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The Cohen Hearings: The Aftermath

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One of the Republicans on the committee asked Cohen if it was “exhausting” for him to keep track of all his lies.

My immediate reaction (and I wished Cohen had said it) was “If it’s not exhausting for Trump to keep track of 8,000 lies, then it wasn’t exhausting for me to keep track of the few I told which, by the way, were at Mr. Trump’s orders.”

It’s laughable, isn’t it, how these Republicans attacked Cohen for lying, given their refusal to say a word of criticism about Trump’s prodigal lies. The best line of the hearings was from a Democrat: “These Republicans aren’t upset by Cohen’s past lies,” he said. “They’re upset because he has now stopped lying.”

Ain’t it the truth! There was not a single person in that hearing room, including the Republicans, who didn’t know full well that Trump had multiple affairs with porn stars or “escorts,” that he paid hush money to keep them quiet, that he ordered Cohen to pay that money and then to lie about it, and that Trump himself lied about it, to the media and to the American people. There they sat, these deplorable neo-fascists, browbeating Cohen, embarrassed by what his testimony revealed about their leader, knowing how unfit Trump is for office, and yet defending him with maniacal passion. They truly were profiles in shame.

Did Elijah Cummings, the chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, deliberately schedule yesterday’s open hearing in order to take attention away from Trump’s meeting with North Korea’s Kim? I don’t know, but even if he didn’t, it worked out serendipitously. What Trump hates the most is not to get credit for the things he thinks he’s doing well. This is good strategy on Democrats’ part; this is a battle over perceptions, after all, and Democrats are quite right to try and control the public perception of Trump as a doddering, lying, ineffective and dangerous fool, even as Republicans are right to try to counter all that with their own depiction of him as a triumphant president of significant accomplishment. Mueller, too, has played this game, often timing his news flashes to coincide with and overshadow Trump’s activities. Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who knew a thing or two about politics (heck, he practically wrote the book), noted that, “In politics, nothing happens by accident. If it happens, you can bet it was planned that way.” The Russians also understand this; “not by accident” did Facebook and Twitter turn into weapons of mass destruction against Hillary Clinton. Not by accident did all of Trump’s associates, including his family, manipulate events to facilitate the release of the stolen emails. Not by accident did Trump fire Comey. So perhaps it was no coincidence that yesterday’s hearings completely stole the spotlight from a day that otherwise might have been very good for Trump.

Anyway, we can rest assured that Trump’s legal woes are far, far from over. It is good that a bad man should find himself in trouble, especially a bad man who has caused so much injury to others. Is there anyone who has been associated with Trump who has not been hurt or even destroyed? The only individuals around him left standing are his children, his son-in-law, Jared, and his wife, Melania—and there is no assurance that they, too, will not eventually suffer the same fate as Michael Cohen, or Paul Manafort, or Roger Stone. Somebody yesterday—I forget who, it was on T.V.—said he felt sorry for “poor Melania,” whom he depicted as a nice woman who doesn’t deserve the pain and sorrow of knowing her husband is a serial adulterer. I disagree, strongly. Melania seems to me to have been a “gold digger,” an old term for a poor but ambitious woman who sets out to marry a rich man, and will do whatever it takes to make it happen. Such a woman is shrewd, unethical and vengeful. That’s the Melania I see…no one to feel sorry for.

In fact, in this whole dreadful Trump saga, there is no one to feel sorry for, except the American people, upon whom has been inflicted one of the worst catastrophes in our nation’s history. America’s resilience, though, is strong; we bounce back. We will recover from this, too.

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