicans.
One example, was when asked by Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-N.C., if he would decline financial gain from selling his story for a book or movie deal, or run for political office, Cohen said, “no.” Foxx suggested to Cohen that he had not changed and was still motivated by greed. Cohen, who will serve several years in prison, also said he would not commit to donate any financial gains from his conviction to charities.
Cohen’s greed and failure to be truthful was a constant theme with Republican lawmakers. The chorus of frustration regarding Cohen’s speculative testimony grew during the hours long hearing.
Republican members of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee reiterated that Cohen should not be trusted. They questioned him on his conviction for lying to Congress, five counts of tax evasion, filing a false report to a bank and campaign finance violations. Democrats, on the other hand, pushed for any information – no matter how speculative – attempting to connect Trump to Russia.
Cohen: Trump Speaks in a code
Cohen couldn’t provide proof of much of anything but suggested Trump “speaks in a code,” that only those who work for him understand.
Michigan Republican Rep. Justin Amash questioned Cohen, asking him to elaborate more on the Trump Code.
Cohen tried to explain that Trump gives orders by asking questions that aren’t really questions. He gave an example saying for example, Trump would point out his tie and say it’s “the nicest looking tie!” Those that work for him would then say the same.
He could provide no direct evidence of the “code.”
But then said, “he speaks in a code, and I understand the code.”
Roger Stone and WikiLeaks
Cohen then dropped the Roger Stone bombshell, suggesting Stone told Trump about the WikiLeaks dump days before it would happen.
He also suggested that Stone was in direct contact with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, despite the lack of evidence.
Stone has always stated that he never spoke to Trump about WikiLeaks.
Asked if he had proof of this, Cohen said “no.”
Cohen Contends He Never Traveled To Prague
However, Cohen did dispel the multiple stories suggesting that he traveled to Prague, as suggested in the controversial and unsubstantiated dossier.
The dossier, compiled by former British Spy Christopher Steele, suggested that Cohen had traveled to Prague to meet secretly with the Russians.
Rep. Ralph Norman, R-South Carolina, asked Cohen, “Have you ever been to Prague?”
“I’ve never been to Prague. I’ve never been to the Czech Republic,” Cohen answered.
Trump “a racist” Says Cohen, Again, No Proof
Cohen also told Rep. Mark Meadows, R-NC, under questioning that he had no proof that Trump is a racist, as Cohen suggested in his testimony.
Meadows then referred to Lynne Patton, a trusted employee for Trump and guest of Meadows. Patton, who is African-American, submitted her comment saying Trump is not racist.
“You made some very demanding comments about the president that Ms. Patton doesn’t agree with…She says there is no way she would work with an individual who is racist,” said Meadows, who added in his 300 conversations with Trump he never heard a racist comment.
When Meadows asked if Cohen had any proof – a recording or anything – Cohen said “no.”
One Possible Issue For Trump: U.S. Attorney For The Southern District Of New York
Democrat Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Ill, asked Cohen about his final conversations with the president. Cohen said, the last time he spoke to the president was several months after the FBI raided his home and office.
Cohen did not disclose what was said during the meeting. Instead, he told lawmakers, “unfortunately, this topic is actually something that is being investigated right now by the Southern District of New York, and I’ve been asked by them not to discuss, and not to talk about these issues.”
Krishnamoorthi asked: “Is there any other wrongdoing or illegal act that you are aware of regarding Donald Trump that we haven’t yet discussed today?”
Cohen: “Yes, and again, those are part of the investigation that is currently being looked at by the Southern District of New York.”
Cohen did talk in detail about payoffs from him on behalf of Trump to adult film star Stephanie Clifford, AKA “Stormy” Daniels. He also suggested that prosecutors are investigating something connected to Trump but provided no direct evidence.
Cohen Spreads Lies With No Proof
Florida Democrat Debbie Wasserman Schultz asked Cohen the hypothetical speculative question, “In your opinion and experience, would he have the potential to cooperate or collude with a foreign presidency at all costs?”
Cohen said, “Yes.”
She then asks if Trump’s adult children, along with Jared Kushner, were working on building Trump Tower in Moscow during the time of the WikiLeaks dump.
“The company was involved in the deal, which meant that the family was involved in the deal,” Cohen said.
Wasserman Schultz then asked, “If Mr. Trump and his daughter Ivanka and son Donald Jr. are involved in the …. Russian Trump Tower deal, is it possible that the whole family is conflicted or compromised with a foreign adversary in the months before the election?”
“Yes,” Cohen replies.
However, Cohen offers no proof and then suggests that the Trump’s could’ve been compromised by the Russians based on his own assessment.
“Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire”
At one point, Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Arizona, blasted Cohen with a schoolyard chant “liar, liar pants on fire” that appeared to be the theme of the hearing.
“You’re a pathological liar,” said Rep. Gosar. “You don’t know truth from falsehood…How can anybody listen to this pathological person.”
Earlier in the hearing, Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, set the tone. He pounded Cohen on his litany of lies that got the former lawyer convicted. Jordan also asked Cohen about a fake Twitter account. Cohen said a young lady at the firm he worked for set up the Twitter account for him called “Women for Cohen.”
“We were having fun during a stressful time,” said Cohen, who repeated it several times.
Jordan went on to read an excerpt from the court records of the U.S. Attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York which said, “Cohen’s crimes were distant in their harms but bear a common set of characteristics. They each involve deception and were each motivated greed and ambition.”
Cohen also tried to dispel statements that he was jilted when Trump refused to bring him along to the White House. However, sources close to the White House, that have spoken to SaraACarter.com have said that it was widely known that Cohen was very upset about not being selected.
They weren’t the only ones who believed this.
For example, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York said, “[Cohen] expected to be given a prominent role and title in the new administration. When that did not materialize, Cohen found a way to monetize his relationship with the president.”
Cohen sat stoically listening to Jordan.
"[Cohen's] crimes were distinct in their harms but bear a common set of characteristics. They each involve deception and were each motivated by personal greed and ambition."
-US Attorney's Office for Southern District of New York pic.twitter.com/oBQPtfrZD2
— Rep. Jim Jordan (@Jim_Jordan) February 27, 2019