May 23, 2019

Michael Cohen’s Flip Was a Flop

“With the president of the United States practicing nuclear diplomacy 8,000 miles away in Vietnam, Americans at home got to watch former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen stand up on his hind legs and beg for a reduced jail sentence.

Cohen, testifying on Wednesday before the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, told Americans who think they already know exactly what they wanted to hear: Trump is a vulgar con man, a racist, and a cheat. Also, water is wet.

The media is burying the lede: Michael Cohen did not provide any evidence of Russian collusion with the Trump campaign, nor of collusion, active coordination, or conspiracy with Wikileaks. Cohen’s accusation of a Trump crime while in office is at best an evidence-free rendering of an unclear violation of a campaign finance law usually settled with a fine.

Any action going forward would be a big ask. It would mean building a criminal case, or even impeachment, around the uncorroborated testimony of a disbarred, convicted felon who violated attorney-client privilege to plead for a shorter sentence. Absent corroborating evidence, it is hard to see Cohen’s testimony leading to much of anything. It all sounded very dramatic and will be played as such by the media, but when read closely, it’s just another faux smoking gun. There’s no meat on these bones.”

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