This entire televised spectacle of his testimony before the House Oversight and Reform Committee was absurd. The now-Democratic-run panel brought back a disbarred lawyer—already convicted of perjuring himself before Congress—to commit more perjury under oath.
Eager to testify before Congress about what he supposedly knew of extensive Trump-related criminal activity in the hope of getting his three-year prison sentence reduced, Cohen instead managed to get himself hit with fresh perjury accusations.
It’s not just that Cohen decided to perjure himself yet again under oath before Congress—it’s that he decided to perjure himself on such easily provable lies.
He claimed vociferously that he never wanted or sought a job in the Trump White House, something that is laughable on its face, considering the number of people he hounded for just such a job and interviews that he gave shortly after the election, some of which are on video.
Even before Cohen testified, the DNC media complex was in full spin mode, regaling its ever-shrinking audience with tales of all the huge bombshells Cohen would testify to in front of congressional lawmakers.
The actual televised hearing was an unmitigated disaster. Before it was over, Cohen had dropped two crucial bombshells—just not the ones the anti-Trump media wanted:
- Trump never directed him to lie to Congress
- He had never been to Prague
Each of these admissions is problematic for the anti-Trump narratives in its own way.
BuzzFeed and its defenders were still forlornly hoping that Cohen would somehow manage to vindicate the fake news article the site had published, claiming the Mueller special counsel team had been given documentary evidence from Cohen proving Trump had ordered him to lie about a real estate deal to build a new Trump Tower in Moscow.
As I wrote in an earlier column, this article from BuzzFeed was so disastrously wrong that the special counsel’s office took the highly unusual step of releasing a public statement that pointedly asserted that BuzzFeed’s story was false.
Far from tossing BuzzFeed a life preserver in his latest testimony, Cohen stated under oath that Trump didn’t order or direct him to lie to Congress. Not once during his testimony did he mention any documentation he is claimed to have given to the special counsel that would prove Trump ordered or directed him to perjure himself.
Recall that BuzzFeed reporter and serial fabulist Jason Leopold asserted during an interview that he had personally seen the documents that supposedly were in the possession of the special counsel. The other reporter for the BuzzFeed story, Anthony Cormier, stated in a different interview that he’d seen no documents whatsoever. Oops!
Steele Dossier Shenanigans
The entire “Trump–Russia Election Collusion” narrative hinges on Cohen having been in Prague in 2016 because that is a central assertion of the Steele dossier—and if that central claim turns out to be false, the entire house of cards collapses.
Leaving aside that the Steele dossier itself is an amalgamation of unverified stories told to Christopher Steele by shady unknown Russians—who are still anonymous to this day—and that it was Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee who paid Steele to collect these fanciful tales from these anonymous Russians, the “Cohen in Prague” claim contained in the dossier was one of the first to be conclusively debunked.
And yet, over the past two years, there have been repeated attempts to rehabilitate both Steele and his dossier’s unverified claims.
The last such attempt was in December 2018, when McClatchy News attempted to resurrect the “Cohen in Prague” dossier allegation by publishing a story about Cohen’s cell phone being “pinged” in the “Prague area” in 2016. Completely “trustworthy” anonymous sources assured McClatchy’s Peter Stone and Greg Gordon that European intelligence agencies had the records to prove this. The reporters themselves saw no such records, so the report was dubious at best.
Now, Cohen has explicitly stated under oath on live television before the entire country the same thing he’s been saying for two years: He’s never been to Prague, never been to the Czech Republic, and he’s never been to Russia, either.
It remains to be seen if there’s some enterprising news outlet out there that will have another try at rehabilitating the “Cohen in Prague” claim. My guess is probably not.
If Mueller had any evidence whatsoever that Cohen had traveled to Prague to pay people for having engaged in the crime of hacking in order to steal emails, you’d have seen that long ago. “Collusion” may not be a crime, but paying people for committing criminal acts certainly is.
In case you are wondering how the DNC media complex coped with this utter debunking of the Steele dossier and its claims, the answer is that they started moving the goalposts without skipping a beat.
CNN legal analyst Renato Mariotti quickly rushed out a piece in Time Magazine explaining why it was never really the job of the special counsel to “prove collusion.” Instead, Mueller will nail Trump’s scalp to the wall based on “evidence” Cohen supposedly testified to that allegedly proves Trump engaged in “obstruction of justice” and violated campaign-finance laws.
This isn’t journalism or news reporting. This is wishcasting and fan fiction presented as news analysis. This is why the story keeps changing as you see them drop the “collusion” narrative they pushed for over two years to suddenly begin hyping up “obstruction of justice” and “campaign-finance violations.”
Anything real against Trump that Mueller had would have been leaked long ago, and yet still, at this late stage, media outlets are desperately hoping that somehow Mueller has an ace hidden up his sleeve that he’s about to toss onto the table.
Brian Cates is a political pundit and writer based in southern Texas and the author of “Nobody Asked For My Opinion … But Here It Is Anyway!” He can be reached on Twitter at @drawandstrike
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.