It’s Michael Cohen Day in the Manhattan Trial

I’m following Michael Cohen’s testimony at Talking Points Memo and The New York Times. (No paywall.) I like the Times for following trials because they update very frequently. Maggie Haberman just posted this:

It’s remarkable that Trump currently has senior elected officials, including a possible future vice presidential nominee, sitting in this courtroom listening to a recording of the former president, as a candidate, talking with his lawyer about paying for material from The National Enquirer. It underscores how completely Trump has gotten the party in his grip since those moments in September 2016 when this tape was made.

The “possible future vice presidential nominee” is J.D. Vance, who is sitting in the courtroom live-tweeting, or I guess it’s Xing now, stuff about how it’s all a sham and poor Trump is being railroaded. He’s sitting behind Eric Trump, who is also Xing. The Times is covering the Xs.

Michael Cohen’s testimony is being accompanied by reminders to the jury about how past witnesses such as David Pecker said the same thing. The prosecutors also re-played a recording of a conversation between Cohen and Trump. My impression is that they want to remind the jury that they’ve got the receipts and that everything Cohen is saying can be corrorborated. I’m sure they anticipate the defense will try to tear Cohen apart as a liar.

I will update if anything interesting happens.

Update: First, Trump Nap Watch. Jonathan Swan reports that “Trump’s eyes are closed and he appears to be sleeping, as he has through most of today.” Forbes has a timeline of Trump naps.

Probably anticipating what the defense will do on cross, the prosecutors are getting out in the open that Michael Cohen was angry at Trump for cutting a promised bonus in 2016. In fact, a big sub-context of a lot of the testimony is all about Trump stiffing people. The reason Michael Cohen was acting as go-between and making all kinds of arrangements to pay David Pecker to “catch and kill” the Stormy Daniels story was that Trump had stiffed Pecker in the past. Pecker wouldn’t do anything without the money up front, and Trump wasn’t opening his wallet quickley enough. That put Cohen on the hook to scrape money together he didn’t have.

11 thoughts on “It’s Michael Cohen Day in the Manhattan Trial

  1. They've been swearing up and down that no one should listen to "convicted perjurer Michael Cohen!"

    Thing is, in every other similar case I've heard of, Cohen's a powerful witness. He was convicted of lying, for saying "me and DJT didn't perform a criminal act, which we actually *did* perform." He went to jail for the crime; why would Trump be immune to jail for the coverup?

    I have no idea where the meme that Cohen's a terrible witness comes from. I suspect it's wishful thinking, and, it provides an automatic mulligan on a conviction for their candidate because it was  " based on the testimony of CONVICTED PERJURER…etc.."

  2. Is it any mystery why I feel like the worst of middle school skullduggery, (which most of us outgrew or never participated in), is now infused in a major faction in our society, and that faction is trying like hell to take over our government, using only those middle school BS techniques.  I've had this feeling since the awful presidency which we had to endure.

    • So true.  Trump was better off when scout Cohen was in his tent pissing out. Now scout Cohen is outside his tent pissing in.  Has this all always been about one golden shower or another?  Very juvenile.  

    • "True terror is to wake up one morning and discover that your high school class is running the country"

      Kurt Vonnegut

      I think Kurt was being generous. Times have changed and it is more like middle school.

  3. I approve of Cohen's testimony. I'm not sure how much I can believe without supporting documentation. Cohen's report about Trump stiffing him for the promised bonus sounds about right when you crank in that Pecker had been cheated by Trump as well as contractors who got twenty cents on the dollar or nothing. 

    Cohen is on tape intimidating a journalist from before the breakup with Trump. Pretty nasty stuff. Cohen was guilty of non-Trump-related crimes including his interest in the taxi business in NYC. Previous witnesses in this trial have painted an unflattering picture of Cohen. He's what the prosecution has available – Mother Theresa is not available and she doesn't have testimony related to the case.

    I have not seen the defense – like the jury, I'm waiting. But unless there's the Perry Mason moment to beat all Perry Mason moments, I think the combined testimony will prove that Trump paid Cohen back for an illegal campaign contribution to preserve Trump's election chances. That's a felony conviction before the election.

    It's the LEAST significant of the criminal cases but it's gonna be on the books and Democrats, including Biden, can run with it. Stack it up with the civil convictions and you get a picture of a thoroughly disreputable cheat. Can we get that portrait in front of the voters who do not want to look at either candidate? 

    •  Mother Theresa is not available and she doesn't have testimony related to the case.

       From what I hear Mother Thereza wasn't the charitable soul she was cranked up to be. She might have fit right in with the Trump organization.

  4. Don't worry, how long do you think I'll be on the market for? Not long,” 

    Of course not long, with Kimberly Gilfoyle waiting in the wings to upgrade from Jr. to Sr.  Come into my web said the spider to the fly.

  5. Cohen has stepped on a lot of toes, many of them in the media.  Though he is on a path of redemption, they are not quick to forgive and forget.  

    I have known a few people who have escaped from a cult.  It is not easy to grab control back of your life after you have gone slave.  

    A few posts ago, Swami posited an interesting definition of soul, relating it to the truth.  Cohen admits he lied and filed false documents and statements in this case.  The state contends this was a series of misdemeanors which merits treatment as a felony because it was done to interfere with an election, a bit of election fraud if you will.  Cohen's testimony supports the people's contention.  Cohen does not appear to frame himself as a former cultist.  He seems to portray himself more as an opportunist and coat-tail kind of guy.  That is close.  

    Will Cohen achieve redemption?  Has Cohen found his soul?  It seems at least he has covered himself a bit for the history books … if they are not banned before they are written.  

    At least Cohen seems to see the damage he has done, while Trump just denies being the wreaking-ball he continues to be.  At least we know Trump will never admit to the mess he made and attempt to help clean it up or atone for it.  If Satan exists and Trump has a Soul, that Soul must be Satan's prize possession.  Trump's soul appears to be the perfect anti-truth using Swami's notion.  

    I'm willing to give Cohen a break as a former cultist, there is a need for role models who break from corruption.  


  6. @Bernie – I've read that Cohen really liked the whole idea of being a mob lawyer. He liked the excitement and danger, of being an outlaw. He got his wish in DJT. As for cults, there's a continuum of behaviors and beliefs, degrees of  surrendering your independence and free will, that characterise cults. Working for a corporation is a low-level cult; participating in a formal religion or political movement is more cult-like, and so on. IMO Cohen was a functionary in the DJT cult, but he really got off on being an outlaw. One can imagine him as a kid wearing a black hat while playing cowboys and Indians.

    • I do believe that Michael Cohen did get off on being the heavy in conducting himself as Donald Trump's henchmen. There's no doubt that that is a flaw in his character that still remains with him. I don't believe that he's purged that characteristic. Not everybody has the emotional stability to handle power. I hope he grows past it by finding security in the love of his family.

       I also believe his experience with Trump lead him to a place where he came face to face with who he has become. I assume he is sincere when he says having to face his wife and children for what he had done was a pivotal moment in reevaluating is life. What has more value then the love and respect of your family? I hope he works on himself. Just providing material things doesn't compensate for not providing consideration of those you claim to love in all that you do.

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