Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Live From Capitol Hill

The breaking news banners will be out in force today on cable TV as Michael Cohen, Trump’s former consigliere, goes to Congress to tell his side of the Trump saga.

Cohen, who said in court last year that he once worked to cover up Trump’s “dirty deeds,” will return to the Hill on Wednesday, where those familiar with his testimony say he is expected to describe personal, behind-the-scenes encounters that portray Trump as a lying racist and provide what Cohen’s supporters say they believe is evidence that Trump broke the law after he was sworn in.

But Cohen — who was convicted of lying to Congress and whose allies have been known to exaggerate or misstate the information he possesses — will have to withstand attacks on his credibility. The strength and reliability of his anticipated claims about the president’s possible wrongdoing could not immediately be ascertained.

The Republicans will go after him for lying because, of course, Republicans cannot tolerate lying, exaggeration, or false statements ever at all from anyone no way no how.  So there.

Cohen is expected to describe to lawmakers what he views as Trump’s “lies, racism and cheating,” both as president and in private business, and will describe “personal, behind-the-scenes” interactions he witnessed, a person familiar with the matter said. Perhaps more explosively, he is expected to provide accounts of possible criminal conduct that occurred while Trump was in office, according to two people familiar with his testimony.

It was not immediately clear what those accounts or alleged conduct might be, though one of the people familiar said it had to do with the hush-money payments Cohen helped arrange to buy the silence of women who alleged having affairs with Trump years ago, before he became president. That person said Cohen will provide lawmakers an exhibit to support his assertion; another person said he would provide “very specific details” about the payments, some of which have not been made public.

As sordid and shocking as Mr. Cohen’s revelations about Trump and his dealings may be, it is safe to say that no matter what he says it will not move the needle on the GOP base’s love for Trump one micron.  In fact, it may even harden their support for him because the Deep State and those people (and you know who they are) have had it in for Trump ever since he fleeced his first tenant back in the ’70’s.  And while there may be private misgivings bordering on panic on the Republican side because clearly their president is out of his mind and out of control, they still want their job in Washington because it’s a lot easier — and more lucrative — to say you’re representing your district back in Ohio or Montana or Alabama than it is to actually have to live there and make an honest living.

As for the base itself, they honestly don’t give a shit whether or not Trump lied, cheated, or is a racist because to a lot of them, those are qualities a real man must have to get ahead in this world dominated by political correctness and minorities suddenly having the same rights as everyone else.  (Paying off a porn star?  If only!)  And even if they had any moral qualms about his character, it’s the results that matter according to one billboard seen on I-95 in Broward County, Florida, that thanked Trump for making America First!  So what if the tax cut was basically a Ponzi scheme (Oh, you thought you were getting a big refund? Oops) and the tariffs against the Chinese ripped the bottom out of the agricultural market and the tirade against immigrants left crops rotting in the field and lawns in Beverly Hills unmowed?  What about Hillary’s e-mails?

So, yeah, get the popcorn and enjoy the show, but remember that even when John Dean told the truth about Richard Nixon’s complicity in Watergate in June 1973, it still took another fourteen months for the chickens to really come home to roost, and only then when the Republicans realized that it was their asses on the line if he stayed in office.