Cohen Hearing May Have Led to Breakdown in North Korea Talks, Trump Says

March 4, 2019 Updated: March 4, 2019

President Donald Trump ripped into Democrats on March 4, saying that the timing of the Michael Cohen hearing may have contributed to the president walking away from a deal with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

House Democrats scheduled testimony by Cohen for the same day Trump was to have his second meeting with Kim in Hanoi, Vietnam, to negotiate the denuclearization of the communist regime. Cohen used the hearing to slander Trump, drawing attention away from the historic summit.

“For the Democrats to interview in open hearings a convicted liar & fraudster, at the same time as the very important Nuclear Summit with North Korea, is perhaps a new low in American politics and may have contributed to the ‘walk.’ Never done when a president is overseas. Shame!” Trump wrote on Twitter.

Cohen, Trump’s former personal attorney, testified before the House committee on government oversight on Feb. 27. Cohen is scheduled to begin a three-year term in prison for lying to Congress and financial fraud.

As Cohen testified, Trump was meeting with Kim in Hanoi. While the two leaders were optimistic about securing a deal heading into the talks, Trump walked away from the negotiating table after the North Koreans made unacceptable demands.

The United States and South Korea scaled back military exercises in the wake of the Hanoi summit. Trump wrote on Twitter that the move will save U.S. taxpayers “hundreds of millions of dollars.”

“That was my position long before I became President,” Trump wrote. “Also, reducing tensions with North Korea at this time is a good thing!”

Establishment media outlets, which overwhelmingly cover Trump in a negative light, devoted more time to the Cohen hearing than the summit. The New York Times positioned its article on the Cohen testimony above its coverage of the Trump-Kim summit.

House Democrats scheduled the Cohen testimony after both the House and Senate intelligence committees concluded that there is no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. Special counsel Robert Mueller, who is also investigating the same allegations, is also expected to not accuse any Trump campaign associates of colluding with Russia in his forthcoming report.

As no proof of collusion is expected to surface in the Mueller report, Democrats and establishment media outlets seized on the Cohen testimony as an opportunity to sustain the collusion narrative. Meanwhile, Cohen testified that there is no evidence of collusion.

The Cohen hearing is one of several efforts by House Democrats to scrutinize the president, a tactic that Trump calls “presidential harassment.”

“Presidential harassment by ‘crazed’ Democrats at the highest level in the history of our country. Likewise, the most vicious and corrupt Mainstream Media that any president has ever had to endure,” Trump wrote on Twitter.

“Yet the most successful first two years for any President. We are WINNING big, the envy of the WORLD, but just think what it could be?”

South Korean officials are looking for ways to restart talks with North Korea. South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha said she would push for a fresh round of three-way talks with North Korean and U.S. officials, built on a January gathering in Stockholm.

Reuters contributed to this report.

Follow Ivan on Twitter: @ivanpentchoukov
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