Michael Cohen testifies

I’m watching Michael Cohen’s live testimony before the House of Representatives, and you can follow it, along with commentary, at the New York Times site. What he has to say is chilling, and it’s not over yet.

I can tell the party of any Representative questioning Cohen simply by the loudness of their voices (the Republicans are yelling at him), and whether they accuse him of being a career liar who can’t be believed now. (This is not a good tactic for the Republicans, as his assertions can be checked.) They also accuse him of saying things simply so he can make money be writing a book or selling movie rights. It’s the last ploy of a party desperate to shore up a crumbling President.

Cohen has even more to lose by lying now, as this is not a plea deal. What he’s saying, and it makes Trump look even worse than we thought possible (and that’s hard to do!), sounds credible to me.

The truth will out, and maybe Trump will too. Our president is a delusional maniac, a liar, and an incompetent at governing, and, though few readers think he’ll be removed, I have my fingers crossed.

127 Comments

  1. Mike Anderson
    Posted February 27, 2019 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    The truth will out, and maybe Trump will too.

    I don’t think this will sink Trump. The GOP continues to cover for him – they won’t do the right thing like they did in the 70s with Nixon. The level of cowardice is astounding – remember this is the party has no problem denying climate science and kowtowing to the gun lobby.

    • Christopher
      Posted February 27, 2019 at 11:57 am | Permalink

      Cowardice and hypocrisy, though with occasional, perhaps accidental honesty. At least one republican admitted that they would have raged against Obama had he declared a national emergency like tRump did, of course this chickenhawk still voted the party line against the dems trying to terminate tRump’s wall. I don’t believe there is ANYTHING tRump could do or be guilty of that would result in his party’s revolt against him. Not one damn thing.

      • Posted February 27, 2019 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

        Christopher – sadly, I have thought this for a long time. It’s hard to count the breathless editorials and opinion pieces that have proclaimed that “this will be Trump’s undoing”, and of course, it has not come to pass. Washington is full of prevaricators and flat-out liars, and Trump is simply the best of the best.

    • Torbjörn Larsson
      Posted February 27, 2019 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

      It is called “Trump derangement syndrome” now, to focus on the problem instead of the solution.

      I hear Joe Biden could be trying for the next election, which puts a good candidate on the table for the first time (and it’s about time)! Maybe now US has a chance to come out of the next selection in better shape than today (but of course the superpower is slowly weakening over time as the world is improved).

      • rickflick
        Posted February 27, 2019 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

        Maybe a silver lining of Trumpism is that other countries will ramp up there creativity and skills at international leadership and strengthen the fight against Authoritarianism.

  2. Bruce Cochrane
    Posted February 27, 2019 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    At this point, it’s not at all clear where things are headed – a bit like when John Dean testified to the Watergate Committee in the summer of 1973. Two things to remember, however. First, Dean was a much better and smarter lawyer than Cohen. Second, his testimony was ultimately validated by the Nixon tapes.

    Part of me wants to see Trump gone ASAP, but another part says let’s try to hold on for two more years (and unite behind whomever the Democrats end up nominating), thus avoiding the nightmare of a Pence presidency. He’s a full bore homophobe and creationist who was rescued by Trump from a failing governorship in Indiana.

  3. Posted February 27, 2019 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

    Testimony bottom line: Trump is a lying, conniving racist cheater.

    But everyone already knows that.

    • wiseape108
      Posted February 27, 2019 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

      Indeed. I’m surprised this even made the news.

      • Mark
        Posted February 27, 2019 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

        That Cohen is a witness to and can document Trump’s criminality, especially while POTUS, is what made the news.

      • Posted February 28, 2019 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

        The media needs a reason to cover it. Everyone knows that Trump lies as easily as he breathes, but if the media cover that fact, they’ll be labeled hopelessly biased, and they’ll feel the pain of that attack – unless they have a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) of Journalism that says they’re supposed to cover this.

        The testimony provides the SOP.

        Now you, being an intelligent and rational person, might point out that the media will be attacked for liberal bias no matter what, 24/7, with no variations. True, but this is a slight change from earlier days, where the intensity of attacks actually varied based on what the media did. You’re not a journalist (proof: you’re an intelligent and rational person, as just mentioned). Journalists have been conditioned in that earlier era, like rats in a Skinner box. They have yet to adjust.

    • GBJames
      Posted February 27, 2019 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

      But her emails!

      • XCellKen
        Posted February 27, 2019 at 9:07 pm | Permalink

        And don’t forget Benghazi

        • Forse
          Posted February 28, 2019 at 6:52 am | Permalink

          Well, actually, exactly

      • Posted February 28, 2019 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

        And abortion. Don’t forget the right’s desire to control other people’s reproduction!

  4. BobTerrace
    Posted February 27, 2019 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

    +999999999999999999

  5. Jon Gallant
    Posted February 27, 2019 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

    I caught a few bits of Cohen’s testimony on the radio, and all that strikes me is the following. Trump’s phony inflation of asset evaluations, almost certainly involving bank fraud, is no surprise! It is all of a piece with Trump University, the Trump Foundation, and all the rest. Everyone, especially in NYC, has known for decades that Trump is precisely this kind of con man, as Mitt Romney accurately put it. This is why writers of “The Simpsons” cartoon show could joke about it 19 years ago. What is astonishing is, well, everything that has happened since the GOP nominated this bunco artist for the presidency.

    Many years ago, I was active in a political campaign that was, it turns out, way ahead of its time. We were running for a state office, and described our candidate as a Warren G. Harding Republican. At the time, plans for a new “domed” stadium were just a gleam in the eyes of developers, so we proposed to name it the Teapot Dome Stadium.

    • Jim Swetnam
      Posted February 27, 2019 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

      Seriously, your candidate was a “Warren G. Harding Republican,” and you were proud of this?

      • Jim Swetnam
        Posted February 27, 2019 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

        Oh1 You are kidding, right?

        • Jon Gallant
          Posted February 27, 2019 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

          In 1968, a small group of us disciples of Jaroslav Hasek stole the Repub nomination for Wash. State Commissioner of Public Land. Besides identifying our candidate as a Warren G. Harding Republican, we offered the following platform: (1) conversion of the Boeing Co. and the University of Washington into wilderness areas; 2) ceding all of eastern Washington to Idaho, and if they refused, invading to make them take it; (3) dividing the city of Walla Walla into the two polities of Walla and of Walla, on opposite sides of the new border with Idaho.

          We received 200,000 votes in the election.

  6. randallschenck
    Posted February 27, 2019 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

    Cohen provides documented proof of the payoffs to Stormy Daniels and the fact that Trump lied about all of that. They are not allowed to talk specifically about the Russia thing, that is to be in closed session.

    Most of the Republicans on committee continue to play cover for Trump and act like complete idiots. Pretty disgusting performance by them as grown men act as 4 year old babies.

    Cohen also was witness to the telephone call that Trump got from Roger Stone regarding the drop of Emails thought Wikileaks.

    • Forse
      Posted February 28, 2019 at 7:14 am | Permalink

      JC: “(This is not a good tactic for the Republicans, as his assertions can be checked.)“
      Oh? How, exactly? They are unwitnessed assertions. No way to check.
      Cohen says Trump is “racist” because he says many African countries are “shitholes”. So what? (And true).
      Cohen says T said blacks make “poor lifestyle choices”. So what? (And true).
      Dershowitz says we mistake “wrong” and “sleazy” for “illegal”.
      There’s nothing illegal in what Cohen claims T said. Wrong and sleazy, sure.
      This is another bust.
      (Disclosure: Were I American I would have voted HC)

      • GBJames
        Posted February 28, 2019 at 7:19 am | Permalink

        A) You don’t know if they were unwitnessed or not.

        B) Unwitnessed assertions can be checked by other evidence. Phone records, document trails, etc.

        C) It matters if the president is racist regardless of whether racism is itself illegal.

  7. Historian
    Posted February 27, 2019 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

    The Republicans have spent all their time discrediting Cohen. We all know that Cohen has been a despicable person, not only what he did for Trump, but his activities as a tax evader. There is nothing new here. The question of importance is whether Cohen is lying now. Cohen has no motivation to lie. If he does so, he can get additional prison time. So, I believe him.

    Several legal commentators have pointed out that if only people who never lied before were allowed to testify, many criminals, particularly in organized crime, would never be convicted because the testimony against them would be offered by liars.

    It is my opinion that in the coming months more evidence will come to light about the nefarious activities of Trump’s business.

    • randallschenck
      Posted February 27, 2019 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

      I think the Mueller report will be coming soon but we do not know how well it will travel. It goes to the Attorney General who has said he may edit or whatever and then decide what goes on to the congress and or the people. At the same time the congress may attempt to overrule the Attorney General and subpoena the report. So it looks like there may be a fight on this.

      Meanwhile many parts of this investigation will be carried on by other offices of the federal investigation. I believe the southern district of New York are the ones working the money payoffs to the ladies. Some think they may attempt action on Trump? I should also say that Trump Jr. and the Financial guy will be in trouble over the payoffs because they signed some of the checks.

    • Jim Danielson
      Posted February 27, 2019 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

      Republicans are also telling everyone exactly what kind of people Trump surrounds himself with and employs.

      Liars and crooks.

    • Posted February 28, 2019 at 6:53 am | Permalink

      On another forum I visit, a certain troll who seems to be a Trump supporter has spent most of the time Cohen was making his testimony pointing out that he was a lying lawyer.

      As soon as Cohen said he was not aware of any collusion between Trump and the Russians, his word was suddenly believable.

      • Mike Anderson
        Posted February 28, 2019 at 10:21 am | Permalink

        That’s a common position among Trump fans:

        “Michael Cohen is a chronic liar and can’t be trusted!!!”

        also:

        “Michael Cohen admits no evidence of collusion!!!”

        It’s a fascinating phenomenon.

  8. bapu@arekapudi.com
    Posted February 27, 2019 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

    Agree. I have been only in US (Chicago City) for the last 45 years, but have not seen Republican Party going so low. I mostly voted democrats even though I gave up any party affiliation since 1987 after Chicago Democrats and Republicans united to defeat Mayor candidate Harold Washington in 1983 and 1987 because he was more independent and black. Corrupt former big mayor made Chicago Elections non partisan to appease Chicago big money Republicans to escape Democrat Label. 50% of Chicago Aldermen did time as criminals and so Democrat/Republican Governors.

    Bapu

  9. Ken Kukec
    Posted February 27, 2019 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    The only Republican member of the committee who’s asked Cohen a pertinent question about anything that Trump has done is Justin Amash, a Michigan libertarian and never-Trumper. The rest are looking only to foul the air.

    • Mike Cracraft
      Posted February 27, 2019 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

      Right. These guys are Trump’s attack dogs and are out for blood. The latest polls show that 80+ percent of the GOP are more enamored of Trump than ever. The GOP is now a putrescent shell of its former self.

    • Posted February 27, 2019 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

      “What truth does Trump fear most?” Great question, and should be any decent persons mantra.

      • Posted February 27, 2019 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

        Eh? What happened to that apostrophe?

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted February 27, 2019 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

        “What truth does Trump fear most?”

        An honest physical? 🙂

      • XCellKen
        Posted February 27, 2019 at 10:04 pm | Permalink

        “What truth does Trump fear most?”

        I think Stormy Daniels already revealed that truth

  10. rustybrown
    Posted February 27, 2019 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    Cohen is a proven serial liar. His modus operandi since cooperating with Mueller is to dish as much dirt as possible on Trump. This has all the elements of a show trial with precious little concrete evidence to go along with the allegations and expectations. The timing of this farce is also highly suspect as it coincides with very important peace talks with North Korea.

    Just like all of the other countless “bombshells” that were supposed to destroy Trump for the last couple of years this will turn out to be another case of Lucy yanking the football away from Charlie Brown.

    • randallschenck
      Posted February 27, 2019 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

      You really should put the cool-aid down for a few minutes. How many crooks do you think are in jail because of testimony from proven liars. Just all them, that’s all. You should save those republican talking points for TV.

      • rustybrown
        Posted February 27, 2019 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

        I think you meant “Kool-Aid”. It’s funny you should invoke that for someone who’s just making judgments based on evidence. Aren’t you getting a little tired of the endless talks of “the walls are closing in” for Donald Trump only to see no such thing happen? Cohen just repudiated the idiotic Buzzfeed story about Trump directing him to lie to Congress. That was supposed to be a huge damaging bombshell several weeks ago, remember? It seems to me you’ve been drinking the Kool-Aid for two years but ignoring the bitter aftertaste when you’re proven wrong.

        • randallschenck
          Posted February 27, 2019 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

          If it feels like you are being picked on here, don’t worry about it, you are. You can only support the guilty so long and time catches up to us all. Trump would be going to jail already if he was not sitting in the chair the Russians help him with. Most of the people who worked for Trump are going to jail and you will continue to hang in there with all that loyalty that makes no sense. Maybe you will get a pardon?

          • rustybrown
            Posted February 27, 2019 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

            Yikes. Now I’m going to jail as a Russian conspirator? Is my name in the envelope you hold within your hand?

            • Ann German
              Posted February 27, 2019 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

              You are seemingly taking great comfort from the knowledge that our “president” is a crook and a liar. Of course his closest associates are crooks and liars . . . that’s who crooks and liars associate with. It is puzzling to me why anyone would want to celebrate pussy grabber’s ability to escape accountability solely due to the flaws of one of his confederates. Have you noticed that our nation and our democracy are being destroyed by this grifter?

              • rustybrown
                Posted February 27, 2019 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

                “Have you noticed that our nation and our democracy are being destroyed by this grifter?”

                No.

              • Posted February 27, 2019 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

                Rusty, the rest of the world certainly notices.

              • rustybrown
                Posted February 28, 2019 at 12:14 am | Permalink

                So you speak for the rest of the world? Interesting.

            • XCellKen
              Posted February 27, 2019 at 10:09 pm | Permalink

              “Have you noticed that our nation and our democracy are being destroyed by this grifter?”

              No.

              Were you on the OJ jury ???

        • XCellKen
          Posted February 27, 2019 at 10:06 pm | Permalink

          And John Gotti was the Teflon Don ™…

          Until he wasn’t

    • Mark
      Posted February 27, 2019 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

      “very important peace talks with North Korea.”

      So much for ANY credibility you had.

      • rustybrown
        Posted February 27, 2019 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

        So it’s your view that denuclearization peace talks with NK are notimportant?

        • Mark
          Posted February 27, 2019 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

          Not as important that the POTUS is a criminal thug.

          Not to mention that he’s an incompetent boob who couldn’t negotiate a deal for a box of Girl Scout cookies without propositioning and/or groping the seller.

          • rustybrown
            Posted February 27, 2019 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

            TDS

            • Mark
              Posted February 27, 2019 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

              Tiny Dick Syndrome – yes, that’s one reason he goes for the underage girls.

              • XCellKen
                Posted February 27, 2019 at 10:12 pm | Permalink

                My computer keyboard is very glad that I wasn’t drinking anything when I read that comment LOLOLOL

        • Ann German
          Posted February 27, 2019 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

          It is a fantasy to think that Kim is going to “denuclearize” NK. Having nukes is the only reason anyone even knows the name of the little assassin.

          • Jim Danielson
            Posted February 27, 2019 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

            Trump said after his last meeting with NK that they had an agreement for NK to denuclearize. Then NK said there wasn’t.

            But I’m sure Trump’s supporters believe Trump’s own words are fake news. At least when they disagree with Trumps new own words.

        • Saul Sorrell-Till
          Posted February 28, 2019 at 5:22 am | Permalink

          It’s rather odd to me that someone as apparently unperturbed by the details of the Cohen hearing would spend so much time arguing about them on this website.

          Might I suggest that perhaps – just perhaps – you’re not quite as sanguine about all this as you want us to think? It’s just a thought.

          As for whether talks on denuclearisation are important…I think we’ve all concluded, after two years of hot air from Trump, and no movement whatsoever(besides America massively scaling back its support for South Korea), that no, denuclearisation peace talks with NK are not important, at least not when conducted by a man whose bargaining tactics amount to passing the NKeans a hand-written ‘I luv Kim’ letter and coyly smiling at the floor.
          Maybe if someone who wasn’t an internationally-derided buffoon with zero credibility took over they might gain some significance in the public eye, but as of now they’re about as important as any Trump publicity stunt, which is to say not at all.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted February 27, 2019 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

      “His modus operandi since cooperating with Mueller is to dish as much dirt as possible on Trump.”

      You angling for a spot in the White House communication shop, dude? ‘Cause they’re always looking for someone willing to defend the indefensible, another Kellyanne or Huckabee-Sanders or that giddy geek, Hogan Gidley.

      Your statement above is demonstrably false — Cohen had four or five opportunities in his testimony so far to take a free, cheap shot at Trump regarding other misconduct, yet on each occasion he desisted. That’s usually among the most telling indicia of veracity.

      Is there a single FACT that he’s testified to that you can dispute with evidence?

      • rustybrown
        Posted February 27, 2019 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

        First, let me point out that jibes like “you should put the cool-aid (sic) down” and “You angling for a spot in the White House communication shop, dude?” are in themselves extremely tired tropes from your political camp so I don’t think they’re quite the zingers you intend them to be.

        Second, my statement is not false. But you’re being so unspecific that it’s impossible to answer you.

        • Posted February 27, 2019 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

          Let’s all lay off of the one-on-one fights, shall we? And remember that people should not dominate a thread, as per the Roolz.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted February 27, 2019 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

          OK, let’s break it down, rustybrown:

          – Is there anything in Cohen’s testimony regarding the Stormy Daniels’s hush-money payment you dispute?

          – Is there anything in Cohen’s testimony regarding National Enquirer‘s catch-&-kill of (and Trump’s effort immediately before the election to purchase) Karen McDougal’s story that you dispute?

          – Is there anything in Michael Cohen’s testimony regarding Trump’s negotiations over a Trump Tower Moscow deal from 2015 through the summer of 2016 that you dispute?

          While we’re at it:

          – Do you dispute that Russian military intelligence hacked into the computers of the DNC and John Podesta, and disseminated the information so hacked through Wikileaks, to assist Donald Trump during the 2016 presidential election?

          – Do you dispute that Russian military intelligence conducted an active measures/malign influence internet campaign (as alleged in this indictment brought by the Special Counsel’s office) to help Donald Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign?

          And, finally:

          – Do you dispute that Donald Trump repeatedly LIED about each of the above matters during and since his 2016 presidential campaign?

          • rustybrown
            Posted February 27, 2019 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

            “Is there anything in Cohen’s testimony regarding the Stormy Daniels’s hush-money payment you dispute?”

            Didn’t watch it. But do I think Trump paid off a floozie who was blackmailing him over a one night stand? Yeah, I think it’s likely. Big deal. If true, seems like he paid her out of his own pocket. *Yawn*

            As for your other two questions about today’s testimony, as I said I didn’t watch any of it. Is there something incriminating you want to highlight?

            For your remaining questions about Russia (what this entire affair is supposed to be about), I’ll restate what I’ve said before: Russia meddled in the 2016 election in a similar fashion to the way Russia and the US has been meddling in each others elections for decades. In fact, every country with the means to do so tries to influence another country’s election if it’s to their benefit. Nothing new under the sun. Why is 2016 so unique to you?

            • Ken Kukec
              Posted February 27, 2019 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

              “Didn’t watch it. But do I think Trump paid off a floozie who was blackmailing him over a one night stand? Yeah, I think it’s likely. Big deal.”

              I’d ask whether this is a matter of ignorance or apathy, but the answer seems to be: you don’t know, and you don’t care. 🙂

              • rustybrown
                Posted February 27, 2019 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

                Ok, Ken, if it’s even proven to be true, can you explain why Trump paying off a blackmailing porn-star with his own money before he was elected to office should be the focus of our national attention?

              • Mike Anderson
                Posted February 27, 2019 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

                Whenever the president breaks the law it gets national attention. That’s just the way our country works.

              • GBJames
                Posted February 27, 2019 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

                He was paying for it during 2017, Rusty. While he was in the White House. It was a criminal act.

                But then he could shoot someone on 5th Avenue and it probably wouldn’t end your support.

              • rustybrown
                Posted February 27, 2019 at 9:58 pm | Permalink

                @GBJames,

                Believe it or not, some American voters can distinguish the severity between paying off an extortionist bimbo and murder.

            • Ken Kukec
              Posted February 27, 2019 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

              … the way Russia and the US has been meddling in each others elections for decades.

              Is there another instance in which a hostile foreign power has hacked into one party’s headquarters (and tried to hack into our voting system) and then used it, while the opposing party cheered the hostile foreign party on? ‘Cause I missed that.

              Would you be as sanguine if Russia hacked into and cleaned out the US treasury? Or is it only the integrity of American democracy you don’t give a shit about?

              • rustybrown
                Posted February 27, 2019 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

                Your prose is purple but if I get your drift, yes, there are many more examples of election interference far more grievous than 2016.

                Your inference (if I’m reading it right) of Trump “cheering on” a “ “hostile foreign party” is quite funny. In my opinion, that description is debased from reality.

              • Posted February 27, 2019 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

                You must have tuned into a different station than the rest of us during the 2016 election. Trump has nothing but praise for Putin and Russia. He still won’t say much against them. The only times he comes out against Putin and Russia is with things over which he has no control. If Trump makes a decision regarding Russia, it always seems to go in Putin’s favor. No one knows why … yet.

              • Posted February 27, 2019 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

                Rusty’s argument is just more of the false equivalences that we hear from Trump and his supporters. It’s a common thread that runs through all their arguments. Whenever Trump accuses someone of doing something bad, you can be sure it is also something he’s done. Deep down I am sure he knows he’s a cheat, a liar, and an unconvicted criminal. He can only live with himself by constructing a world in which everyone else is as bad as he is. His followers have picked up on that and dismiss every argument against Trump with some version of “everyone does it”.

              • Ken Kukec
                Posted February 27, 2019 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

                See here and here.

              • rustybrown
                Posted February 27, 2019 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

                @Ken

                Here 1: You don’t know how to take an off the cuff joke.

                Here 2: Trump announcing news already known to the public.

                Do you have a point?

              • rustybrown
                Posted February 27, 2019 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

                Paul, It’s very tired fake news that Trump has been soft on Russia. Look at the latest developments in Venezuela. Is his stance there in Russia’s favor as you claim?

              • Posted February 27, 2019 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

                I’m sure that we have yet to find out Trump’s angle on Venezuela. My guess is that its mostly others in his administration that are pushing the Venezuela effort. Trump simply hasn’t figured out a way of killing it yet without being blamed for being soft on Russia. I have faith he’ll find a way. Perhaps it is just that Maduro hates Trump and the US and that bothers him. Trump loves dictators but not ones that are publicly against him. Of one thing we can be sure: Trump is not motivated by the humanitarian issues in Venezuela.

              • Ken Kukec
                Posted February 27, 2019 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

                Russian military intelligence didn’t take it as a joke, rustybrown. As the indictment I linked to above sets out, they began trying to hack into Hillary’s account the very same night — July 27, 2016 — that Trump made his “if you are listening” request.

                Or is that just one more in an extraordinarily unfortunate series of coincidences that has plagued poor Donald Trump?

                Someday the scales will fall from your eyes, rb, the same as they have for everyone else whom Donald Trump has played for a mark. Sooner rather than later, I hope.

              • Posted February 27, 2019 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

                Trump does have a sort of brilliance. He’s figured out if you communicate your corrupt desires publicly, it is less likely to be seen as conspiracy. It’s all just business as usual.

                Another example of his brilliance is when he disagrees with his advisers. We who study Trump closely know that he comes to the meetings with his mind made up and isn’t really listening to his advisers. On the other hand, it is not unreasonable for a President to disagree with his advisers. Of course, when this happens with other presidents it results in a deep policy discussion, further research, and some kind of compromise policy. Trump hides behind the fact that no one else is in those meetings where he just ignores what they say.

                Trump has spent his whole life hiding his corruption. He is very, very good at it.

              • rustybrown
                Posted February 27, 2019 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

                Ken,

                If Trump was really in bed with Putin, why, oh why, would he have issued his orders to hack into her account in a public press conference in front of the whole world?

                Don’t you think a private line with Putin might have been a tad more prudent?

                Seriously dude, answer that question.

                Sheesh. I’m sorry. Your version of events has Trump conspiring with Russia on camera in front of billions of people. That’s insane.

              • Mark R.
                Posted February 27, 2019 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

                Can’t respond to any specific thread, so we’ll see where this lands.

                Rusty said:
                …if I get your drift, yes, there are many more examples of election interference far more grievous than 2016.

                You don’t even know what happened in 2016, so this claim is gibberish. In 2018, North Carolina, Florida and Georgia are good examples of election interference by Republicans. That’s after 2016, so what about before? Watergate? Again, you can’t compare an unknown to past instances (whatever they may be).

                As to your claim that Trump cheering on a hostile foreign party is debased from reality, I can only respond: projection. He has a love affair with Kim Jung Un for one, he said it himself “they fell in love”. He also invited Juterte to the White House, because he had a “very friendly” phone call.

                I see that you keep flaunting your ignorance of Cohen’s testimony. You just spout emotional bs and continue to stymie in willful ignorance.

                I actually don’t know why I waste my time with your asinine comments. I’ll have to ponder that. Maybe I’m entertained by the cult-minded rubes that Trump has wrought.

              • Ken Kukec
                Posted February 27, 2019 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

                @rustybrown:

                I didn’t take Trump’s Russian entreaty seriously (at the time, anyway). But that doesn’t matter; the crucial point is that the Russians did, as demonstrated by their immediate effort to satisfy his request.

                In any event, the focus on “collusion” misses the point. It’s beyond question that Putin and the Russians endeavored to help Trump in the election, and that he welcomed their assistance — all while inexplicably promising to improve relations with Russia, including by the lifting of the Magnitsky sanctions that throttle their economy, and while repeatedly lying through his teeth to the American people about his contacts with, and his proposed $300 million business deal pending in, Russia.

                That, should appall any right-thinking US citizen with a due regard for American democracy.

              • Posted February 28, 2019 at 11:02 am | Permalink

                Yes, that’s it in a nutshell. Rusty can dance like hell but I don’t see how he can avoid any of this short of putting his hands over his eyes and ears. I also don’t see how he could make a “both sides do it” argument either. No president, at least in recent times, has done anything like this.

              • rustybrown
                Posted February 27, 2019 at 9:56 pm | Permalink

                Ken,

                “I didn’t take Trump’s Russian entreaty seriously (at the time, anyway). But that doesn’t matter; the crucial point is that the Russians did, as demonstrated by their immediate effort to satisfy his request.”

                You’re delusional. By your account nobody, including you, took Trump’s mocking, public riff seriously but Putin did and immediately whipped into action THAT DAY and orchestrated a hack on DNC emails?

                Hillary’s secret, private, illegal email server scandal was public knowledge for MONTHS but it took an extemporaneous joke from Trump in front of the international press to make Putin straighten up in his chair and scream “Vladimir! Commence hacking on comrade Trump’s request Immediately!”

                I’ll just stop right there and point out how batshit crazy that is.

        • Gordon Davisson
          Posted February 28, 2019 at 3:24 am | Permalink

          “Second, my statement is not false. But you’re being so unspecific that it’s impossible to answer you.”

          Your statement is false. To be clear here, your original statement was:

          “His modus operandi since cooperating with Mueller is to dish as much dirt as possible on Trump.”

          There was at least one point in his testimony where he specifically defended Trump, while discussing the catch-and-kill tactic for suppressing damaging stories. I can’t find a video of full transcript of the section, but here’s an excerpt from a Daily Mail story that mentions it:

          ‘The story goes that he struck Melania while in that elevator, because there’s a camera inside,’ Cohen said under questioning, before declaring about the supposed hidden cameras: ‘I’m not so sure – actually, I’m certain it’s not true.’

          And ‘I don’t believe Mr. Trump ever struck Mrs. Trump, ever,’ he said, and the man he served for a decade would not ‘ever do something like that.’

          Note that he didn’t merely say that there’s no such tape, or that Trump didn’t actually hit Melania, but that based on his knowledge of Trump, he would never do something like that.

          That’s a positive statement about Trump’s character. And it contradicts your claim that he was just dishing “as much dirt as possible on Trump.”

          • GBJames
            Posted February 28, 2019 at 7:01 am | Permalink

            He defended Trump in two other statements during the hearing, as well. Once was regarding rumors of a “pee tape”, which Cohen said didn’t exist. The other time was when offered a chance to accuse Trump of collusion with Russia. He specifically declined to do so.

            • Posted February 28, 2019 at 11:21 am | Permalink

              But why should Cohen know if a pee tape exists or not? If I were Trump and had participated in a pee incident in Russia, I would not admit it to anyone and hope it never surfaced. There’s no way that Cohen can know for sure that one doesn’t exist, even if Trump told him that.

              • GBJames
                Posted February 28, 2019 at 11:25 am | Permalink

                He can attest to the best of his knowledge, which is what he did.

              • Posted February 28, 2019 at 11:32 am | Permalink

                Sure. My point was that we can still hope for a pee tape regardless of Cohen’s testimony.

          • rustybrown
            Posted February 28, 2019 at 10:56 am | Permalink

            This is really a silly minor point in my opinion but since several of you are making such a big deal out of it let me clarify. When I said “His modus operandi since cooperating with Mueller is to dish as much dirt as possible on Trump”, I was simply noting that the many negative things Cohen has been saying about Trump FAR outweigh any positive things said about him since cooperating with Mueller, which is a 100% accurate observation. In no way did I mean to imply that every single utterance from Cohen has been anti-Trump, especially when they could be perjurious to himself.

            I thought that was obvious.

    • Posted February 28, 2019 at 7:01 am | Permalink

      The timing of this farce is also highly suspect as it coincides with very important peace talks with North Korea.

      Wasn’t the North Korea summit announced after the dates for Cohen’s testimony were set? IOW: something is highly suspect but it isn’t the timing of Cohen’s testimony.

      Anyway, given how well the summit has gone, Trump might be glad of the distraction.

  11. Posted February 27, 2019 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

    While the articles for impeachment of Nixon were being drawn up, there were various public statements by Democrats and Republicans that ring true today. This from Wikipedia:

    Democratic Representative Walter Flowers of Alabama: “I felt that if we didn’t impeach, we’d just ingrain and stamp in our highest office a standard of conduct that’s just unacceptable… This is something we just cannot walk away from. It happened, and now we’ve got to deal with it.”

    Republican Representative M. Caldwell Butler of Virginia: “For years we Republicans have campaigned against corruption and misconduct. … But Watergate is our shame.”

    Republican Representative Lawrence Hogan of Maryland: “After reading the transcripts, it was sobering: the number of untruths, the deception and the immoral attitudes. By any standard of proof demanded, we had to bind him over for trial and removal by the Senate.”

    I like this one. Representative Charles Rangel from New York: “Some say this is a sad day in America’s history. I think it could perhaps be one of our brightest days. It could be really a test of the strength of our Constitution, because what I think it means to most Americans is that when this or any other President violates his sacred oath of office, the people are not left helpless.”

    • rickflick
      Posted February 27, 2019 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

      It’s quite a shame that those standards of accountability have vanished. In some ways this is a low point in the modern history of the US. I hope this doesn’t presage a general decline to the point that it cannot recover. Representative Elijah Cummings closed the hearing with some quotable uplift, but I’m still very uncomfortable.

  12. CAS
    Posted February 27, 2019 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

    The Democrats were too polite to point out that in terms of the number of documented lies, Trump is more than an order of magnitude ahead of Cohen. So I guess we should doubt the biggest liar the most to be fair.

  13. rustybrown
    Posted February 27, 2019 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

    Cohen testified he’s never been to Prague.

  14. Mark
    Posted February 27, 2019 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

    BUT THE BOOK DEALS! WHAT ABOUT THE BOOK DEALS?! PLEASE! SOMEBODY! THE BOOK DEALS!

    • rickflick
      Posted February 27, 2019 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

      Many of the Republican committee members will likely retire with book deals. What’s the big deal?

      • merilee
        Posted February 27, 2019 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

        The book deal thing was clearly a diversion.

  15. merilee
    Posted February 27, 2019 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

    Let’s see if my gravatar has reappeared…

    • rickflick
      Posted February 27, 2019 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

      Woof!

      • merilee
        Posted February 27, 2019 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

        😼meow

  16. Posted February 27, 2019 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

    The GOP trying to discredit Cohen is meant for the general public. No one can prosecute anything based solely on Cohen’s testimony as he is now a convicted liar. From a practical point of view, Cohen is only good for leads that can be followed up and independently corroborated, as well as juicy stories that may ring true with the public regardless of his lying.

    If impeachment comes down to public opinion on what we know so far, Trump is safe. Everyone except Rusty Brown already knew about his racism.

    • Mark
      Posted February 27, 2019 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

      “meant for the general public.”

      Well, at least for the GOP Faux News base.

  17. merilee
    Posted February 27, 2019 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

    Very moving final statement from Elijah Cummings. My brain is sore after 7 1/2 hours.

  18. Ken Kukec
    Posted February 27, 2019 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

    Seemed to me AOC went about her questioning like a little worker bee, just the way she shoulda.

    • Mike Anderson
      Posted February 27, 2019 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

      AOC was quite good, wasn’t she? Focusing on actual crimes, getting leads to follow up on, and laying the groundwork for getting Trump’s tax info.

      Link: https://www.washingtonpost.com/video/politics/rep-alexandria-ocasio-cortez-questions-michael-cohen/2019/02/27/1f075010-8c28-4ef5-ba08-fb5de588164e_video.html

    • merilee
      Posted February 27, 2019 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

      Yes, AOC was very good and
      focussed. I was afraid she might go apeshit. The top Repub to Elijah’s right was really nasty, and kept interrupting Cohen.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted February 27, 2019 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

        Ohio congressman, and member of the right-wing loon Freedom Caucus, Jim Jordan, the ranking Republican on the House Oversight Committee.

        He’s the one who’s turned as blind an eye to the crimes of Donald Trump, as he did to the sexual molestation of his charges when he was an Ohio State wrestling coach.

        • merilee
          Posted February 27, 2019 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

          Oh, an all-around nice guy😬

      • Saul Sorrell-Till
        Posted February 28, 2019 at 8:30 am | Permalink

        I thought one of the more mental bits of the whole thing was when the none-more-tone-deaf GOP wheeled out a black woman as a prop for their argument that Trump couldn’t be racist.

        Ilhan Omar, for all her failings, did well in pointing out how nauseating that moment was, especially since it came from a rancid birther, who in 2011 talked about sending Obama ‘back to Kenya or wherever’.

        • rickflick
          Posted February 28, 2019 at 9:58 am | Permalink

          I noticed that. They brought in a black woman who was placed standing just behind the seated senator. It had the distinct appearance of a slave being sold at auction. Simply pathetic.

          • Posted February 28, 2019 at 11:29 am | Permalink

            I wonder what was going through her head? She didn’t look at all happy.

            • GBJames
              Posted February 28, 2019 at 11:46 am | Permalink

              Less happy today. I’m sure she’s taking a lot of heat for allowing herself to be so used.

  19. alexander
    Posted February 27, 2019 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

    Just a question: If you call someone a “rat,” are you not implying that the rat tells the truth?

  20. Sarah Lawson
    Posted February 27, 2019 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

    Did I hear Cohen say that Trump went ahead with his Russian deals because he didn’t think he would be elected? He certainly campaigned like someone who didn’t want to be elected. He was alienating everybody in sight, and his performance during the debates with Hillary Clinton was imbecilic. I was dumbfounded that anybody had voted for such a specimen.

    • rickflick
      Posted February 27, 2019 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

      As was I. But, it all goes back to the deep resentment from voters in the middle of the country. They felt left out of the money lane( even if they are actually doing well). The idea was – send in a bumbling, bulldozing, disruptor, and see if anything changes.

      • Ann German
        Posted February 27, 2019 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

        And don’t forget he was white and male.

  21. Michael Fisher
    Posted February 27, 2019 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

    sub

  22. rickflick
    Posted February 27, 2019 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

    Cohen’s opening statement is pretty damning of Trump:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y9PuSd7EhVE

  23. Jon Gallant
    Posted February 27, 2019 at 8:48 pm | Permalink

    A number of Republicans showed integrity and devotion to institutional standards of governance back in the Watergate days (e.g., Senators Howard Baker and Lowell Weiker). But
    the disappearance of institutional standards from the GOP began before Individual-1 took it over. It was already evident in the Senate Republicans’ treatment of President Obama’s last nomination to the Supreme Court.
    So current GOP behavior can be traced to Senator Mitch McConnell directly. Perhaps there are social factors that underlie the decline of standards generally, and I suspect that some of these factors can be blamed on both Left and Right. In a way, Trump & Co. have simply merged a kind of ’60s iconoclasm with old-fashioned American corruption. I found this symbolized, during the 2016 election campaign, by Trump’s fondness for wearing a baseball cap, like Michael Moore.

  24. Forse
    Posted February 28, 2019 at 7:17 am | Permalink

    [accidentally posted above]
    JC: “(This is not a good tactic for the Republicans, as his assertions can be checked.)“
    Oh? How, exactly? They are unwitnessed assertions. No way to check.
    Cohen says Trump is “racist” because he says many African countries are “shitholes”. So what? (And true).
    Cohen says T said blacks make “poor lifestyle choices”. So what? (And true).
    Dershowitz says we mistake “wrong” and “sleazy” for “illegal”.
    There’s nothing illegal in what Cohen claims T said. Wrong and sleazy, sure.
    This is another bust.
    (Disclosure: Were I American I would have voted HC)

    • Saul Sorrell-Till
      Posted February 28, 2019 at 8:47 am | Permalink

      “Oh? How, exactly? They are unwitnessed assertions. No way to check.”

      Some are; a good number of others have very strong corroborating evidence. That’s what makes his testimony impossible(frustratingly so for the GOP) to reject out of hand.

      “Cohen says Trump is “racist” because he says many African countries are “shitholes”. So what? (And true).”

      Delicately sidestepping the nauseating racism in this sentence, I’ll just point out that Trump didn’t say ‘some’ ‘African’ countries, he said _all_ countries ‘run by blacks’.

      “Cohen says T said blacks make “poor lifestyle choices”. So what? (And true).”

      We seem to have gotten to the point where people like you think you can just say ‘so what?’ when world leaders make blanket statements about entire races of human beings. As for “(and true)”, no of course it’s not fucking true. I’m not even going to bother knocking down this blanket claim against everyone of a particular skin colour, since Barack Obama will serve as a very simple rebuttal.

      “There’s nothing illegal in what Cohen claims T said. Wrong and sleazy, sure.
      This is another bust.”

      Firstly, the illegalities are being handled by the FBI’s investigation, and thus by definition wouldn’t have been explored here. In fact, whenever outright illegalities were brought up by Democrats Cohen pointed out that the Mueller investigation was ongoing and that he therefore couldn’t address certain issues.
      Secondly, this was a political hearing and thus “wrong and sleazy” plays a pretty damn big role. This was further evidence for the American people of what a truly execrable human being they elected.

      I’m sure the partisans on either side will remain unchanged in their attitudes, but the great mass of people in the middle…they’re the ones who got to see some very strong and compelling testimony as to just how much of a repellent, abnormal, lying crook the POTUS is.

      “(Disclosure: Were I American I would have voted HC)”

      Sure you would.

      • Mark R.
        Posted February 28, 2019 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

        Perfect reply. Bravo!

  25. Matt
    Posted February 28, 2019 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

    I watched for about 3 hours then had to stop because I couldn’t take any more of the Republicans’ “poor Trump is the victim” schtick.

    One highlight: when Repub. Mark Meadows accused Cohen of falsifying his foreign contracts paperwork. It looked like Meadows caught Cohen in a lie and crime. And all the rightwing sites ran with it, e.g., https://www.foxnews.com/politics/gop-rep-meadows-files-criminal-referral-for-michael-cohen-over-foreign-contracts

    They were all wrong. Cohen did nothing wrong.

    https://news.yahoo.com/republican-attack-on-cohen-over-paperwork-falls-flat-191506454.html

  26. merilee
    Posted February 28, 2019 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

    Borowitz’s take on Trump’s SATs.
    https://www.newyorker.com/humor/borowitz-report/mueller-says-he-has-obtained-trumps-sat-scores

    • Mike Anderson
      Posted February 28, 2019 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

      I expect some hungry young journalist to get a hold of and publish Trump’s SATs and grades soon.

      • merilee
        Posted February 28, 2019 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

        And his tax forms!


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