Americans Make It Unmistakably Clear What They Really Think of Cohen: Only 37 Percent Found Him Credible


On Wednesday, a man who previously lied to Congress appeared again before Congress and swore he wasn’t lying to them. America wasn’t buying it.

Michael Cohen, Trump’s personal lawyer — or “fixer,” depending on how much the media outlet in question hates President Trump — went before the House Oversight Committee on Wednesday.

If you watched the full testimony — I had a 104.5 temperature and a headache that felt like a drill-happy dentist was treating my head like a cavity-ridden tooth, so I didn’t really have anywhere else to go — you noticed a few things. (I mean, aside from the fact that Rashida Tlaib easily remains one of the five most hypocritical members of the Democrat caucus and she’s only been in office for two months.)

First, according to “the fixer,” Trump was incredibly racist and horrible and played fast and loose with his finances. Cohen, a not-terribly-obscure lawyer who could no doubt secure rather famous clients, said that he was “so mesmerized” by Trump that he forgot his morals along the way or something.

Second, Trump helped orchestrate payments to Stormy Daniels to secure a non-disclosure agreement during the final days of the presidential campaign. (Or, if you’re one of those media outlets which uses the word “fixer,” he “paid hush money to a porn star.”) As the Washington Times notes, Trump says he was simply acting on the advice of his attorney, Cohen says that the president was involved in the “criminal scheme.”

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This wasn’t a surprise and quite frankly, there’s still a question as to whether this qualifies as a campaign expenditure or a personal expense. (Just ask John Edwards, who didn’t even use his own money but still remained a free man after he did something sort of similar but much more legally dubious.)

Third, he couldn’t verify any of the stuff Democrats really wanted him to. No, he didn’t have any evidence of Russian collusion. He says the president was informed about a WikiLeaks document dump by Roger Stone, but that Stone was a “free agent” whose association with the campaign was tenuous at best.

Cohen also stated unequivocally he was never in Prague — where the Trump dossier speculated he liaised with Kremlin officials — despite a McClatchy DC report from December of last year which stated his phone had pinged off of cellular towers in the region. He says Trump didn’t specifically instruct him to lie before Congress regarding real estate negotiations in Moscow. He thinks — but he can’t actually prove — that the president knew about the Trump Tower meeting with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya.

Like every single one of these lugubrious hearings (remember when Comey’s testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee was going to end the Trump presidency within a month?), there wasn’t a smoking gun, just someone who has every reason not to like the president stating how he didn’t like the president and trying to pin vaguely illegal things on him.

Do you think Michael Cohen is credible?

This time, the claims of illegalities were a bit more specific, but they also came from a convicted criminal. How much damage his words would have in the court of public opinion depends on how much America believed him.

As it turned out, not so much.

“Less than half of those surveyed in a new poll found Michael Cohen’s public testimony to Congress credible,” The Hill reported Friday.

“While more respondents said they found Cohen’s testimony to be credible than those who said it was not, the overall results suggest the high-profile appearance by President Trump’s former personal attorney is unlikely to be a political game-changer.

“Thirty-seven percent of registered voters contacted Feb. 28 and March 1 for The Hill-HarrisX poll said they found Cohen’s testimony credible, compared to 25 percent who said they did not find him credible.”

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“Thirty-nine percent said they had not yet formed an opinion of Cohen’s testimony.”

Democrats, you may not be surprised, were more likely to believe what he had to say, with 58 buying his testimony vs. 11 percent who thought he was lying.

Forty-eight percent of Republicans, meanwhile, said they didn’t believe Cohen against 15 percent who did. I’m going to float the possibility that at least a quarter of the respondents in that 15 percent came from the household of one Bill Kristol, but I digress.

Now, whether or not you think Michael Cohen is credible doesn’t make his words any less true if they are indeed the truth. Convicted criminals who secured a lighter sentence by their testimony can and do provide valuable and accurate information.

However, there are several things that erode Cohen’s credibility in a major manner. The first is that part of the reason he’s going to be spending time behind bars is that he went before Congress some time earlier and said things that were exactly the opposite of what he told us this week.

But this was all because he was “so mesmerized” by the president — as if Trump had some kind of Jedi mind tricks that made him do illegal things he otherwise wouldn’t do on his own. If it weren’t for Trump, Cohen may just have been the next Atticus Finch, at least in his mind. Do you buy that? I don’t, and America didn’t either.

Also, here’s one bit of his testimony regarding why Trump wanted to keep the Moscow real estate deal alive that could provide a window into why America didn’t quite buy Cohen:

“To be clear: Mr. Trump knew of and directed the Trump Tower Moscow negotiations throughout the campaign and lied about it,” Cohen told the committee. “He lied about it because he never expected to win the election. He also lied about it because he stood to make hundreds of millions of dollars on the Moscow real estate project.”

I can think of exactly one person who, on the day of Nov. 8, 2016,  was almost certain that Donald J. Trump was going to win the election. That person was Donald J. Trump. For better or worse, extreme self-confidence has been the hallmark of the Trump persona, before, during and after the campaign. He’s the best. The greatest. He’s amazing.

If Michael Cohen needs a motive for his story about President Trump orchestrating the subterfuge around Trump Tower Moscow and that motive involves Donald J. Trump believing he was going to lose the election, I would strongly advise him to try harder. One hopes upon hearing this explanation, the fine people with Robert Mueller’s special counsel investigation did a double take and simply told him to move on. One, alas, does not hope too hard.

But maybe the best argument to not believe Cohen came from Trump campaign spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany, who noted Cohen was “a felon, a disbarred lawyer and a convicted perjurer.”

“Now he offers what he says is evidence, but the only support for that is his own testimony, which was proven before to be worthless,” she added.

At least for the moment, a wide swath of America agrees — and that’s brutal news for Democrats looking for a path to impeachment.

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Morristown, New Jersey
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture