My Takeaways from the Cohen Testimony

Five things I think I think after the hearings.

I didn’t listen to a word of Michael Cohen’s testimony live yesterday but have read several written accounts and listened to the extensive excerpts in this morning’s episode of “The Daily” podcast. Based on that, I would offer:

  1. Despite the fact that he’s a serial liar and the attempts by committee Republicans to damage his credibility on that basis, I more-or-less believe his damning testimony about President Trump. I think it likely that he’s embellishing some of it for effect—he is, after all, a professional con man—but don’t think he’s making up material facts.
  2. Mostly, though, that’s because Cohen’s testimony backed up my pre-existing understanding of Trump’s conduct as a businessman, Presidential candidate, and President.
  3. Relatedly, I don’t think we learned anything yesterday that furthers us toward impeachment or, indeed, that substantially damages Trump’s political reputation. People who were still with Trump before the hearings are likely to still be with him after.
  4. I don’t buy what Cohen is selling vis-a-vis his own path to redemption. That is, unlike Rep. Elijah Cummings and NYT reporter Maggie Haberman, I don’t believe Cohen is actually ashamed of his conduct. He only regrets getting caught and the consequences that have flowed.
  5. The one part of the committee Republican attempt to damage Cohen’s credibility that I do buy is that he hopes to profit from turning on Trump. One suspects that a book and/or movie deal with be forthcoming.
FILED UNDER: Congress, Donald Trump, Quick Takes, Russia Investigation, US Politics
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. For what it is worth, Cohen did not deny that he’s hoping for a book deal in the future. One suspects that’s at least part of his long-term plan to provide for himself and his family in the future.

    In any case, with a three-year prison sentence to look forward to he’ll have plenty of time to write.

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  2. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    People who were still with Trump before the hearings are likely to still be with him after.

    True dat.
    People who were proud to have a crooked racist incompetent lying con-man for president before will still be willing to have a crooked racist incompetent lying con-man for president now.
    ‘Nuff said.

    I fear that if he loses the election in 2020, that there will never be a peaceful transition of power.

    Show of hands…anyone doubt that?

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  3. Jax says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl: I have never doubted that he will not go willingly. At the very least, I expect shit-smeared walls in the White House, and him constantly whining on Twitter about fraudulent elections. I was kinda hoping he’d be in prison and not allowed access to Twitter, but nobody knows what the next two years are gonna bring.

    I would be interested in hearing from our hosts and others amongst the commentariat what exactly HAPPENS should he not concede, or rally the rabid base to commit violence, or, God Forbid, somehow think he can call up the military to keep himself in power. Can that even happen?!

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  4. Michael Reynolds says:

    1) If he were embellishing substantially why was he so quick to dismiss questions when he didn’t know the answer? Asked about Russia he said he didn’t know. Asked about the ancient rumor that Trump had hit Melania, he defended Trump. He wasn’t reaching to satisfy Democrats. Also: if he lied now he’d face more prison time, so what would be his incentive?

    2) Of course.

    3) You could not be more wrong: we now have physical evidence – the pay-off check – that Trump committed a felony while in office. Which obviates the theory that you can’t impeach for events that occurred prior to being sworn in. We also have testimony now that Trump knew about the Wikileaks/Russian hack despite his denials. And we learned that the SDNY is pursuing a criminal investigation of Trump.

    4) I think that’s simplistic, and on this I have some personal experience. It is entirely possible to know what you’re doing is wrong, and be ashamed of it, and also additionally upset when your deeds are exposed. Emotion is not either/or. It’s also possible to do damage to your family, recognize it and nevertheless continue because you feel trapped, or because you’ve bought your own rationalizations. And when all your bad stuff is out there in the world and you see what you’ve done, and see the reaction, yes, a desire for redemption can be quite genuine. (This is why STEM people don’t write fiction or do psychiatry – humans are not binary.)

    5) WTF does it matter if he’s looking to write a book? Some publisher says, Hey would you like to make a million dollars for chatting with a ghostwriter for a few days? What’s he supposed to say? No, I would rather plunge my family into poverty and allow myself to be defined solely by my enemies? And for what? To somehow prove his bona fides? Please.

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  5. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Jax:
    It can happen, but it won’t. Trump is a deer with a hunter’s bullet in his guts. He’s bleeding, staggering and doomed. The military won’t even think about backing him, not just because the US military is not the Venezuelan military, but because Trump is weak. Dying beasts don’t attract a lot of support.

    Now, will some Eric Florack types mutter and buy more guns and dig their race-war bomb shelters a little deeper? Sure. Will we get some more white powder letters and maybe a couple of mass shootings from creeps using this as an excuse? Sure. But come election day Trump will haul his carcass aboard Marine One and shortly thereafter begin a long, doomed battle with Mueller, the SDNY and about a million lawsuits. He may die broke, or he may die in prison, or both, or he may just save us all a lot of trouble and throw an embolism, but he will not be our King Don the First.

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  6. MarkedMan says:

    He only regrets getting caught and the consequences that have flowed

    A bit of a segue but I’ve long been fascinated by how often truly vile people have the deepest regrets for what they did but, as you point out, only insofar as it has hurt their lives. The best example of this right now is all the interviews I’ve been hearing from Catholic Church officials. They differ from the ones from the Spotlight era only in that they now usually make a quick pro forma statement about the victims, but then immediately go into how “this” has devastated the church, how much it has hurt them personally, how hard it is for those in the religious orders. I’m not equating Cohen with child molesters, but the complete absence of sympathy for the people he harassed and tried to ruin is pretty obvious and all too common. Mel Gibson, Lance Armstrong, Bernie Madoff are other good examples from wildly disparate crimes.

  7. mattbernius says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    Show of hands…anyone doubt that?

    My hand is up.

    I think the entire “I fear that if he loses the election in 2020, that there will never be a peaceful transition of power” is 100% fearmongering. Or rather, it’s been said by opponents about sitting presidents for every cycle of my adult life (starting with Clinton).

    I think the transition will be ugly and venomous. But that’s sadly status quo for this administration.

    However, I think it will be peaceful is so much as it will not require a coup (or the threat of one) to get Trump out of the office.

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  8. James Joyner says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    1. As I say, I think the Republican line that Cohen was making things up is BS. I do think it fairly likely Cohen was telling the story in the sexiest way possible.

    3. I guess I just assumed those things months ago so don’t find them surprising. Further, I don’t think it’ll sway anyone in the House to vote to impeach that wasn’t previously there.

    4. Fair enough. But the guy was a professional sleazebag for a long time. He continued gleefully until he got arrested 10 months ago. And he suddenly is ashamed of abetting Trump’s racism and sleazebaggery? Meh.

    5. I don’t disagree. Again, Republicans were bringing that up to discredit him and I don’t think they succeeded. I just think Cohen’s motivation for laying it on so thick yesterday was to enhance his ability to profit from his misdeeds rather than atone for them.

  9. James Joyner says:

    @mattbernius: I tend to agree. Trump will do everything in his power to avoid giving up the office. But that’s actually very little.

  10. Todd says:

    @mattbernius: I mostly want to agree with you … I am an optimist by nature. The one thing that gives me pause is that in this specific case we have a narcissistic President who is most strongly backed by the 1/3 of the country that tends to be heavily armed and totally irrational when it comes to our norms in politics and governing.

    A non-peaceful transition (or non-transition) of power is still a very low-probability threat … but it’s (relatively) more likely this time than in any previous modern administration.

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  11. gVOR08 says:

    My bet is that if Trump loses he’ll fling a lot of poo, but he’ll go. A coup would require more skill, and minions more loyal, than he’s got.

  12. Mike in Arlington says:

    “A” book deal? As in 1? Ha!
    http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2019/02/michael-cohen-hearing-republicans-exclusive-all-10-secret-book-deals.html

    Doesn’t mean that he’s lying necessarily, since he was disbarred I’m sure he’s looking for another way to support himself.

    I’m torn between “fool would take him at his word” and “he… he wouldn’t be so stupid as to lie to congress again… would he?” So, the safe bet is to only trust what can be corroborated by evidence and more credible witnesses.

    To this end, AOC had the right idea, create a foundation to get other factual material in the form of witnesses or documents. The only other thing she could have asked was if there were other documents, ledgers, computers, databases or the like that they should look at to investigate further.

  13. Teve says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl: I’ve got to admit, Bill Maher has been saying this for over a year, and I thought he was being silly. Hearing Michael Cohen suggest the same thing is a little disconcerting.

  14. MikeSJ says:

    I think there could be sporadic violence from lone whackadoodles, maybe a worst case scenario a militia group goes on a killing rampage but beyond that nada.

    I suspect that once Trump officially loses he’ll just go to Mar a Lago and check out from being president. Maybe he’d get in a last minute grift or con, perhaps an attempt to sell top secret info but for all functioning purposes Pence would be acting President.

  15. Mike in Arlington says:

    I’m torn between “fool would take him at his word” and “he… he wouldn’t be so stupid as to lie to congress again… would he?” So, the safe bet is to only trust what can be corroborated by evidence and more credible witnesses.

    To this end, AOC had the right idea, create a foundation to get other factual material in the form of witnesses or documents. The only other thing she could have asked was if there were other documents, ledgers, computers, databases or the like that they should look at to investigate further.

  16. CSK says:

    I asked this on the other thread, but if Cohen was lying, was he lying when said that Trump didn’t pay a woman woman to abort his child, didn’t father a child out-of-wedlock, and didn’t slap Melania around in an elevator?

    I want a Trumpkin to answer this. If you can’t believe Cohen when he says bad things about Trump, how can you believe him when he says good things? Or at least, not unfavorable ones?

  17. just nutha says:

    1) I’m also not one of the “don’t believe him; he’s a liar” guys. I see the whole tack of “he lied before, the recantation of those lies must be lies, too” thing as self-contradicting and circular. But the Senators have to seek whatever port offers shelter in this storm, so no surprise here. w
    2) Trump was unqualified in 2015, in 2016, and still is today. Facts do not become more factual as evidence mounts.
    3) Impeachment is a political act. Contrary to Mr. Reynolds above, facts and evidence do not matter in an absence of political will and political will triumphs over evidence in other cases. Cohen changed no Republican Senator minds (assuming that “Republican” and “mind” are not contradictory concepts in this case) therefore no impeachment.
    4) WELL DUH!
    5) Beyond statutory provisions preventing felons from profiting from their crimes, I got no dog in this fight.

    @Daryl and Matt B: Count me as a hand raised. I remember the whole George HW Bush will take over the gubmint wif his CIA buddies flap in 88. It was preposterous but is still more credible than Trump with no infrastructure for such a takeover succeeding. Take a breath Daryl, you’re starting to hallucinate.

  18. Mister Bluster says:

    …somehow think he can call up the military to keep himself in power. Can that even happen?!

    United States Constitution
    Article II Section 1 Clause 4

    The Congress may determine the Time of chusing the Electors, and the Day on which they shall give their Votes; which Day shall be the same throughout the United States.
    Article II Section 2 Clause 1
    The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States;..

    Looks like Article II Section 2 Clause 1 applies between the Day on which they shall give their Votes;.. and Inauguration Day.
    December to January.
    What’s to stop Pud from creating even more chaos than he already has?

  19. CSK says:

    Well, Trump said today that Cohen didn’t lie about one thing only, and that was when Cohen said there was “no collusion.”

    Two points: That’s not exactly what Cohen said. Not at all. And…is Trump saying that Cohen lied when he said that Trump didn’t slug Melania, didn’t pay for an abortion, and didnn’t father a child out-of-wedlock?

  20. Teve says:

    FWIW I think Trump is both too lazy and too stupid to pull off a military coup. But hearing Cohen say what he said yesterday changed my probability estimate from like 1% to like 5%.

  21. Teve says:

    somebody joked on Twitter, “after finding out that Trump is guilty of literally everything he’s ever accused anyone else of, I’m 95% sure now he was born in Kenya.”

  22. James Pearce says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Trump is a deer with a hunter’s bullet in his guts. He’s bleeding, staggering and doomed.

    I honestly do not understand how you can look at what’s going on in politics and come to this conclusion. Didn’t we just watch congressional Republicans cover for him in the Cohen hearings?

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  23. MarkedMan says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    It can happen, but it won’t. Trump is a deer with a hunter’s bullet in his guts. He’s bleeding, staggering and doomed. The military won’t even think about backing him, not just because the US military is not the Venezuelan military, but because Trump is weak.

    I think this is about right. Given our very short time span I think most people have forgotten that post-9/11 Cheney and a few other Repubs started hinting that maybe we shouldn’t have elections because we were UNDER ATTACK!!! There were still a few patriotic and powerful Repubs back then and they pointed out that we managed to hold elections during every war in our history and no, just no. If Bush couldn’t pull it off right after 9/11, then Supreme Cadet Bonespurs the Orange will not. Especially as we head into recession.

  24. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @James Pearce:

    Didn’t we just watch congressional Republicans cover for him in the Cohen hearings?

    They TRIED to cover for him. They failed to defend him on any level, choosing the only route they really had…attack the messenger.
    As failures go…it was an epic fail. Gym Jordan got bitch slapped, and Mark Meadows has spent the last 24 hours answering for his racism…and more videos keep popping up.

  25. Teve says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl: after the next editions come out in a few years, you’ll be able to open up the dictionary and look up the term White Fragility, and Mark Meadows’s performance will be there. He was the biggest WATB I’ve ever seen.

  26. James Pearce says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    They TRIED to cover for him.

    Yeah, but Trump -gutshot- staggering around and bleeding, fell into their arms and they plied him with bandages and salves to staunch the bleeding. Trump is very much alive politically and all strategies need to take that into account.

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  27. OzarkHillbilly says:
  28. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @James Pearce:

    Trump is very much alive politically

    Cohen hearing…kids and Trump Org staff to be interviewed soon
    NoKo failure
    ME Peace Plan failing
    Growth slowing

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  29. Blue Galangal says:

    @gVOR08: To add to what you and others are inferring, above, my own interpretation was that basically Trump is such a delusional huckster that when he does lose, he will have to be dragged – perhaps literally – kicking and screaming from the White House. Don’t expect him to behave like a civilized person or to preside over a peaceful transition. He will be convinced that his loss is illegal, a conspiracy, and he will take every opportunity to state as much. That’s what I think Cohen is expecting – not an actual armed revolution or coup attempt – just the boorish, insane, uncivilized crook that Trump is made manifest at a moment of great stress.

  30. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @James Pearce:

    Yeah, but Trump -gutshot- staggering around and bleeding, fell into their arms and they plied him with bandages and salves to staunch the bleeding.

    While I agree with you that Michael’s “diagnosis” was a wee bit over the top, I have to disagree with your characterization of what the House Republicans did for him. As Thomas Wolffe at the Guardian said,

    To be clear, the House Republicans thought they were doing a fine job for their Great Leader by trashing his former lawyer at every turn. Cohen is undoubtedly a proven liar who lied to Congress: we know this because he confessed to doing just that in his guilty plea last year.

    Trump’s loyalists in the House seemed to think that was the end of the story. Who could believe a proven liar like Michael Cohen? The only snag is that he was lying on behalf of his client, one Donald Trump. So the more they talked about his lies, the more he talked about his lying client.

    Not such a good idea.

  31. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @mattbernius:
    @Blue Galangal:
    Not to be alarmist…but we already have the MAGA-Bomber, and the Coast Guard guy…and Dennison is only mid-term. Put Blue Galangal’s scenario together with a shit-ton of conspiracy-theory-addled red-hats…there is no telling what could happen.
    Probably short-lived…but very ugly, and very deadly for some.

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  32. mattbernius says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:
    No offense, but that’s moving the goal posts. A peaceful transition of power happens at a government level.

    As much as I think there is always the threat of terrorist acts, those are third party actors. Unless you’re willing to advance a narrative is that Trump will intentionally attempt to start a civil war in order to stop the transition.

  33. Kathy says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    You should consider not bothering with the troll. Consider, according to his logic, the D-Day landings were a dismal failure because the Nazis were neither driven off France that day, nor removed from power.

    As an aside, I’ve a non-serious theory that every event in the last 30 years can find a simile in a Simpsons’ episode, joke, or character. For example, when Dennison won the election, most of the world became Frank Grimes.

  34. Michael Reynolds says:

    @James Pearce:

    I honestly do not understand how you can look at what’s going on in politics and come to this conclusion. Didn’t we just watch congressional Republicans cover for him in the Cohen hearings?

    Unlike you, Pearce, I never worshipped the orange calf. Nothing Trump has done has surprised me because he never does anything out of character, and that character is psychopath. He arrived on the scene far weaker than you understood then, or understand now. Knowing what he is able to do, knowing his limitations, knowing his insecurity, and watching that 42% never grow to 50% even with a hot economy and no new wars, I know he’s bleeding out.

    You don’t understand the guy so you’re impressed by superficial bullshit. Rallies and bluster. You have an instinctive forelock-tugging impulse in the face of a supposed alpha male. You’re a follower. So of course you don’t understand, just like you refused to understand that he was going to lose on the shutdown, and fail to make a deal in Korea, and be left now with literally no future plans beyond, ‘build the wall.’ And you never will understand, Pearce, you’re one of those guys in Hitler’s bunker still fantasizing about how der fuhrer can turn it all around with futuristic weapons.

    But nothing I say or anyone says, and no amount of reality will alter your views because, Pearce, you are invincibly ignorant. You still haven’t even accepted the reality that 2018 mid-terms were a huge loss for Trump. You can claim you’re not in the cult, but you are. You’ve bought it all, lock, stock and barrel, and because you are invincibly ignorant you will not learn.

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  35. Pete S says:

    @Kathy: I hope you are wrong, Frank Grimes did not come to a good end and the incompetent bumbler never did face any consequences. It scares me how much I think you could be right though.

    James, I love the MMQB reference in your subheading!

  36. charon says:

    @Jax:

    God Forbid, somehow think he can call up the military to keep himself in power. Can that even happen?!

    A) The military are trained (and expected) to reject illegal orders. Commissioned officers will know if they are illegally ordered to do whatever.

    B) The military are by nature disposed toward contingency planning. Any possibilities along that line will be previously discussed.

  37. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @mattbernius:

    Unless you’re willing to advance a narrative is that Trump will intentionally attempt to start a civil war

    I get your point re goalposts…but Dennison is pretty much constantly inciting the rabble who follow him.
    What if the day after the election he questions the legitimacy of the election, then starts spouting off about second amendment remedies (both of which he did last election cycle) will the two things be separable?
    If there are red hats rioting in the streets…will you consider that a peaceful transition?

  38. the Q says:

    “I’m not worried. No way can Hillary lose the election.”
    “I’m not worried. Trump will act like a grown up once in office.”
    “I’m not worried. Trump will go quietly if he loses re-election.”
    “I’m not worried. Only crazy nationalists are going to the book burnings”
    “I’m not worried. It was only just a few Jewish stores burned last night.”
    Be worried. Be very worried.

  39. James Pearce says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    ME Peace Plan failing

    There’s a difference between politically vulnerable and politically dead. Trump has been politically vulnerable since the beginning and yet he survives because all these jokers want to insist he’s already dead.

    @OzarkHillbilly: As long as House (and Senate) Republicans carry his water, you’re just going to have to accept that he’s going to get away with whatever he’s doing because you’re not going to do anything to Trump without Republican help. Democrats only control the House. There is only one way to take politically vulnerable Trump and turn him into politically dead Trump.

    You have to beat him in 2020.

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  40. just nutha says:

    @James Pearce: On that particular issue, he’s your mirror image. The principled contrarian for Trump escape.

  41. charon says:

    @Todd:

    we have a narcissistic President who is most strongly backed by the 1/3 of the country that tends to be heavily armed and totally irrational when it comes to our norms in politics and governing.

    That is sort of true but with caveats.

    A big chunk of that 1/3 are so sold on Trump that they will stay with him until the last dog dies. But, however, there is another big chunk that are just strong partisans who identify with the GOP. They tell pollsters they strongly support Trump because he is the current GOP team leader and they identify with Team GOP. Plus, they are mostly so deep in the Foxlandia media bubble they still do not realize how weak and flawed Trump is. Things like cancelled checks and tax returns will breach that Foxlandia bubble, and Trump will start to be seen as a loser. Once people who only support Trump because he leads their team learn to see him as a loser, not a winner, they will bail.

    I predict a tipping point – Trump will look strong until he doesn’t.

  42. Teve says:

    Test

  43. James Pearce says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Unlike you, Pearce, I never worshipped the orange calf.

    It is so weird that you continue to push this line. It’s like you want me to support Trump and you’re not going to stop until I do.

    Shouldn’t you try and be a “fisher of men” instead of such an obnoxious splitter?

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  44. DrDaveT says:

    I don’t believe Cohen is actually ashamed of his conduct. He only regrets getting caught and the consequences that have flowed.

    I have no idea whether he has any genuine remorse or not, but I’m pretty sure he doesn’t only regret getting caught. What he hates even more is taking the fall for someone who is in no way worth it. There’s a large dose of “I prostituted my professional life for you; if I go down, you’re coming with me.”

  45. Gustopher says:

    @charon:

    I predict a tipping point – Trump will look strong until he doesn’t.

    We have passed so many things that I would have expected to be tipping pints that I’m not sure this is right. So many people have tied their identities and success to him so intimately that they are going to look the other way on everything.

    Whether it’s a personality cult, or just a desire to own the libtards, for a large number of people Trump’s “success” no longer requires any form of actual success. Standing there, being a boorish, incompetent, corrupt ass, and not letting the liberals win — even when by all rational measures they should win, or especially when they should win — is viewed as a great victory for Trump.

    “Wildly, comically corrupt EPA Chief? Let’s see the Democrats do something about that, ha ha ha. Took them two years. God they are weak.”

    The corruption, incompetence and moral repugnant behavior aren’t disqualifying. They are showing just how Strong dear leader is that he can do this with impunity.

    It could all come falling down, but I don’t see what the trigger might be. A stomach flu that makes him shit his pants in public, maybe?

  46. Gustopher says:

    @DrDaveT: I think Cohen is absolutely fascinating. I’m betting every reason someone ascribes to his actions are in there somewhere all mixed up, from spite to self-loathing, from a desire for redemption to a desire for revenge. Good intentions leading him down bad paths, bad intentions leading him down good paths, trying to make a deal with the devil to be only a little terrible for a big reward, and then having it all blow up in his face and having to stare at what he’s done, and try to figure out what to do next knowing that he’s really not as good of a person as he thinks he is.

    I really hope he keeps a detailed diary, hands it off to a good ghostwriter, and then never bothers to read the results before it gets published.

  47. Kathy says:

    @Gustopher:

    Whether it’s a personality cult, or just a desire to own the libtards, for a large number of people Trump’s “success” no longer requires any form of actual success.

    That’s true for the base, not for the whole of the GOP, and much less so for GOP-leaning independents.

    Having said that, it gets worse. Many in the base can compromise. Find fault with some of El Cheeto’s positions, but keep on believing his basic notion was/is sound. I’ve read of Germans who, after WWII, admitted that, yes, genocide was horribly wrong, and maybe there were other war crimes, but that the Nazi objectives like taking over much of the USSR for “living space” was a sound notion.

    So, ok, maybe separating families was horribly wrong, and maybe there are good Muslims here and there, but cutting taxes and building a wall is a good thing, by God! We don’t expect the Great leader to be perfect, just good.

    That’s the more reasonable ones, you understand. the rest are hopeless. They may think Latinos don’t really suffer, and Dennison never lies.

  48. Eric Florack says:

    I don’t buy what Cohen is selling vis-a-vis his own path to redemption.

    It’s clear Lanny Davis either convinced him that this was his path to redemption, or at least coached him to look like he was convinced of it.

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  49. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @James Pearce:

    As long as House (and Senate) Republicans carry his water, you’re just going to have to accept that he’s going to get away with whatever he’s doing because you’re not going to do anything to Trump without Republican help.

    What a load of horseshyt. Neither I nor any DEM has to accept a dawg damned thing he does. Investigate, investigate, investigate, investigate, investigate, smear smear smear the stench of trump all over the entire GOP. Sooner or later the majority of the American electorate will realize that the GOP is nothing but a criminal conspiracy.(for a little while anyway) I know, I know, you hope that people will just except that fact as the new norm of both siderisms, but I think the majority won’t accept base criminality as the new governing reality.

    Democrats only control the House.

    Yep, and the purse. A small inconvenient constitutional technicality you seem to think is inconsequential.

    There is only one way to take politically vulnerable Trump and turn him into politically dead Trump.
    You have to beat him in 2020.

    On this you and I are in total agreement. Impeachment is impracticable at best. And why bother any way? He’s toast in 2020.

  50. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @DrDaveT: There’s a saying that one’s position in Hell is determined by the number and rank of those one takes along. President of the United States has gotta be worth a lot of points in that system.

  51. An Interested Party says:

    It’s like you want me to support Trump and you’re not going to stop until I do.

    Actually, it’s more like the things you write seem to always trash Democrats and usually credit Trump…so why wouldn’t most people assume that you support Trump…

    It’s clear Lanny Davis either convinced him that this was his path to redemption, or at least coached him to look like he was convinced of it.

    Like all Republicans who support Trump, you have no right to condemn Cohen or anyone else you consider dishonest as long as you support the most corrupt and deceitful president in American history…

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  52. Blue Galangal says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    Impeachment is impracticable at best. And why bother any way? He’s toast in 2020.

    Because of all the children separated from their families and lost in the meantime, because of all sick people whose health insurance is taken away, because of all the women who can’t access health care, because of all the children whose school funding is being diverted to private schools they have no hope of ever accessing.

    Or because of all the Federalist Society judges that will be shoehorned into lifetime appointments, or because of all the secrets being sold for real estate considerations that compromise our men and women in uniform and our counterintelligence and counterterror operations, or because…

    I could go on but I’ve depressed myself considerably. I think a smallish glass of Laphroaig is in order.

  53. Eric Florack says:

    People who were still with Trump before the hearings are likely to still be with him after.

    On the other hand, it seems interesting to me that the majority of people who are willing to believe that Michael Cohen is finally telling the truth, (despite having obviously perjured himself once again) are the same ones who were going to bat publicly for Jussie Smollett.

    (Snicker)

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  54. CSK says:

    @Eric Florack:

    So, you’re saying that you believe Cohen lied when he said that Trump:
    1. did not collude with Russia
    2. did not hit Melania
    3. did not subsidize an abortion
    4. did not father a child out-of-wedlock

    Right?

  55. wr says:

    @Just Meg: Hi Bungles,

    Nice to see you back again. Cool name.

  56. James Pearce says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    Neither I nor any DEM has to accept a dawg damned thing he does.

    Okay, you don’t have to accept the fact that Donald Trump is POTUS. You don’t even have to accept the mathematics of only controlling one half of one third of the federal government.

    But can you please accept that Democrats will accomplish nothing on anything without Republican help?

    Yep, and the purse.

    Congress controls the purse, and the Dems don’t control Congress. They only control the House.

    He’s toast in 2020

    I want him to be toast in 2020. That’s why I’m not going to allow myself to think he is. Made that mistake in 2016 and I’d like to think I learned something from it.
    @An Interested Party:

    it’s more like the things you write seem to always trash Democrats and usually credit Trump…so why wouldn’t most people assume that you support Trump…

    I’m a liberal independent, so I’m exempted from the prohibition on “trashing Democrats.”

    They work for me. I don’t work for them.

  57. MarkedMan says:

    @Eric Florack:

    are the same ones who were going to bat publicly for Jussie Smollett

    Talk about projection. Liberals and Progressives are not Trumpers. I can’t think of anyone but minor players who continued to insist Smollett was telling the truth once the story came out. We all have our faults and blind spots, but to equate us with Trumper-like blindness and stupidity is just insulting. You should apologize.

  58. CSK says:

    @Eric Florack:

    Are you going to answer my question?

  59. Duster says:

    Considering how Cohen operated for Trump, and the manner that Trump appears to operate, it seems reasonable to conclude that Cohen expected some form of loyalty from Trump just je had extended loyalty to Trump as Trump’s fixer for years. As it is, Cohen can seriously damage Trump with the truth without any embroidery. After all, a good deal of what he was accused of lying about were lies that covered Trump’s backside not Cohen’s. The only real get-out-of-jail-free card for DT would be evidence of Cohen going “rogue,” protecting Trump from things Trump never asked him to deal with. So, despite being a “serial” liar, he was paid to be one by Trump, and the flash of humour when he was accused of being one by one of the Republican committee members and the response “are you talking about me or the president?” says a good deal. Yeah he’s a liar, but look who he was working for.