Even in his opening statement, Mr. Cohen gave a stunning description of the Orange Monster (“the OM”): “He is a racist, he is a con man, and he is a cheat.” But incredibly, none of the Republicans on the panel made even the slightest attempt to refute that their president is a con man and a cheat. Nor did they make even one attempt to defend the president against the indefensible and illegal behavior that he is accused of; rather, all they could muster, quite literally, was “LIAR! LIAR! PANTS ON FIRE!”
In this not-so-subtle attempt to discredit Michael Cohen, utilizing the charm of elementary schoolyard bullies, they chose to emphasize their own childish behavior with a photo of Cohen on a poster board displayed behind them with the words, “LIAR! LIAR! PANTS ON FIRE!” printed in bright, bold letters. Their point could not have been missed by a first-grader. But more to the point, each and every one of these cowards chose to sidestep any opportunity to defend their president against Cohen’s damning allegations.
We knew coming in to the hearing that Cohen had lied to Congress in an attempt to protect the president, and that he was there to make amends and to clean up the record. As one Democratic member of the panel pointed out, the Republican members were not upset at Cohen for the lies he had previously told to protect their president, only that Cohen had STOPPED lying to protect him.
Cohen had no upside for coming clean, and risked a substantial increase in prison time if he were caught lying to Congress again. This time he came before Congress with the blessing and approval and both the Muller investigation and the many other investigations currently being pursued by the prosecutors in the Southern District of New York. This time Cohen came to Congress with corroborating evidence of the president’s crimes.
But the Republicans on the committee chose not to attack the substantive charges Cohen brought to bear against their president. Instead, having collectively lost any moral compass they once had, and having defiled their sworn oaths to defend the U.S. constitution, they sank to a new low with their LIAR! LIAR! PANTS ON FIRE! defense, not only exposing themselves as the morally corrupt liars that they are themselves, but also coming across like a gaggle of misbehaving children in a poorly run kindergarten.
I can only think that the GOP committee members believed that they had no other choice but to attack Cohen’s credibility, since their president’s behavior is utterly indefensible. They couldn’t say, for example, “Our president has too much integrity to pay an illegal and secret hush money payment to a porn star!” or “Our president would never have approved of a meeting with the Russians to obtain dirt on Hillary Clinton,” or “It would be beneath the dignity of the president and totally out of character for him to order Roger Stone to deal with the Russians and WikiLeaks,” or “Our president would never lie like you have!” Had any of the Republican members of the committee dared to make such a statement, they would have been laughed out of the room.
Sadly, everyone, even his most die-hard supporters, now know in their hearts that our 45thpresident is quite capable of committing each and every crime that Cohen accused him of committing. Sadly, everyone knows that the OM is a proven pathological liar who has already told nearly 9,000 lies since taking office. In truth, if the GOP is so against lies and liars, why are they still lying for him themselves? And why are they still defending the Liar in Chief? And why, most of all, are they still protecting the Incompetent in Chief, as he is otherwise known? Indeed, most who have worked closely with the OM since he became president, like his former Secretary of State and former Chief of Staff as well as his former Head of the Defense Department, have described him as “an idiot,” “a fucking idiot,” or simply as “a fucking moron.”
In reality, the OM obeys no rule of law or any law of morality. He is, in fact, a thug, acting in essentially the same way that a mob boss does. He even talks like a thuggish mob boss, calling out Cohen for being “a rat,” and threatening Cohen and his family, attempting to tamper with a witness the same way Don Corleone would.
As I pointed out in my blog last Wednesday, while the Republican members of the committee showed no interest in finding out what their president may have done before and after the election of 2016 to break the law, Democratic members used their allotted time to ask good questions, helping to expose the president’s potential high crimes and misdemeanors, which are adding up by the day. AOC, for one, laid out in a few questions a legal case for requesting and receiving the president’s tax returns since they could prove the president’s crimes of tax evasion, tax fraud and insurance fraud.
It should be evident by now to everyone with a working brain that the current resident in the Oval Office is a criminal. It was proven both by the corroborating evidence and the testimony that Cohen supplied last Wednesday. The only question remaining is what Congress is going to do about it. It is clear that the Democrats in both the House and Senate have already begun their case for impeachment, without calling it that, tiptoeing around that distinction while anxiously awaiting the final verdict contained within the Mueller report and the results of investigations in SDNY, even as they open many new House investigations in virtually every one of their committees. But, judging by the moral bankruptcy of the Republican members on the Oversight Committee, they will continue to protect their president to the very end, foolishly strapping themselves to the mast of his sinking ship.
The OM and the Republicans in Congress have no morals, no scruples and no convictions, other than remaining in power for power’s sake. Further, they have proven themselves utterly incapable of governing. The only thing left to do is to remove all of them from power, one by one or en masse.
As for the OM, he will remain the narcissist that he is to his heartless core, one who must win every time and at all cost. He will not bat an eye when his troubles bring down the entire GOP with him. In this, he demands absolute loyalty from his cult followers while offering none in return. If it comes down to it, and the president must choose between protecting himself or the Republicans in the House and the Senate, he will happily throw each one of them overboard. A true narcissist, he has no loyalty except to himself. He has no bounds of legality or ethics or even of depravity that he will not cross until they come for him and for his criminally inclined family, from all directions, most particularly from Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III, and from the prosecutors of the Southern District of New York, who may find it necessary to indict the president while he is still in office, or at the very least challenge the idiotic Department of Justice opinion that a sitting president cannot be indicted.
In what was the most poignant moment of the hearing last Wednesday, Michael Cohen looked at the “LIAR! LIAR! PANTS ON FIRE!” poster displayed behind the Republican members on the panel, and said, “I feel responsible for silliness like that. I did the same thing you are doing now for 10 years. I protected Mr. Trump for 10 years….And I can only warn [that] people who follow Mr. Trump, as I did blindly, are going to suffer the same consequences that I’m suffering….You don’t know him like I do. I watched his back for 10 years!....I didn’t go to work for Mr. Trump because I had to. I went to work for him because I wanted to. And I have lost it all.”
But the GOP members of the committee took no notice of Michael Cohen’s warning just as they took no notice of his suffering. One can only hope and pray that they, too, will learn the hard way from their own lies and mistakes, and find a way back to redemption once they are removed from office for their collective dereliction of duty.