Typical thug behavior?
So politicos were looking forward to the congressional testimony of former Trump attorney and “fixer,” Michael Cohen, due to happen publicly on February 7, 2019.
As of today, it’s not happening.
Apparently, Cohen, at the advice of his counsel, has backed out of his agreement to testify before the House Oversight and Reform Committee, after an invitation from Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-Md.).
“Due to ongoing threats against his family from President Trump and Mr. Giuliani, as recently as this weekend, as well as Mr. Cohen’s continued cooperation with ongoing investigations, by advice of counsel, Mr. Cohen’s appearance will be postponed to a later date,” Cohen’s legal adviser Lanny Davis said in a statement.
“Mr. Cohen wishes to thank Chairman Cummings for allowing him to appear before the House Oversight Committee and looks forward to testifying at the appropriate time. This is a time where Mr. Cohen had to put his family and their safety first.”
Indeed, President Trump tweeted out what could only be taken as a direct threat against Cohen’s father-in-law, as well as on a Fox News segment. The threat was quickly parroted by Rudy Giuliani in one of his spastic television appearances, as well.
Kevin Corke, @FoxNews “Don’t forget, Michael Cohen has already been convicted of perjury and fraud, and as recently as this week, the Wall Street Journal has suggested that he may have stolen tens of thousands of dollars….” Lying to reduce his jail time! Watch father-in-law!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 18, 2019
The reference to Cohen’s father-in-law, Fima Schusterman may have to do with a guilty plea to tax fraud charges, involving his New York taxi cab business, back in the 1990s.
So is there still something there?
Trump has suggested there is, in a classic case of distraction.
Don’t look at what I’m involved in! Look over there!
In discussing Cohen’s planned appearance before Congress, Trump stated:
“Well, there is no information. But he should give information maybe on his father-in-law, because that’s the one that people want to look at,” Trump said on Fox News.
Trump also said Cohen was in trouble on “loans and frauds and taxi cabs.”
“Because where does that money — that’s the money in the family. And I guess he didn’t want to talk about his father-in-law — he’s trying to get his sentence reduced. So it’s pretty sad. It’s weak and it’s very sad to watch a thing like that. I couldn’t care less,” the president said.
If you couldn’t care less, I suspect you wouldn’t be talking about it, but you are.
Don’t be fooled. He cares.
To begin with, Cohen has received his sentence. He’s going away for three years, due to his part in a series of crimes, including campaign finance law violations, through his payoff of Donald Trump’s former mistresses, Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal, a month before the 2016 election. Everything coming at this point is just gravy.
Cummings, as well as House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Ca.) are in agreement that Cohen’s concerns are warranted.
Cohen’s planned testimony would have offered lawmakers from both parties an opportunity to question the president’s former personal attorney on a range of subjects. However, a letter released by two Republican lawmakers on Tuesday suggested Cohen planned to severely limit his testimony and refrain from answering questions about ongoing investigations involving Trump.Separately, Schiff has been in discussions with Cohen’s attorneys about him potentially testifying before the Intelligence Committee behind closed doors as part of the panel’s revived probe into Russian interference.
I think the term everyone is grasping for is “witness intimidation.”
“When our Committees began discussions with Mr. Cohen’s attorney, not appearing before Congress was never an option. We will not let the President’s tactics prevent Congress from fulfilling our constitutionally mandated oversight responsibilities,” the lawmakers said.
“This will not stop us from getting to the truth. We expect Mr. Cohen to appear before both Committees, and we remain engaged with his counsel about his upcoming appearances,” they said.
All of this is coming on the heels of a Buzzfeed report that stated Donald Trump instructed Cohen to lie to Congress.
Special counsel’s office took the extraordinary step of issuing a statement later in the day, saying the report “mischaracterized” Cohen’s testimony and cooperation with their investigation.
Trump addressed the news of Cohen pulling out of his planned February testimony:
“I would say he’s been threatened by the truth,” Trump told reporters in the Roosevelt Room of the White House. “He’s only been threatened by the truth.”
“He doesn’t want to tell the truth for me or other of his clients,” the president added.
Well, to be fair, he only had several other clients, as best as anyone can tell. One was Trump pal, Elliott Broidy. He helped him pay off a Playboy mistress, as well.
The other turned out to be Fox News’ Sean Hannity. The contortions taken to keep that information hidden was amusing, actually.
Rudy Giuliani’s two cents worth was even more blatant, in regards to the threats against Cohen’s family.
Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer, has similarly attacked Cohen in the months since he pleaded guilty and began cooperating with prosecutors, blasting him as a “serial liar.” On Sunday, the former New York City mayor argued that Trump was justified in attacking Cohen’s father-in-law.
“It’s defending yourself,” Giuliani said on CNN, suggesting that Cohen’s father-in-law “may have ties to something called organized crime.”
It’s New York, back alley thuggery, and it should be looked at by authorities, closely.
Here’s the thing, guys: It doesn’t matter what Cohen’s father-in-law has done. It’s not relevant or connected to the Russia probe or Donald Trump. The only reason for Trump or his people to bring it up is for the purpose of intimidation.
I do suspect that special counsel is just filing this away in the case they’re building.
Keep talking, Mr. Trump. Keep talking.