Cohen Cross-Examination and Other News

Michael Cohen is still being cross-examined today. As far as I can tell, the defense may be planting some reasonable doubt in jurors’ minds. However, it’s also the case that there is lots of corroboration for the prosecutor’s case. There’s very little Cohen has said on the stand that isn’t backed up, somewhere. They didn’t need him to testify to the facts but to tell the story of how the facts came together.

And as Maggie Haberman commented, “At the same time, prosecutors have and will demonstrate in closing arguments that Trump has told lies, big and small, about a number of people and issues in this case.”

So far, no “Perry Mason moments,” I don’t believe.

Update: Aaron Blake writes at WaPo that roughly half of the general public doesn’t believe the trial is “a sham.”  “Polling has consistently shown that Americans, while somewhat skeptical of the proceedings, are not adopting Trump’s claims of persecution,” Blake writes. “And in fact, there is now some evidence they could be moving in favor of the prosecution.”

In other news: There’s a new development in Israel. Yair Rosenberg writes at The Atlantic that The Israeli Defense Establishment Revolts Against Netanyahu. In brief, the IDF is fighting Hamas in areas that had been cleared on Hamas weeks ago. The military people are blaming Netanyahu for not allowing some kind of Palestinian government to be established.

In a televised address yesterday, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant—a former general and current member of Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party—publicly rebuked the government for failing to establish a postwar plan for Gaza. He then demanded that Netanyahu personally commit to Palestinian governance for the enclave, as opposed to Israeli settlement or occupation.

“Since October, I have been raising this issue consistently in the cabinet, and have received no response,” Gallant said. “The end of the military campaign must come together with political action. The ‘day after Hamas’ will only be achieved with Palestinian entities taking control of Gaza, accompanied by international actors, establishing a governing alternative to Hamas’s rule.”

Without such a political strategy, Gallant argued, no military strategy can succeed, and Israel will be left occupying Gaza and fighting a never-ending counterinsurgency against Hamas that saps the country’s military, economic, and diplomatic resources. “Indecision is, in essence, a decision,” he said. “This leads to a dangerous course, which promotes the idea of Israeli military and civilian governance in Gaza. This is a negative and dangerous option for the state of Israel.”

See also Josh Marshall.


16 thoughts on “Cohen Cross-Examination and Other News

  1. The cable coverage of this is really horrible. Bobble-heads sitting around reading testimony real time and offering mostly irrelevent opinions. A new low for CNN and msnbc!

    • I'm working on something else and occasionally checking into the coverage at the New York Times and Talking Points Memo to see if any bombshells have dropped. Apparently not. 

      • The trial doesn't really interest me much, or at least the coverage of it? Seems like just more illegal behavior that Stump will probably to walk away from. I don't see how they get all 12 to say guilty, too much hype, pre-trial publicity and chances are at least one of the jurors voted for Stump. To me if you voted for Stump you can't look at the case or anything else involving him objectively. I hope I'm wrong.

        • I'm watching Kos and NYT and they have decent coverage. Stumpy will walk and then we will have a explosion of chaos this fall. It is like the tech bros being "disruptors" where they turn something into a pile of sh~t, make a ton of money, and then with the pile of money work the system to legislate themselves more justification for being the solution to the sh@t they made. Read Zucker, that twitter guy and the X guy and the uber folks … trash everything around you and call yourself the only solution. Prepare yourself for hardship, if there is not outright chaos then every social encounter will be tainted by the Red/Blue divide. Yep, it sucks.

  2. I refuse to buy into the despair. Trump is not going down without a fight. He's spent a ton of money to delay his criminal trials with some success. They are delayed. Judge Loose Cannon and the USSC have twisted the judicial system entirely out of shape for Trump. But Cannon has been slapped down by the 11th Circuit before and might be again. The USSC has only themselves to blame for the stench of corruption. If they go too far out of line, Congress might ban the filibuster and pack the court when Democrats have both Houses of Congress and the presidency. Usually, messin' with the USSC is not viewed with favor by voters but after Roe it will fly I think, especially after the USSC blocked Trump's federal criminal trial. (For a while – they won't rule for Trump, just give him a shot at the election.)

    A ton of Republican judges ruled against Trump after the 2020 election. Trump has not (yet) made anything go away – he's just dragged out proceedings. If Trump loses the election, the criminal cases will go to juries. I do not think Trump will avoid prison after his third felony conviction, I completely expect the GOP to disintegrate when Trump is in prison – I use the word "disintegrate" with care and according to the root meaning, "Dis" meaning "undo" and "integrate" meaning operate as a unit.. Without Trump, every two-bit wannabe dictator in the party will try to grab control. A chunk of voters will stay in love with Diaper Don, or maybe Don Jr. But the list of MAGA governors and Senators with delusions is VERY long. They won't play nice because none of them intends to govern over a democracy. That's why I predict the power grab after Trump in the GOP will look like a cage match to the death with a dozen candidates locked in and no referee. 

    Trump is VERY eager to debate. IMO, it's a tactical mistake because Trump is polling well in the swing states. A bad performance in either debate could change that. My guess is that Trump is "high on his own supply." He believes the hype his side has written about Biden despite the performance of the Biden Administration and Biden thoroughly owning the GOP in the last SOTU addresses. If CNN will enforce the rules that both sides agreed to by cutting off Trump's mike when it's Biden's turn, the smart money will be on Biden. Trump won't prep for the debate, certain he can dominate Biden. On the other hand, Biden will prepare for the debate – it's already begun, I suspect. I've been reading quotes from Trump's rallies and sometimes viewing clips of Trump incoherently babbling. Nobody on Team Trump has the cohones to toss those clips in Trump's face with the warning that if Trump wings it on national TV with an audience of millions, he's toast. 

    Re the trial: Trump's defense has always been that the case is entirely about Cohen's testimony. According to TFG, is you don't like Cohen, there is no crime. My guess is that the defense close will ask the jury to disregard the testimony of Pecker, the evidence re McDougal, ignore what Stormy Daniels said, almost ignore the written evidence, and decide the case entirely on whether you like Cohen. The problem is that the jury may see Cohen as a dim reflection of a far more contemptible liar, DJT. 

    I'm really hoping for a guilty verdict – not betting, But optimistic. Joe needs to be locked and loaded with the list of civil and one criminal convictions with a summary of what each means, starting with Trump U, the Trump Charity, the Trump business, the E.Jean Carrol suits, the Civil trial (half-billion award) plus the mention of Rudy,s civil loss, the disbarment of Trump's lawyers and a count of how many convictions in the J6 cases that have been concluded. Practice it, Joe, until it rolls off your tongue.

    • It took me 3 days to get the joke behind Biden's quip: "I hear you're free on Wednesdays"

      Biden would run rings around Trump, esp if moderators control the mics and enforce the rules.

      I expect Trump to back out of the debates. They're arguing about it right now.

    • Trump may ACT like he wants to debate – and may actually feel he could win – but it's all bluster, in my opinion.  When it gets closer, he'll start talking about how it's all 'rigged' (Lara Trump is already creating the story, as are others) and will refuse to show up.  It's no different than when he claimed he was eager to testify at the trial…which isn't going to happen, either.

      If he were sent to prison (a hard thing to imagine, given the Secret Service protection complications), how long would he get?  I'm betting it would be a fairly reduced sentence – and don't forget that Hitler went to prison after his first failed coup attempt…and then proceeded to take over the country.  It would take a seriously long sentence to keep him from emerging and re-establishing his power base.

      I do hope you're right and he's locked up and the GQP falls into a squabbling, back-biting, circular firing squad mess – but, even then, they're still going to be dangerous.


  3. I'm reading that Barron Trump graduated from HS with both parents in attendance. Don the Con has an event in Minnesota so I'm guessing the congratulations were short and shallow.  The press should not stalk Barron as long as Barron isn't putting himself out there, and he hasn't. 

    The floating dock for Gaza is in place and operational. It's not a complete solution but it's a step in the right direction. I'm not sure what to make of the IDF pushback on the Gaza operation. IMO, Bibi is running the show to try to stay out of jail – the lack of a strategy that benefits Israel may be wearing thin on those who are paying the price of a useless war.

    Bibi is not going to want aid flowing into Gaza. How he may try to shut it down is unknown. Killing US servicemen would be a mistake – Bibi will want to take political control of the dock. Biden will be opposed to that. The bodies of a few hostages were discovered in Gaza – will this increase pressure to negotiate for the release of whoever survives or at least an accounting of their final disposition. 

    • Interesting commment. I'm not sure she will be defeated in November but her relevance is over with members of the GOP in the House, probably even if Trump wins. She can't play well even with those on her own team! 

      Kinda like Rick Scott but with tits.


  4. A few interesting tidbits from Saturday (when nothing happens.)

    First: Rudy thought it would be fun to taunt AZ for their failure to serve him with a criminal subpoena. Looks like Rudy thought AZ had given up and gone home. Yesterday they crashed his Palm Beach birthday party and served him in front of Bannon and Stone. "He laughs best who laughs last."

    Second: Trump is reportedly demanding Biden be drug tested before the debate. This is a continuation of the fable Trump started that Biden was too alert at the SOTU where he cleaned the GOP's clock. Trump was eager to debate Biden, but he's having second thoughts. This is Trump trying to carve out an excuse not to debate – which will be a defeat for Trump if he chickens out. The debate might well go badly for Trump and he's lining up excuses in advance in case he needs them. 

    Third: To extend Maha's remarks above re Gallant, who criticized Netanyahu over the mismanagement of the war, another member of the War Cabinet, former defense minister Benny Gabtz threatened to withdraw from the government if there's not a plan for the war with Hamas by June 8. I don't keep up with politics there, but the threats from within the government, from within Netanyahu's own party seem pretty severe. I'm not making predictions but a radical change in direction pointed in the direction of reconciliation would radically change Biden's fortunes in the election.

    I am preoccupied with Gulag's situation, probably because I'm headed there eventually. My dad "got religion" in his later years, concerned (I think) about the hereafter. I'm firm in my religious and ethical convictions with no inclination to find an organized religion for consolation. (If it eases your nervousness as the annual digits click over, go for it.) My political convictions overlap heavily with my ethical outlook. Religion(s) are like different genres of music – if a particular "sound" works for you, that's what you should listen to. I think the hereafter will be so different from what I can conceive, it's a futile exercise to envision what's beyond my senses. 

    My take on Gulag's most recent comment is that the support and recognition he got (and deserves) meant something. He's clever, irreverent, and his moral compass points to true North. If there are blogs in the afterlife, he's gonna be a hit – when I catch up, I'll know him no matter what screen name he's adopted.

    • I'm right there with you on Gulag, he's a one of one for sure! When I had cancer my chances of dying were there but fortunately for me it was caught early and completely removed it's been 13 years I think? Anyway even as a godless pagan those thoughts (maybe I should find the lord) entered my mind but in the end I decided if there really is an after life best to be judged on who you really are. Seems like changing teams at the last minute aint really going to work anyway. As the great Steve Earle says in the song below: "It always seemed to me that praying the same as begging lord and I don't take no charity"!

    • "Trump is reportedly demanding Biden be drug tested before the debate", as predicted!  If only I knew how to pick a horse 

    • Organized religion is just packaging around the central spiritual figure, whoever they happen to be. It's necessarily created by people of a lesser conscience. To the degree it helps people tune into the central figure, it's good, otherwise it's a distraction, at best. So many people don't get past the packaging.

      Gulag is wrong about one thing: When Sagan (and Joni Mitchell) said "we're stardust" he meant the atoms in our body. Atoms heavier than hydrogen and helium – such as carbon, oxygen and all the heavier elements are created as stars age and die, thru nuclear fusion. They have nothing to do with our spirit, they're purely the grist from which our bodies are made, which will return to dust when we depart.

  5. If only cameras were allowed in the courtroom. Tons of free advertising – Don Snoreleone – for Biden.

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