Sounds like just the trick to improve the poisonous relationship between Trump and Pelosi.
Right now you’re thinking, “How can Democrats possibly trust the testimony of a man who’s headed off soon to federal prison for lying under oath to Congress?” Good question. They’ll find a way!
Especially if he gives the “right” answer to their inevitable first question: “Mr. Cohen, you’ve been convicted for lying to this body about your efforts to build a Trump Tower in Moscow. Did the president encourage you to tell that lie, knowing you’d be under oath?” And of course their second question: “Do you happen to have any audio recordings of him doing so?”
“In furtherance of my commitment to cooperate and provide the American people with answers, I have accepted the invitation by Chairman Elijah Cummings to appear publicly on February 7,” Mr. Cohen said in a statement. “I look forward to having the privilege of being afforded a platform with which to give a full and credible account of the events which have transpired.”
Don’t worry, Democrats aren’t going overboard in trying to hype Cohen’s testimon—
In the interview, Mr. Cummings compared Mr. Cohen’s appearance to that of John Dean, President Richard Nixon’s White House counsel, who in 1973 appeared before a special Senate committee investigating the Watergate scandal in which he implicated himself, top administration officials and the president himself in a cover-up of the 1972 break-in at the Democratic National Committee headquarters.
“This is a watershed moment,” Mr. Cummings said, invoking Mr. Dean, who he said “changed the course of America” with his testimony.
Cohen spent part of his statement at his sentencing blubbering about how he regrets carrying out Trump’s “dirty deeds” and how his “blind loyalty to this man … led me to choose a path of darkness over light.” So, yeah — his testimony promises to be newsy. Soon Pelosi will make Trump a new offer on the wall: Cave right now and re-open the government and we’ll make Cohen testify privately instead of publicly.
I’m curious to see how attorney/client privilege applies when Cohen’s inevitably asked how many mistress hush-money payoffs he arranged for the president in the years before he became a political candidate. Very little of the material seized from Cohen by the FBI was ultimately deemed to be privileged, but it must be that conversations between him and Trump about drafting contracts with mistresses to buy their silence are covered. Privilege couldn’t protect the Stormy and Karen McDougal deals because the feds claim that in those cases Cohen participated in a crime, namely, arranging contributions to Trump’s campaign and hiding them from the FEC. Earlier mistress payoffs from before 2015 wouldn’t have needed to be reported to anyone, though. If Cohen’s asked about them, will he invoke the privilege? It’ll be an odd situation in that he’ll want to tell the truth and burn his former client. But ethically he shouldn’t. Does a man facing federal prison care about that now?
Democrats are going to try to get him to implicate Trump in an impeachable offense, of course. But Judiciary Committee chair Jerry Nadler has set that bar conspicuously high:
— Molly Ball (@mollyesque) January 10, 2019
Cohen’s testimony about Stormy obviously won’t do it. In fact, per the third prong, Cohen’s testimony about *anything* probably won’t do it. His credibility is shot. How could the wider public possibly support impeachment based on anything he says?
Either way, it’s gonna be weird when Cohen tears Trump apart at the hearing and suddenly vaults past Michael “Old News” Avenatti as the left’s new favorite Resistance lawyer. In lieu of an exit question, enjoy two clips from earlier today of new buddies Donald and Nancy lighting into each other. Pelosi thinks yesterday’s White House meeting was a publicity stunt orchestrated by Trump. Trump, very presidentially, compares Pelosi unfavorably to the thieving fascists who rule China. Good day for America.
— CSPAN (@cspan) January 10, 2019
President Trump: "I find China, frankly in many ways, to be far more honorable than cryin' Chuck and Nancy. I really do. I think that China is actually much easier to deal with than the opposition party." pic.twitter.com/fqMigRbE0H
— CSPAN (@cspan) January 10, 2019