Wednesday morning, the nation will be riveted to must-see political TV as a liar, lout, thug, bully, scumbag, and admitted criminal takes the stand before the House Oversight Committee to testify about his former client and our liar, lout, thug, bully, scumbag, and criminal in chief, who will be tuning in from Vietnam.
As the president’s personal attorney for over a decade, the liar has been a man mixed up in dozens of projects and schemes, not to mention the lout’s roles as a senior member of the president’s campaign and the former finance director of the Republican National Committee. The thug served as the in-the-room guy, who’s accumulated years of memories and documents detailing Donald Trump’s crass and criminal actions.
After he spills his guts to Congress, that bully is going to prison because the Southern District of New York checked his arrogance and criminality hard, using just a minuscule fraction of the evidence gathered in their searches of the scumbag’s home, hotel, office, car, and bodily cavities to induce him to both cooperate and accept a jail term. The admitted criminal started talking because he knew he’d be on the hook for the boss’ crimes if he didn’t.
The thug was one of Donald Trump’s most intimate advisers and implementers, a man trusted with the most unholy of unholies; the payouts, gag orders, and fetid details of his rotating stable of girlfriends, dalliances, hookups, and whatever the hell Trump and his pedophile pal Jeffrey Epstein had been up to. This fixer dealt with the sticky aspects of Trump’s wandering pecker directly with the National Enquirer’s aptly named David Pecker, and the Stormy Daniels story is about to come back into the national consciousness, bigly.
That man is Michael Cohen, and he knows where the bodies are buried. Forty years after Trump’s personal Vietnam during the Studio 54 days, he’s now actually there, and Michael Cohen is his Captain Willard, freaked out, but seeing the truth at last, headed upriver to kill his commander.
Cohen knows many of the secrets that comprise the Horcruxes of Donald Voldemort: Trump’s taxes; his shoddy, shady business practices; the extent of Trump’s personal depravity and sexual depredations against many, many women. He knows about business practices they didn’t show on the phony set of Apprentice. He knows all about the roles of Ivanka and Don Jr. and Slow Eric in the business.
He will also reportedly testify that Donald Trump is a flaming racist, for those of you still living in a pre-Charlottesville bubble.
Cohen is a man with nothing to lose and the benefit of painful hindsight that his role as Trump’s attorney didn’t shield him from the corruption and collapse of anyone who works for Trump.
Cohen will not be asked to testify about candidate Trump’s lust for an eponymous tower project in Moscow. Nor will he be asked about Trump’s ludicrously amateur efforts to bribe Russian President Vladimir Putin with a penthouse there, or about any quid pro quo between the Trump campaign, the Trump Organization, and their friends in Moscow. That’s not relief for Trump, by the way; the president knows Cohen has already given all that up to Mueller and company.
All this is why the Trump world is in a flaming panic over Cohen’s testimony tomorrow. When Donald Trump Jr.—a man who increasingly looks like a 1980s B-movie villain, all shiny suits and a surfeit of hair product—took to Fox & Friends this week, he was immediately on this dumb message, about how the probe of his pop is “as political as it gets,” as it’s the “dream” of those mean old feds to “try to find something to get Trump.”
Of course, Trump and his allies are taking precisely the wrong approach. Calling Cohen names, or having pals in Congress direct mobster threats at the witness, doesn’t discredit him. It makes him more credible because the things he’s saying are things that the Southern District and Mueller have matched up with more legitimate sources. The feds don’t just have Cohen. They have Allen Weisselberg, the Trump Organization’s accountant and CFO.
As in all mob cases from time immemorial, once you take out the consigliere, then you take out the accountant, and the whole house of cards tumbles down.
Trump’s media allies on Fox News and elsewhere have been in overdrive the last few days, shocked that anyone would believe a serial liar like Cohen. For them, truth and character suddenly matter, and any word from Cohen’s mouth is the fruit of the most poisonous tree. Like aides to Stalin being airbrushed out of the picture after being disappeared to the gulag, Cohen’s unpersoning is proceeding apace.
Tuesday afternoon, Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Trump’s Colon) launched a Twitter attack on Cohen in the dumbest effort at witness intimidation in modern memory. If you didn’t think this came directly from Trump, I have some beachfront condos in North Korea to sell you.
In a meaningful way, it doesn’t matter what the Trumps say about Cohen, or he says about the Trumps. What matters is that Cohen’s testimony—public, live, and with few restrictions—will open up new, on-the-record venues for investigation, exploration, and, let’s be honest, prosecution.
The president of the United States has been a busy boy obstructing justice (and capital-J Justice) since the moment his corrupt ass plopped down behind the Resolute Desk, and Cohen will reportedly testify to that effect. The record of the perverse, pathetic man the Republican Party has fallen behind is coming home to roost in a very, very public way. The party members who stood by his side during the current crisis over the fake emergency at the border and through every other excess, illegality, and affront to the Constitution, conservatism, and American values will stick with him now. Hell, the iceberg already put a hole in the ship. Might as well have a cigar and a listen to the band play “Proud to be an American” one last time.
Is Michael Cohen a saint? Of course not. Michael Cohen is a perfect exemplar of Trump’s world: corrupt and corrupting, venal and vicious. This is the true picture of the “best people” with whom “billionaire” Donald Trump has always surrounded himself. Michael Cohen isn’t an outlier in Trump world; he’s definitional.
The explosion on the Trump right over Cohen is just getting started, and you can expect any and every piece of Cohen’s personal dirt to be exposed in the coming days. Cohen has hit the hardest of bottoms because of the work he did with and for Trump.
For Cohen, testifying will be hard and the attacks tough to take, but for what is probably the first time in his adult life, he’ll be serving the cause of justice rather than subverting it for Donald Trump. The strange new terrain of speaking the truth, admitting to guilt, and revealing the low character and unpleasant history of Trump has to have at least a tiny edge of satisfaction.
Michael Cohen rose to the pinnacle of Trump’s enterprise, and plunged, knife firmly in his back, to the depths. Today, he has a new role as one of the greatest dangers in Donald Trump’s constellation of ill-starred political and legal fortunes.