Blessed be Gail Collins and Peter Wehner

So. Michael Cohen started off his testimony by declaring that the president of the United States was a racist,” a con man” and a cheat.” The Republicans who were supposed to be grilling him responded by saying … um.

Nobody jumped up and yelled: A racist? How dare you call this man a racist?” To be fair, one Republican committee member did demur, and brought in a black government appointee to stand there and look diverse.

Cohen claimed that in all his years of serving as Trump’s hatchet man he never once heard his boss say anything in private that led me to believe that he loved our nation or wanted to make it better.”

That could have been a cue for Republicans to offer up a multitude of examples to the contrary. But for the most part, all we got was one white male representative after another announcing that Cohen had to be ignored because he’s due to go to prison for lying.”

Almost everybody who knows Donald Trump appears to be going to prison for lying. Or is awaiting sentencing for lying. Or is facing charges of lying. If you are a Donald Trump intimate and the federal authorities come calling, be careful to tell the truth …

Even for the most jaded Trump watcher, there were parts of the Cohen testimony worth discussing. For instance, he said Trump threatened legal action to make sure his old high school, colleges and the College Board kept his grades and SAT score secret.

Certainly not a surprise that Trump doesn’t want to publicize the details of his academic career. But still a great question to keep harping on, if only because it will drive him completely nuts …

Gail Collins

Republicans on the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, in their frantic effort to discredit Mr. Cohen, went after him while steadfastly ignoring the actual evidence he produced. They tried to impugn his character, but were unable to impugn the documents he provided. Nor did a single Republican offer a character defense of Mr. Trump. It turns out that was too much, even for them … Republicans on the committee tried to destroy the credibility of his testimony, not because they believe that his testimony is false, but because they fear it is true …

As Mr. Cohen told Republican lawmakers, I did the same thing that you’re doing now. For 10 years. I protected Mr. Trump for 10 years.” … Everybody’s job at the Trump Organization is to protect Mr. Trump. Every day most of us knew we were coming and we were going to lie for him about something. That became the norm.”

When this story is finally told — when the sordid details are revealed, the dots finally connected — the Republican Party will be the political and institutional version of Mr. Cohen, who squandered his integrity in the service of a man of borderless corruption.

Peter Wehner (emphasis added)

Thanks to Collins and Wehner for sparing me the hour or so it might have taken to sort out my thoughts from reading the transcript of Cohen’s opening statement and watching 15 minutes or so of CSPAN3 — especially to Collins for her light touch.

February 28, 2019

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