Michael Cohen spent a decade as Trump's high-profile lobbyer, toady, defender and personal attorney. And then one day, he decided that he hated Donald Trump and became Donald Trump's mortal enemy. A big change. How did that happen?
Well, Cohen told Congress this week that he had a kind of a road to Damascus experience. He was personally and morally offended by what his boss said on two occasions. First, after the "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville, that was the summer of 2017 and later, when he watched Trump's meeting with Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Finland about a year later. Those two scandals, both of them fraudulent, entirely manufactured by the left and its servants in the media, changed Michael Cohen's mind forever.
Democrats must have been gratified to hear that. Michael Cohen is a sensitive, progressive now. He is tormented by climate change and his own toxic masculinity. He is basically a one-man crusade against privilege. He is a new man. That's his story.
Well, now comes a Daily Mail piece that puts a different gloss on it. It turns out, just weeks before the FBI raided his offices last summer, Michael Cohen was shopping a book proposal. In the manuscript, which the Daily Mail has, Cohen professes love and admiration for Donald Trump. In the book proposal, Cohen defends the president against claims that he is "crazy, dumb, paranoid, in over his head or a liar" -- all claims that Cohen made this week before Congress. Keep in mind that Cohen wrote the book proposal well after Charlottesville and Helsinki, those scandals that just changed him as a man.
It turns out that Michael Cohen is not a very reliable narrator. But too late, he is the narrator the Democrats have chosen, and they are stuck with him. They brought him to Capitol Hill on Wednesday in the hope, the expectation, that he would prove the Russia conspiracy true.
He didn't. Instead, he demolished that conspiracy. Nobody on the left wants to admit that, but we have the tape. Let's start with the claim that Cohen held secret meetings with Russian agents in Prague in an effort to steal the 2016 election. On its face, it sounds nuts, but they have been telling you that for years. Even John Brennan has said it. Whatever his faults, he was literally the head of the CIA, the most powerful intelligence agency in the world, and he claimed to believe that. Oswald went to Mexico City, Cohen went to Prague ... it's the perfect conspiracy.
Except that Michael Cohen has never been to Prague. He testified to that on Wednesday. And by the way, he had no incentive to lie about it.
"Have you ever been to Prague?" Rep. Ralph Norman, R-S.C. asked.
"I have never been to Prague," Cohen responded.
"I've never been to [the] Czech Republic."
"Never been to Prague" ... but I kind of like the music. How frustrating it must have been for Rep. Adam Schiff to hear that. "Never been to Prague." This was the part where Michael Cohen was supposed to admit swapping micro-film with Vladimir Putin in the sauna at the Prague Marriott. Instead, he looked kind of mystified and admitted he had never even been to the country. Michael Cohen is from Long Island. He pretty much stays there.
Instead of confirming the Russia conspiracy that dominated and controlled American politics for more than two years, Michael Cohen just refuted it. What kind of witness is this guy anyway? This is getting very frustrating. Where do we get to the part where he blows the Russia case wide open and they lead Big Orange away in handcuffs and Hillary can be the president?
Okay, let's try this again. How about the claim that Vladimir Putin's agents have video of Donald Trump cavorting with hookers, and that's how they've managed to blackmail Trump into saying nice things about Russia. We've been hearing about that since the day BuzzFeed first claimed it. If there is a hooker tape out there, I think it's fair to assume that Michael Cohen would know about it. He is that kind of guy, a hooker tape kind of guy. Now would probably be the time he would tell us all about it, but no.
"Are you aware of anything that the president has done at home or abroad that may have subjected him to or may subject him to extortion or blackmail?" asked Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md, at Wednesday's hearing.
"I am not. No," Cohen said.
"Okay, are you aware of any videotapes that may be the subject of extortion or blackmail?"
I've heard about these tapes for a long time. I've had many people contact me over the years. I have no reason to believe that that tape exists.
Oh damn, he did it again, straying from the script. Instead of confirming the Russia conspiracy that dominated and controlled American politics for more than two years, Michael Cohen just refuted it. What kind of witness is this guy anyway? This is getting very frustrating. Where do we get to the part where he blows the Russia case wide open and they lead Big Orange away in handcuffs and Hillary can be the president?
Well, here is an idea, let's just ask him directly. Did the Trump campaign collude with the Russian government during the 2016 election? Michael Cohen would know. He was there. By the way, it's almost a rhetorical question. Democrats have long been absolutely certain that it happened.
"I think there is plenty of evidence of collusion or conspiracy in plain sight," Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., has said.
"We saw cold, hard evidence of the Trump campaign, and indeed the Trump family, eagerly intending to collude, possibly, with Russia," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said.
"Plenty of evidence." "Cold, hard evidence." Well, if anyone can provide that kind of evidence, it would be Michael Cohen. After all, he was Donald Trump's -- is that really his name? No, it's Donnell Troponovich. He was Donnell Troponovich's personal attorney during the years that Troponovich was accepting suitcases full of rubles in exchange for subverting American democracy.
"Based on what you know, would Mr. Trump or did he lie about colluding and coordinating with the Russians at any point during the campaign?" asked Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla.
"So, as I stated in my testimony, I wouldn't use the word 'colluding,'" Cohen replied. "Was there something odd about the back and forth praise with President Putin? Yes. But I'm not really sure that I can answer that question in terms of collusion."
The balloon just deflated. Talk about a let-down. No meeting in Prague. No blackmail. No collusion. No Russia conspiracy at all. It was all a hoax. It was a much less interesting Loch Ness monster. You've got to be feeling a little silly right now if you ever believed any of this.
But wait. We've got one last idea. There is still a way Michael Cohen could send Donald Trump to prison even without Russia. What if Cohen could confirm that Trump once told him to lie to Congress? That would be obstruction of justice, at the very least. It would certainly be a crime. BuzzFeed ran a story alleging that happened. Yes, BuzzFeed is a cat blog run by unhappy people in Brooklyn. But who knows? Maybe there is something there. Certainly, cable news was convinced they had the latest bombshell from the cat blog --our last hope to end this infernal presidency and return to the happy status quo of 2010.
Our hopes are on you, Michael Cohen. Did it actually happen? The reveal, please?
"You lied to those congressional committees, is that correct?" Greg Steube, R-Fla., asked Cohen at Wednesday's hearing.
"Previously?" Cohen asked.
"You stated that Trump never directed you to lie to Congress. Is that correct?"
No. Four for four. Michael Cohen strikes out. Game, set, match. The Trump presidency continues. The other team looks despondent. You can hear weeping from the press box.
But wait, before we head to the parking lot and drive home, one final piece of business: What about all of the lies you just heard, not from Cohen, but from the others? Blackmail. Collusion. Russia, Russia, Russia! Are any of the liars who told those lies going to be punished for lying? Is anybody going to lose a job? Or a reputation? Or a contributor contract? Maybe just what happened to Carter Page? That might be enough.
Is there any penalty for being relentlessly and recklessly dishonest for two solid years? For intentionally misleading the public in the service of a political agenda and a political party? The Democratic Party? Is a single person even going to concede what just happened, much less apologize for it?
Of course not. It's Washington. They will all be promoted tomorrow. You watch.
Adapted from Tucker Carlson's monologue from "Tucker Carlson Tonight" on February 28, 2019.