The supposed “testimony of a generation” provided by former President Trump lawyer Michael Cohen turned out to be somewhat of a dud for Democrats who were hoping for a bombshell revelation.
So what did Cohen reveal? Cohen testified under oath as follows: He has seen no evidence of Trump campaign collusion with Russian government officials. President Trump didn’t order him to lie to Congress. The Steele dossier is incorrect that Cohen visited Prague to meet with Russian officials because he has never been to Prague. Cohen has never seen and is unaware of the existence of any videotape of Trump cavorting with prostitutes in Moscow. No tape exists of Trump assaulting Melania in a Trump Tower elevator and he knows this because he was personally tasked with reviewing the videotapes.
As an aside, one must wonder if the alleged attorney Cohen has ever heard of principles known as client confidentiality or the attorney-client privilege.
So what is the most serious allegation to come out of Cohen’s testimony? That President Trump made payments through Cohen to buy the silence of former alleged paramours and didn’t report these payments as campaign expenditures. But were these payments campaign expenditures?
To the best of my knowledge, Federal campaign finance laws work this way. If there is any reason, other than the campaign, for Trump to buy the silence of an old girlfriend then there is no campaign finance law violation for an unreported expenditure. In this case there are many reasons why a man like Trump would want to buy the silence of an old girlfriend including avoiding personal embarrassment.
When I read Cohen’s pre-testimony statement that he had proof of the President’s violation of Federal campaign finance laws I was expecting an email from President Trump to Cohen stating that the payment to Daniels was necessary because if she spoke out it might affect his campaign.
Instead we got Cohen’s presentation of a single canceled check made out to him which hardly satisfies the Federal standard for a campaign finance violation and is not proof of a crime as Maryland Congressman Elijah Cummings, Chairman of the House Oversight Committee, apparently believes it is. Incidentally, no campaign funds were used in the payment to Cohen.
The rest of Cohen’s testimony devolved into generalized criticisms of President Trump’s political beliefs and, surprisingly enough, Cohen’s bizarre belief that President Trump will refuse to accept any election loss in 2020 and instead will become a dictator by what means Cohen did not specify.
The hearing ended with Representative Cummings making a rambling speech that had virtually nothing to do with any issues at hand in which he worried about our democracy remaining intact, whatever that means.