Today the president finally made it to Vietnam (his bone spurs must have healed) but Trump’s second meeting with Kim Jong-un was far from the central focus on the day.
8,756 miles away, the president’s ex-lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen gave his second day of testimony but his first day of public testimony. To say it was a circus is greatly disrespectful to circuses. Circuses bring joy. No one got joy from today’s circus.
Before the insanity started there was a warm-up act that involved one of the most icky freedom caucus clowns, Representative Mark Meadows—who immediately demanded a postponement using congressional rule 9F, which states that witness testimony needs to be received 24 hours in advance. Democrats quickly moved for a vote that they won and Meadow’s motion was tabled. Then, apparently seeing that that tactic wasn’t working, a panicked-looking Jim Jordan interrupted Representative Meadow and went full insane conspiracy theorist by accusing CNN of being in cahoots with Michael Cohen.
“You know who had this material before all the members of the committee?” Jordan seethed. “CNN had it before we did. CNN had [it] before we did.”
And that was when the hearing finally started. A deflated-looking Michael Cohen glumly hung his head but read an extremely compelling opening statement that included the usual assertion that the president was a cheat, conman and a racist; and then unusual assertion that “he was a presidential candidate who knew that Roger Stone was talking with Julian Assange about a WikiLeaks drop of Democratic National Committee emails”.
This caused Jim Jordan to have what can only generously be described as an epic Tucker Carlson-style rage attack; this time he called Cohen both a “fraudster” and a “convicted felon”. It’s almost as if Jim forgot that Michael Cohen was the president’s lawyer and fixer for 10 years.
There were many moments of epic failure for House Republicans during the whole charade. One of the more pathetic was when Congressman Mark Meadows brought Eric Trump’s wedding planner Lynne Patton to stand behind him so that the American people could see that Donald Trump was not a racist because his second son’s wedding planner is black. This is a few steps more pathetic than the “I can’t be racist because I have a black friend” defence. It’s also the most relevant Eric Trump has ever been.
Another extremely questionable moment came when Representative Gosar (who is most famous for being a dentist and having his six siblings campaign for his opponent) presented an enormous sign that said “Liar Liar pants on fire”. At one point Gosar backed up what his sign was proclaiming by adding: ”You’re a pathological liar. You don’t know truth from falsehood.”
Cohen responded, “Are you referring to me or the president?”
Then there was Rep Carol Miller from the state of West Virginia, who launched into an endless tirade about what a waste of time this hearing was, thus wasting everybody’s time.
But the more Republican members of Congress harassed and berated Michael Cohen, the more Michael Cohen seemed like a broken man desperate for redemption. One could clearly see the dark circles under his eyes, the shame in his affect, the sorrow in his voice.
It’s hard to feel sympathy for the man who harassed journalists and paid off porn stars, but it’s possible that the GOP Congressional morons may have achieved it. There was something uniquely ridiculous about watching Rep Meadows and Rep Jordan scream at the president’s lawyer combined with numerous, lesser-known representatives wasting their five minutes complaining that the hearing shouldn’t have happened in the first place.
Perhaps the Cohen hearing was the perfect metaphor for the maggot-eaten rotting corpse that the Republican party under Trump has become, filled with grandstanding and incompetence but still trying desperately to spin a completely unspinnable narrative, to whistle like the boy alone in the dark, to keep themselves from the realisation that Trumpism is doomed and with it the future of the party they hold so dear.
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