Here’s the thing about Wednesday’s public House Oversight Committee testimony from Michael Cohen: much of it will focus on matters that Cohen already discussed privately on Tuesday with the Senate Intelligence Committee. We’ve spent the past day watching for clues from the members of that committee, and there are two that stand out rather remarkably.
The first clue came from Democratic Senator Mark Warner, the ranking member on the Senate Intel Committee. After he finished listening to Michael Cohen’s private testimony, he made this remark to a gang of reporters: “When this investigation started, I said it may be the most important thing that I’m involved in in my public life in the Senate. Nothing I have heard today dissuades me from that view.”
In other words, the mild mannered Warner is taking the already-high expectations for Michael Cohen’s public testimony, and making a point of ramping those expectations up even further. That’s significant, because it means that Warner sees Cohen’s accusations (and cooroborating evidence) against Donald Trump as being the real deal.
The second clue is that not a single Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee bothered to try to discredit Michael Cohen after the hearing, or to leak the specific accusations in the hope of disputing them. In other words, even Donald Trump’s allies on the committee appear to think Cohen’s evidence and testimony are so damning, they’re afraid to even try to defend Trump on it. Get your popcorn ready.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report