Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Cohen Testimony, Republican Response

Let's be clear.  Michael Cohen is NOT a nice guy.  He grew up with friends - like Felix Sater - whose parents were part of the Jewish-Russian mafia.  Here's Wikipedia's says about his personal life:
Cohen married Ukraine-born Laura Shusterman in 1994.[17][18][19] Laura Shusterman's father, Fima Shusterman, left Soviet Ukraine for New York in 1975.[19] Cohen has a daughter, Samantha, and a son, Jake.[20] Cohen's wife, according to the Wall Street Journal, is implicated in potential criminal activity, and Cohen's father-in-law is the one who introduced him to Trump according to a Trump biographer.[21][22] Cohen's uncle is a doctor who treated members of the Lucchese crime family.[19] The uncle owned "El Caribe Country Club," known to be frequented by individuals associated with the Russian mafia: Evsei Agron, Marat Balagula, and Boris Nayfeld.[23]
Before joining the Trump Organization, Cohen had purchased several homes in Trump's buildings.[13] A 2017 New York Times article reported that Cohen is known for having "a penchant for luxury"; he was married at The Pierre, drove a Porsche while attending college, and once owned a Bentley.[17]
He was surrounded by people who abused the law for their own benefit, including his boss for ten years, Donald J. Trump.

So, it's understandable that the Republicans on the House Oversight Committee today, have repeatedly hammered him over his reliability as a witness. He was called the first witness before Congress who'd ever been convicted of lying to Congress.  (That should probably be fact checked.) He was even called a pathological liar by one.

House Oversight Committee Rep. Stuebe of Florida complained about how Cohen lied to Congress (he didn't say "in defense of Trump.")  Did Stuebe or any of the Republicans complaining about that dishonest testimony today, raise serious questions about Cohen's truthfulness at the time?

I doubt any did.   I tried to find transcripts of the testimony but I can't.  [Anyone with a link or a copy, please send it to me.]  The closest I got was this:

NBC News report on the October 2017 testimony of Michael Cohen where he lied to defend the president:
"But Rep. Michael Conaway, R-Texas, who is leading the committee’s Russia probe, said Cohen answered his questions to his satisfaction and saw no need to invite him back."
"A Democratic congressman asked Cohen if he had ever used an alias in the past, raising one in particular: Michael Hacking. Cohen explained it was related to a taxi company he had owned — hack in this case being a reference to New York’s yellow cabs.
“They really thought they had him, that this was an alias he used to hack into people’s phones. It was almost too good to be true,” said Republican Rep. Peter King, who as a New Yorker was one of the few present who immediately saw the humor in the exchange. 'It was a moment of levity. I don’t know if the Democrats found it as funny as I did.'”
So these are two cases of Republicans at the time who were 'satisfied' with Cohen's testimony or found levity in the fact that a Democrat was tripped up by a hacking reference.  No outrage though then, about Cohen's testimony, which today they declare to be a disqualifier for him as a witness.  They called this hearing a waste of time when they should be doing far more important stuff.

Considering that the Republicans are standing firm to defend the most prominent serial liar in the world, it's clear to me that their attacks on Cohen are not about his lying, but about his defecting from the Trump team.

Do they mean that everything he's said today is a lie?  What about when he said that Trump would never hit his wife?  What about when he refused to rule out selling his story in books and movies?  What about when he said he had no direct knowledge of collusion between Trump and Russia over the election?  Were those lies too?

All white collar crimes depend on insiders, people who have questionable if not terrible pasts.  It's because they are the people who know what happened.

The real irony in all this, is that the Republicans are furious at Cohen for once lying to protect Trump.  The same sort of loyalty to Trump they were demonstrating at the hearing themselves.  It's only when he stopped defending Trump that they got mad at him.

The afternoon session begins soon.  You can watch it live here:

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