Former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen’s public Wednesday appearance before the House Oversight Committee has quickly proven contentious. Republicans have claimed that Democrats are simply steamrolling the testimony through in a partisan effort to undercut the GOP and President Donald Trump — and Massachusetts Democrat Stephen Lynch is among those who aren’t remotely interested in putting up with that argument.
After Georgia Republican Jody Hice complained that Cohen’s appearance constituted the committee “losing our credibility” and a “shameful mockery of what our purpose is,” Lynch walked through a list of the many former Trump associates who’ve pleaded guilty to federal crimes as part of the Russia investigation and passionately asserted:
‘You want to talk about a low point?.. For two years — you want to talk about an agenda! — my friends on the other side of the aisle refused to bring any of these people up before the committee!… Your side ran away from the truth, and we are trying to bring it to the American people.’
After Hice claims that Dems just want to bring down Trump, @RepLynch says, “for 2 years, my friends on the other side of the aisle refused to bring anyone up before the committee… Your side ran away from the truth. We are trying to bring it to the American people.” pic.twitter.com/nPSL90BBP1
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) February 27, 2019
Cohen’s appearances before Congress this week run in part, as Lynch suggested, on his stake in the long-running Russia scandal. He’s soon going to jail for three years in part because of lying to Congress about the scope of efforts to construct a Trump Tower in Moscow.
Since then, he’s abandoned the president’s side and asserted that he now intends to let Congress and the American people know what really happened behind the scenes during his time with Donald Trump.
Republicans have worked to keep that from happening, but their powers are limited since they’re not in the majority in the House. Still, at the very beginning of Cohen’s Wednesday appearance, GOP Reps. Mark Meadows and Jim Jordan attempted to pressure Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) into postponing the hearing because Cohen had supposedly stuck it to the the GOP minority in submitting his opening statement hours after it would be traditionally required. The implication was that Republicans didn’t have enough time to prepare.
Although it’s not a secret what the committee’s party breakdown is, the GOP sought a recorded vote on their motion to postpone the hearing anyway, which failed.
Before those involved ever even gathered for the hearing, Florida Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz attempted his own method of getting the testimony shut down, intimidating Cohen with claims of infidelity which he had absolutely no apparent evidence for. The situation is similar to when the Trump team suggested that Cohen’s father-in-law is connected to organized crime, again with absolutely no apparent evidence.
Once the hearing actually got underway, Republicans again kept on with their intimidation efforts. Jordan, for instance, attempted to insist that Cohen actually has no remorse for his past wrongdoing and therefore shouldn’t be trusted now, and the former Trump fixer promptly shut him down, insisting:
‘Shame on you, Mr. Jordan.’
When they again spoke later in the hearing, Cohen aptly noted that it was “interesting” that not a single Republican had at that point asked him a question about President Trump, with the party remaining seemingly forever intent on keeping the truth about him from being scrutinized for too long.
Featured Image via Screenshot from the video