Cohen in Congress
February 28, 2019

Two Republican congressmen want the Department of Justice to investigate Michael Cohen as they accuse him of lying to Congress — again.

Reps. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) in a letter to the DOJ on Thursday said they are referring "significant evidence" that Cohen "committed perjury and knowingly made false statements" during his Wednesday testimony before the House Oversight Committee. Jordan and Meadows are both members of the committee.

The two Republicans lay out numerous instances where they claim Cohen perjured himself, such as when he said that he did not want to work in the White House. "This is demonstrably, materially, and intentionally false," the letter says, citing court filings from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York as saying Cohen expected a White House gig. CNN has also reported this.

In another instance, the congressmen said "we believe" that Cohen lied about contracts with foreign entities, and they also suggest he lied about having "never defrauded any bank" and about committing crimes due to his "blind loyalty" to President Trump. It even takes issue with his testimony about the @WomenforCohen Twitter account, suggesting his statement that he didn't set the fan account up himself "may also be false," which they argue would be "material to the committee's assessment of Mr. Cohen's character and credibility."

Cohen's attorney, Lanny Davis, responded on Thursday by saying that Cohen "testified truthfully" and calling this a "baseless criminal referral" from "two pro-Trump committee members." He also called the letter a "sad misuse of the criminal justice system with the aura of pure partisanship." Brendan Morrow

February 28, 2019

President Trump said Thursday that his former lawyer Michael Cohen's testimony to the House Oversight Committee on Wednesday that Trump is a racist, cheat, and conman is "incorrect," and he blamed House Democrats for hosting Cohen. "I think having a fake hearing like that, and having it in the middle of this very important summit, is really a terrible thing," Trump said at a news conference in Hanoi. "They could have made it two days later, or next week, and it would have been even better."

Most of the House hearings dealt with Trump's alleged financial misconduct and campaign-finance conspiracy, and committee Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) specifically forbade questions that might impede on Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation, as committee Republicans frequently pointed out. But Cohen's testimony that he saw no direct evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Moscow was the one silver lining in the otherwise dark cloud for Trump. Cohen "lied a lot," he claimed, but he did not lie about "the Russian collusion," and "I was a little impressed by that, frankly." Trump spent most of the rest of his answer denying "collusion" and calling Mueller's investigation a "hoax" and "Russian witch hunt." Watch below. Peter Weber

February 27, 2019

Many may have been expecting Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) to present an explosive comment during Michael Cohen's testimony on Wednesday, but the true mic-drop moment came from Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Ill.) when pressing Cohen about his thoughts on President Trump's racist behavior.

"Would you agree that someone could deny rental units to African-Americans, lead the birther movement, refer to the diaspora as 'sh*t-hole countries,' refer to white supremacists as 'fine people,' have a black friend, and still be racist?," asked Pressley. Michael Cohen replied, "Yes."

Rep. Pressley (D-MA): "Would you agree that someone could deny rental units to African Americans, lead the birther movement, referred to the the diaspora as 's***hole countries' & refer to white supremacists as 'fine people' have a black friend & still be racist?"
Cohen: "Yes."

Earlier in the day, several Republican representatives stated that they had never heard Trump make racist comments in their presence. Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) even pointed to Lynne Patton, who has worked for the Trump Organization and is now an official for the Department of Housing and Urban Development, as proof that Trump could not be racist.

Meadows went on to clash with Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) shortly after Pressley's comments, when she stated that "just because someone has a person of color, a black person working for them, does not mean they aren't racist ... that someone would actually use a prop, a black woman in this chamber, in this committee, is alone racist in itself." Meadows called her condemnation racist. Amari Pollard

Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI): "Just because someone has a person of color, a black person, working for them does not mean they aren't racist and...the fact someone would actually use a prop, a black woman in this chamber, in this committee, is alone racist in itself."

February 27, 2019

It's been a stressful day for a lot of people: Michael Cohen, who had to testify before the House Oversight Committee; the White House staff, who were hit by statements made under oath that contradict President Trump; and, perhaps most of all, the talking heads on Fox News, who have to figure out how to put a positive spin on what looks to potentially be very bad news for the president.

For the team on The Five, though, the stress got to be too much — and nearly led to blows. Things started to boil over when Juan Williams pointed out that Trump has a consistent pattern of paying hush money to people who threatened his reputation. Greg Gutfeld and Jesse Waters didn't let Williams finish, though, butting in to ask if their colleague, Morgan Ortagus, was ever going to be allowed to speak. It devolved quickly from there: "You're always finishing!" Gutfeld shouted at Williams. "There's someone sitting there who hasn't said a d--n word!"

"You are so deep in the bunker!" Williams shot back to which Gutfeld responded: "Oh, shut up, Juan."

The conversation briefly got civil before a fight again broke out about whether Williams' reference to "the bunker" was likening Gutfeld to Hitler. Really. Watch the rest below. Jeva Lange

February 27, 2019

During the homestretch of Michael Cohen's testimony before the House Oversight Committee on Wednesday, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) asked her questions with an eye on the future.

The freshman lawmaker, who has emerged as a rising star in the Democratic Party, used her time to focus on building a possible case for tax fraud committed by President Trump during his time with the Trump Organization. Her questions led to Cohen listing two more Trump Organization officers who he says were aware of Trump providing inflated assets to an insurance company — Ron Lieberman and Matthew Calamari.

Ocasio-Cortez's line of questioning received praise from analysts.

Watch part of the congresswoman's exchange with Cohen below. Tim O'Donnell

February 27, 2019

President Trump's former lawyer, Michael Cohen, concluded his voluntary appearance before the House Oversight Committee on Wednesday with a grave warning. "My loyalty to Mr. Trump has cost me everything," Cohen said, adding: "I will not sit back, say nothing, and allow him to do the same to the country. Indeed, given my experience working for Mr. Trump, I fear that if he loses the election in 2020, there will never be a peaceful transition of power, and this is why I agreed to appear before you today."

It was a dark final note to an often heated hearing, in which Cohen painted a picture of his former boss as a "racist," a "conman," and a "cheat."

"I pray the country doesn't make the same mistakes that I have made," Cohen said. Watch his concerning closing remarks, including his direct message to Trump, below. Jeva Lange

Jeva Lange

February 27, 2019

At the time of publication, it has been seven hours since Michael Cohen first sat down before the House Oversight Committee and began to answer questions about his role as President Trump's loyal fixer. That's a lot of time to learn how Trump potentially played an active role in negotiating Stormy Daniels' hush money payments — and to generally become very, very familiar with the yellow-green walls of the Rayburn House Office Building committee room, and to meditate on the possible symbolic meanings behind Cohen's tie color du jour.

It is also a lot of time to stare at a tiny Deer Park water bottle.

With its label proudly facing the camera, the mini water bottle has stood stoically by Cohen's side since the hearing began (it was later joined by a partner). A division of Nestlé Waters, the Deer Park water bottle brand has serendipitously amassed an estimated $641,592 in on-air equivalent advertising time just by sitting beside Cohen, reports Apex Marketing Group.

While many political figures under the sort of pressure Cohen is facing crack and do crazy things with their water bottles, Trump's former lawyer has handled his hydration with grace. "Wow!" one approving viewer tweeted. "Michael Cohen can drink from his water bottle using only one hand, unlike his boss!" Jeva Lange

February 27, 2019

Will Michael Cohen's testimony be remembered as the beginning of impeachment proceedings against President Trump?

That's what NBC's Chuck Todd suggested on Wednesday, calling the Cohen testimony the "first unofficial hearing of the impeachment process." Whether "you want to call it that or not," Todd said, "that's what history" will reflect.

Todd said these issues will be decided "either at a ballot box or on the floor of the United States Senate," and the hearing offers a preview of how Republicans will defend Trump, namely by trying to deflect the blame and "put it on everybody else." This isn't to say that Todd thinks Democrats have a rock solid case, though, as he added that for now, the White House has "enough lack of evidence, if you will, to at least plausibly keep the president protected."

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) had argued early on in the hearing, during which Cohen made numerous explosive allegations against the president, that the whole thing was a stunt organized by Democrats trying to "find somebody somewhere to say something so they can try to remove the president from office.” Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) argued Wednesday that "we're not there yet" on impeachment, while Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) said "there's growing evidence that an impeachment pleading can be made, but I think there's more that needs to be evaluated.” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), when asked if there's enough evidence for impeachment, said, "We'll see." Brendan Morrow

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