Michael Cohen House Testimony Transcripts Released

Two transcripts of Michael Cohen's appearances before the House Intelligence Committee, previously under seal, were released today. Here is Adam Schiff's statement on why the Committee voted to release them.

Cohen’s February and March 2019 testimony corroborate information previously received by the Committee, including the Trump Tower Moscow deal under negotiation throughout the 2016 election season by then-candidate Donald Trump. Cohen also presented significant and troubling new detail regarding the false statement that he provided to our Committee in August 2017 and for which, in part, he is now in prison.

Since Cohen’s testimony, the Committee has already begun to follow up on information that Cohen provided related to attorneys for others involved in a joint defense agreement – including Jared Kushner and Donald Jr. and Ivanka Trump – to determine whether they aided in Cohen’s obstruction of the Committee’s investigation.

The February transcript is here, and the March transcript is here.

< Trump Ramps Up Vocal Threats to Iran | Government Seeks 17 Years for Son of Ismael Zambada-Garcia >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • Display: Sort:
    In a rare public (5.00 / 2) (#17)
    by KeysDan on Tue May 21, 2019 at 08:05:11 PM EST
    statement, Mueller "corrected" a Buzzfeed report in January 2019 that claimed Michael Cohen testified to the effect that Trump told him  to lie to Congress.  Mueller responded that the Buzzfeed Report was "not accurate".

    Buzzfeed's report generated quite a media stir with movement toward impeachment.  Mueller's "not accurate" quenched the fire permitting Trump to claim fake news.  However, the newly released House intel information belies the black and white response of Mueller suggesting that the Special Counsel could or should have been less cryptic.  it appears that such direction by Trump may have been indirect, but via his personal attorney.  

    Mueller is, apparently, reluctant to appear before the House. Or, mostly, in closed session because he does not want to be political.   Really?  He made his report political by bringing its resolution to the attention of Congress.  Mueller should be subpoenaed. Enough is enough. It has been six weeks since the report's release.  Barr has lied about it and many aspects need clarification, owing to Mueller himself.

    As A First Step (none / 0) (#18)
    by RickyJim on Tue May 21, 2019 at 08:23:48 PM EST
    Mueller should give his testimony in private to the committee staff.  They should get out of him all they places they need to look to get the goods on Trump, stuff which might be in the redacted parts of his report.  Having him testify in public  might not be necessary until the Senate trial. Once the details of Trump's financial frauds are known, getting him out of office should be a peace of cake.

    I was thinking (none / 0) (#19)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue May 21, 2019 at 09:29:40 PM EST
    Get him to testify.  In private if necessary.  Then release the transcript.

    It feels like the climate is beginning to change.  There was a Politico piece about republicans becoming uncomfortable with the idea the congress has no role in oversight of the executive.

    I think the reason for that is obvious.  They are looking at Trumps numbers and realizing there could be a democratic executive in Jan 21.  This whole "congress has no right to oversee me" thing is looking less and less attractive.


    Also (none / 0) (#20)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue May 21, 2019 at 09:32:12 PM EST
    Rachel's whole show was about how the walls around his financial stuff is crumbling faster than the wall around everything else.  And it really is.

    And you are right.  That's what will bring it all down.


    Yes, (none / 0) (#26)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed May 22, 2019 at 07:15:02 AM EST
    truly all the court cases regarding accountants are going to be over pretty fast.

    What so many impatient Democrats ... (none / 0) (#1)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Mon May 20, 2019 at 10:31:22 PM EST
    ... are presently characterizing as slow and ineffective, is what I belive most attorneys call "exhausting all remedies" before petitioning the court for injunctive relief. That's what we're seeing occur here.

    Look, Trump's impeachment is inevitable. Speaker Nancy Pelosi knows that our best chance for a successful outcome is to avoid the appearance of being entirely too eager to pull the trigger on the ultimate of constitutional processes.

    And by standing firm under pressure and allowing the legal process to run its course by dotting every "i" and crossing every "t", Ms. Pelosi is actually strengthening the House's hand once the battle is squarely joined.


    And what Trump and Barr want (5.00 / 2) (#3)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue May 21, 2019 at 08:22:29 AM EST
    Is for all that t crossing and I dotting to take just long enough that we will be close enough to the election they can start screaming playing politics with the election.

    We impatient democrats are not stupid . We get it.  We get what the stated reasons Nancy has are (even if we don't entirely buy them).  We are just beginning to disagree.

    Nacncys big thing is there is no "bi-partisan" support in the senate.

    That's because there is little public support.  That's because most people did not and will not read the report but if they had non stop hearings that would change.  20 is an election year for Republicans too. It's quite possible enough of them might not want to appear to be protecting a clearly corrupt president.

    But that's not going to happen unless the democrats DO something besides wrong their hands.

    There ARE things they could be doing.  Do them.


    Also (5.00 / 2) (#5)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue May 21, 2019 at 08:38:14 AM EST
    It starting to be laughable that her big reason for not going after Trump is because there is no support in the senate but she continues harping on her "message" and healthcare and blah blah blah

    For which BY THE WAY there is exactly the same possibility of support for passing it in the senate.

    Inconvenient fact.  There is exactly one thing they can do on their own.  Oversight.  Which happens to be what they were elected to do and what they will be punished for not doing.

    she is playing a political game.  And the click is ticking.  


    Nader (none / 0) (#7)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue May 21, 2019 at 09:01:55 AM EST
    Is doing something.  And it on CNN and MSNBC.  Points to Nader

    Trump and Pelosi (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by KeysDan on Tue May 21, 2019 at 12:19:04 PM EST
    share one component of different strategies---delay.  Trump's goal is to keep a good, lucrative job and stay out of jail, which are not mutually exclusive.  Pelosi's goal is to hold the horses and defeat Trump at the polls.  However, I fear her goal will suppress the Democratic voter turn- out in a way that Republicans like Georgia Governor Brian Kemp could only dream.

    ... is everyone here rather more interested in seeing that House Democrats engage in some sort of public kabuki for their personal satisfaction?

    I want you to game this out here with me. First, I think you and most TLers here would agree with the painfully obvious, which is that Trump is hiding something fark and foreboding and so absolutely terrible, he's willing to go to some rather extraordinary lengths to keep these secret(s) from becoming public knowledge.

    Therefore, and I ask this respectfully and sincerely, what makes you believe that Trump will suddenly respect the rule of law and with it, Congress's inherent right to conduct oversight over his administration, should Speaker Pelosi give the green light to House Judiciary Chair Jerrold Nadler to open an impeachment inquiry?

    Because from my vantage point, given Trump's behavior thus far, I'd offer better than even odds that he will thumb his nose at that impeachment inquiry, too -- and further, Attorney Gen. Bill Barr will fully support him when he does.

    Now, indulge me this short digression. Yesterday, regarding over the House Oversight Committee's subpoena of financial records from Trump's accountant, U.S. District Court Judge Amit Mehta ruled that because our U.S. Constitution is self-evident, Congress does not necessarily need to open an impeachment inquiry in order to conduct its constitutionally prescribed oversight activities of the executive branch, particularly as it pertains to its right of subpoena and discovery:

    "It is simply not fathomable that a Constitution that grants Congress the power to remove a president for reasons including criminal behavior would deny Congress the power to investigate him for unlawful conduct -- past or present -- even without formally opening an impeachment inquiry." (Emphasis is mine.)

    (And in a rather delicious bit of irony, the Trump administration's appeal of Judge Mehta's decision has been assigned to Federal Appellate Judge Merrick Garland of the First U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Karma can be a real b*tch. Okay, that's enough digression.)

    So, regardless of whether or not discovery is conducted through either the regular committee process or a formal impeachment inquiry by the Judiciary Committee, it's highly likely that the present argument over the extent of that discovery will be decided in federal court, probably all the way up to SCOTUS.

    Now, let's please understand that impeachment was envisioned by our country's founders to be both a political act and a legal process. When making that decision, both aspects need to be balanced accordingly if the outcome is to prove successful.

    And while I'm not an attorney, I am familiar with the doctrine of civil and criminal procedure called "exhaustion of remedies," whereby redress or satisfaction cannot be sought in another forum such as federal court until all other avenues of remedy have been exhausted in the forum having original jurisdiction -- which, in this particular case, would be Congress or more specifically, the U.S. House of Representatives.

    Therefore, because the argument over discovery in this matter will probably and ultimately be decided by SCOTUS, the House's legal case will be greatly strengthened by Speaker Pelosi's ability to demonstrate and prove to the satisfaction of at least five justices that she first exhausted any and all other potential remedies before finally authorizing the move to impeach.

    At that point, once Pelosi demonstrates that she's met that legal threshold, the burden of proof will squarely shift to Trump and AG Barr as the appealing parties, who will need to show cause as to why the administration and the Dept. of Justice are in defiance of validly issued and legally binding congressional subpoenas. Given Judge Mehta's ruling yesterday -- in which his repudiation of Trump's argument was not unlike watching a bouncer toss a rowdy drunk from a bar -- that will likely be problematic:

    "Courts have grappled for more than a century with the question of the scope of Congress's investigative power. The binding principle that emerges from these judicial decisions is that courts must presume Congress is acting in furtherance of its constitutional responsibility to legislate and must defer to congressional judgments about what Congress needs to carry out that purpose. To be sure, there are limits on Congress's investigative authority. But those limits do not substantially constrain Congress. So long as Congress investigates on a subject matter on which 'legislation could be had,' Congress acts as contemplated by Article I of the Constitution.

    "Applying those principles here compels the conclusion that President Trump cannot block the subpoena to Mazars. According to the Oversight Committee, it believes that the requested records will aid its consideration of strengthening ethics and disclosure laws, as well as amending the penalties for violating such laws.  The Committee also says that the records will assist in monitoring the President's compliance with the Foreign Emoluments Clauses. These are facially valid legislative purposes, and it is not for the court to question whether the Committee's actions are truly motivated by political considerations.  Accordingly, the court will enter judgment in favor of the Oversight Committee." (Emphasis is mine.)

    And that's why, in my own honest opinion, I consider it both counterintuitive and counterproductive to rush to pull the trigger on impeachment before the legal process has played out completely. Following the lead of Judge Mehta, who fast-tracked his decision, other judges will probably not allow trump's legal team to run out the clock.

    Therefore, if Democrats harbor any hope at all of a positive outcome for impeachment, public opinion has to be squarely behind the effort. And to rally public opinion, House Democrats have to engage in a formal and public process of discovery.

    But in order to do so, House Democrats will not only need to demonstrate sufficient political resolve, they will also require the assistance of the federal judiciary in that effort. And to convince the judiciary to weigh in and compel the Trump administration to comply with a congressional directive, they must show that the due process of law has been followed and respected, which requires every "i" to be dotted and every "t" crossed.

    Speaker Pelosi knows that while we're not quite there yet, we're close. And for her part, in order to seal the deal with the public, she needs to show that she's come to a decision to authorize impeachment rather reluctantly, and not allow the Republicans to mischaracterize her as somehow salivating over the prospect. Even though the GOP will likely do so regardless, why make it easy for them?

    We're actually a lot closer to impeachment than you apparently think we are. And that's why I'm counseling public patience. We need to stand behind Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her House committee chairs, who are doing the heavy lifting here. Let's not risk undermining them politically because matters are not playing out as quickly as they would on an episode of "Madame Secretary." Otherwise, the present effort will fail, and it will not be resurrected any time soon -- regardless of whatever other outages Trump & Co., LLC commit.



    You don't know (5.00 / 3) (#14)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue May 21, 2019 at 06:32:12 PM EST
    What committee chairs want and neither does Nancy but many of them are beginning to make it clear.  Try a search on the subject.  But she will find out tomorrow morning

    House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will convene a meeting Wednesday morning to hear from Democrats on whether to move forward with impeachment proceedings against President Trump.

    Also you are entitled to your opinion.  My opinion is Pelosi does not want impeachment.  Now or ever.  Because she as usual is fighting the last war.  She thinks Trump is Clinton.  He isn't.

    It will be interesting to see what comes from the meeting tomorrow.  I am inclined to think she will begin to see to logic.


    I guess she has (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed May 22, 2019 at 06:34:39 AM EST
    forgotten that Clinton's approval also was in the 60's and Trump's latest is 38 and that Nixon had way higher approvals when the Watergate hearings started.

    You need better sources, Donald (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by Peter G on Tue May 21, 2019 at 10:10:58 PM EST
    You say, "the Trump administration's appeal of Judge Mehta's decision has been assigned to Federal Appellate Judge Merrick Garland of the First U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals." But Judge Garland does not sit on the First Circuit (which is based in Boston, and hears appeals from the federal courts of Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Puerto Rico); he is chief judge of the District of Columbia Circuit. Moreover, no appeal is "assigned" to any particular single judge, and certainly not on the day the appeal is filed. Federal appeals are decided by panels of 3 or more judges, typically assigned at random from the full bench of a dozen or so, after the briefs are filed. Garland is chief judge (which is basically an administrative position) of the court where the appeal will be heard. That does not put him in charge of this appeal in particular.

    now the appellate panel is announced (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by Peter G on Thu May 23, 2019 at 03:38:53 PM EST
    Judges Rao [Tr*mp-appointed right-winger], Millett [Obama-appointed moderate] and Tatel [Clinton-appointed liberal, and blind, by the way], on July 12. Not Garland. All three of those judges are super-smart. Will be interesting to learn how Rao votes, that is, whether the ruling is 2-1 or 3-0 to uphold the subpoena.

    Excellent summary of the subpoena cases (none / 0) (#29)
    by Peter G on Thu May 23, 2019 at 09:18:45 PM EST
    by the great court journalist Lyle Denniston at the Constitution Center blog.

    It's (none / 0) (#2)
    by FlJoe on Tue May 21, 2019 at 05:26:12 AM EST
    not so much the legal process as the political theater of it. Pelosi needs to appear to be dragged into it.

    I thought so once (none / 0) (#4)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue May 21, 2019 at 08:25:04 AM EST
    I just watched an interview on MJ.

    I think she does not want to do it period.  I think she wants to stall until the election because she thinks that's better politics.

    That's what I think.  I think it's what others are beginning to think.  I think it's wrong and I don't think it is sustainable


    Watch it (none / 0) (#6)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue May 21, 2019 at 08:48:08 AM EST

    Hear all about finding common ground with Trump


    Nancy Pelosi (5.00 / 2) (#8)
    by KeysDan on Tue May 21, 2019 at 11:10:02 AM EST
    was the best choice for Speaker of the House, in my view, since experience and savvy was needed to navigate the often arcane rules and procedures and to deal legislatively and politically with Trump.  That has proved to be the case.

    However, her successes, to date, seem to have escaped her in considerations of impeachment, foundational to which are her demonstrable strengths in the face of Trump's modus operandi.

    She won over, even her doubters, by determination in matters such as Trump's belligerent shutdown/shakedown of the government to the symbolic hand-clap at the State of the Union.

    However, Speaker Pelosi, I believe, fundamentally is adverse to leading an impeachment, or even an inquiry into impeachment. She took it "off the table" at the beginning of  Bush's term.  And, she announced, in the case of Trump, "that he isn't worth it."  True, he isn't, but the country is.

    It was my hope that the Trump debacle would outdistance these inclinations. That members of her caucus would convince her to move ahead. And, that is still apt to happen.

    The Speaker's argument, as expressed in the Mika interview, continues to be dispiriting. This may be a case where "experience" is not necessarily a virtue--recalling the historical interpretations/misinterpretations of Clinton or Nixon.

    The country has already had a long investigation--the two-year Mueller investigation with a report that serves as a base for investigation, one that can be built upon and illuminated for the electorate. The facts are evident, despite the redactions. Holding out for "the facts" is admirable, but unnecessary to impeachment investigation. Indeed, comes across as an excuse, and a lame one at that. Congressman Amash might be a good consultant.

    Every day we can expect another scandal that generates data that should be converted into information (e.g. Deutche Bank, House intel transcripts, journalist's investigations) but they fall by the wayside starved of further investigative attention. Impeachment does not hinge on McGhan, an unfamiliar name to most Americans.  There are other witnesses that can get the ball rolling.

     It has been said that the book needs to be made into a movie.  Or a TV series. That is the task and message that the Speaker needs to provide. That is the patriotism she holds out for. And, in my view, political success in 2020.


    Please see my comment #12 in this thread. (none / 0) (#13)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Tue May 21, 2019 at 06:30:32 PM EST
    At this point, I have to assume that even if the House opens an impeachment inquiry, the Trump administration will continue to obstruct justice and not cooperate in the proceedings. It won't do any good to open an impeachment inquiry if the House Judiciary Committee is precluded from engaging in discovery.

    I'm convinced that Trump actually wants the House to impeach him. Only he wants them to do so without having any access to the evidence necessary to convince the Senate and by extension, the general public, that the president needs to be removed. That will render the impeachment process overtly political, which is right up his wheelhouse, whereas Speaker Pelosi and Messrs. Nadler, Schiff, et al., needs that process to be seen by the public as based upon the law.

    To engage in a proper discovery process, the House will need assistance from the federal judiciary and likely, the U.S. Supreme Court. Nancy Pelosi is playing to SCOTUS's gallery, not ours.



    The position (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by KeysDan on Tue May 21, 2019 at 10:00:13 PM EST
    of the Speaker is no longer viable. An impeachment inquiry follows the people' s law, the US Constitution.  The procedure is the optimal means to determine if the president has betrayed his oath of office committing high crimes and misdemeanors.  The Mueller Report provides a base for further investigation of crimes.  The results of counter-intelligence.investigation remain unknown---an investigation initiated by the FBI to ascertain if the president is an agent or asset of a foreign power.  

    Post (none / 0) (#15)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue May 21, 2019 at 06:37:30 PM EST
    Leading the charge are members of the House Judiciary Committee who have been increasingly frustrated with the Trump administration's blanket refusal to cooperate with congressional requests for documents and testimony. Some confronted Pelosi at a private meeting of the House leadership Monday, seeking to convince her that an impeachment probe would be the most effective way to hold Trump to account, even if he is never formally impeached.



    Another great quote from that post article (none / 0) (#16)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue May 21, 2019 at 06:47:19 PM EST
    From Mitch

    "You know my view: The case is closed," he told reporters. "My impression is that the leadership in the House is not so keen on that option and doesn't think the business of presidential harassment is actually a great way for them to go into the 2020 election."

    Pleased to see that my new Congressional (none / 0) (#23)
    by Peter G on Tue May 21, 2019 at 10:16:12 PM EST
    Representative (thanks to the state supreme court decision striking down Pennsylvania's gerrymandered map), a member of the House Judiciary Committee, has come out for opening a formal impeachment inquiry.

    No Evidence (none / 0) (#24)
    by jmacWA on Wed May 22, 2019 at 05:39:41 AM EST
    Only he wants them to do so without having any access to the evidence necessary to convince the Senate and by extension, the general public, that the president needs to be removed.

    Donald, pleas tell me what evidence could ever convince the GOP cravens in the Senate to convict.  I am in favor of impeachment, and then let the senate fail to convict.  You know the GOP would do it, so what is it in the Democratic psyche that refuses to see that the GOP will always go for blood and expect the Democrats to compromise?


    Speaking of banks and money... (none / 0) (#10)
    by fishcamp on Tue May 21, 2019 at 12:22:41 PM EST
    "The real truth of the matter is, as you and I know, that a financial element in the larger centers has owned the Government ever since the days of Andrew Jackson".          
    Franklin D Roosevelt

    Mnuchin nixes Tubman... (5.00 / 1) (#30)
    by desertswine on Thu May 23, 2019 at 09:44:05 PM EST
    Mnuchin said that a redesigned $20 bill would not be released until 2028, essentially punting a decision to put Harriet Tubman on the note to a future administration.

    So as to not offend Trump, I presume.  You know how Dumpty loves Jackson and then there's that little racist thing.


    Not only racist, but (none / 0) (#31)
    by Jack E Lope on Fri May 24, 2019 at 10:43:15 AM EST
    ...we should remember the aversion to money with women on it, here in the USofA.

    That means double the resentment.  Or maybe triple, with the reminder of slavery in America.

    There may be some people who just love genocide, and they would miss all those engraved portraits of Indian Killer Jackson.


    Something (none / 0) (#11)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue May 21, 2019 at 03:05:30 PM EST
    Hope? (none / 0) (#27)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed May 22, 2019 at 08:56:15 AM EST

    Vanity Fair reporter Emily Jane Fox, who's covered Hicks for years, agreed the media company's ultimate responsibility to shareholders does put the former White House official and Trump confidante into a precarious position.

    "She took this new job at New Fox, which is a (Rupert) Murdoch-owned company," Fox said. "Someone who I spoke to for the story explained to me, it is sort of Trump light, right? She's not totally out of the Trump universe -- this is a company that would accept someone who worked in the Trump administration. It's not like going to a new company that had its reservations and hesitations about someone who worked in the Trump administration."

    But ultimately, her career fate could be decided by business, and not just politics.

    "At the end of the day, they have shareholders," Fox said. "Someone who is in a big, prominent position within the company, being dragged back and forth for months on end over a legal battle, is not good for the company, it's not good for investors."

    Worth mentioning that it might be owned by Rupert but it's now being run by the sons who do not like Trump and are said to be behind the Networks cautious move toward sanity.