11 January 2019
Cogito Ergo Non Serviam
Michael Cohen, the estranged legal fixer for President Trump, has accepted the invitation of the House Oversight and Reform Committee to testify under oath. In a statement, Mr. Cohen wrote, "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." The date of the televised circus is February 7. The fact that Mr. Cohen will have a televised platform is a watershed moment in the Trump administration's sorry history.
Thus far, the news regarding the investigations into the malfeasance, criminality and plain idiocy of the administration have been restricted to deranged statements from the White House and Rudy Giuliani, acting as the president's legal mouthpiece. From the investigators' side, there has been a whitewash from the GOP controlled Congress and a Sphinx-like silence from Robert Mueller and his team. As a result, the people have been largely bored by the whole thing.
Mr. Cohen's appearance before the committee, and more importantly, before the TV cameras in the committee room, changes this. It is an established fact that people remember far more when they see something live or on video than when they read it. There is a huge difference between reading "once more unto the breach" and seeing Kenneth Branagh deliver the line surrounded by fire and smoke with stage blood on him.
When Mr.Cohen appears, the focus of the committee will likely be the payments to pornographic actress Stormy Daniels from Mr. Trump to keep their affair quiet just ahead of the election of 2016. That is something of a shame because Mr. Cohen has a decade of experience with Mr. Trump's legal shenanigans, and questions about those are likely to reveal a heretofore unproved venality. The Daniels payment is simply a pathetic bribe paid to hush up an embarrassing affair. Certainly, it should disqualify the man for the presidency if the threshold for impeachment is the Clinton-Lewinsky episode.
However, those questions might lead to complications. Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings (D- MD) stated, "I want to make clear that we have no interest in inappropriately interfering with any ongoing criminal investigations." Since the Stormy Daniels issue is largely completed, it's safe territory to address. Indeed, Mr. Cohen will be a guest of the US penal system for three years starting in March for his role in the incident.
The Republicans are already beginning to form a defensive circle around the president. They have noted that Mr. Cohen has been lying for Mr. Trump for years, and now, he has a motivation to lie against him (three years is a fraction of what he could have faced). Therefore, they argue that nothing he says on TV should be credited.
Leaving aside the fact that nothing Mr. Trump says on TV is true yet they say they believe it, the truth is Mr. Cohen has little reason to lie. The FBI raided his office, home and hotel room some months ago relying on a warrant to do so. This means the agency had proof of criminal activity. It means that the agency is in possession of all of Mr. Cohen's records, and this includes audio files on which Mr. Trump's voice appears. In short, if he lies to Congress, he will likely have more time added to his sentence for contempt. Moreover, there will be evidence that backs up what he says.
The White House under Donald Trump has not faced any serious public supervision since the end of the last administration. The Republicans in Congress have been obsequious in a way one usually expects in a Stalinesque dictatorship. Now, there is a Democratic-controlled House with a noticeable faction of Trump-loathers who want to see him out of office and in jail.
This journal sympathizes, but it is best for the Republic if he is removed from office with an overwhelming mountain of evidence proving his high crimes and misdemeanors. The televised hearing with Mr. Cohen will form part of that mountain. It will certainly get the voters to pay attention to the evidence in a way they have not done yet.
© Copyright 2018 by The Kensington Review, Jeff Myhre, PhD, Editor. No part of this publication may be reproduced without written consent. Produced using Ubuntu Linux.