Michael Cohen for the win

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Ever since it was announced that Michael Cohen would be testifying today, there’s been a certain portrayal of him as being an out of control, highly problematic, dangerous witness for the prosecution. Based on some cable news segments over the weekend, you’d think he was about to get on the stand and totally short circuit. But I don’t see it. At all.

We all know who Michael Cohen is by now. We’ve watched it play out over the years. We’ve seen the good, the bad, the ugly. We’ve lived through the years he spent committing crimes at Trump’s instruction. We’ve enjoyed the years he’s since spent trying to rectify that. And while he’s changed rather massively on the moral scale, he’s maintained the same oversized personality throughout.

I think it’s that last part that creates some confusion. Sure, he does an abrasively in your face podcast. And yes, he likes to refer to Trump by nicknames like “Vonshitzinpants.” But if you’ve watched Cohen testify against Trump in the past, whether it was in front of Congress or in the various civil trials, you’ve seen a very different side of him. He’s someone who clearly understands the difference between sparring on social media and providing legally meaningful testimony.

And so I’m not worried about Michael Cohen. After all the media buildup this past weekend about how his testimony was going to be a risky roll of the dice for prosecutors, I expect that his testimony will be largely clinical in nature. Prosecutors have already made clear to him in trial prep what they want from him, and that’s what he’s going to deliver. Keep in mind that Cohen has already given this same testimony to the grand jury in this case. If prosecutors didn’t like what he had to say back then, they wouldn’t be bringing a case right now with him as a central witness.

If anything, I expect that the risky rolls of the dice will come from the other side. Trump is losing this trial so blatantly that even he’s probably figured it out by now. So what stupid antics is he going to have his hapless attorneys try in the name of upending the narrative? And how badly will such antics backfire on Trump?

Cohen knows that at this point all he has to do is walk in, answer the questions succinctly, and walk out with a likely Trump criminal conviction in the bag. It’s Trump who’s up against a wall, desperate, and erratic to begin with. Cohen won’t be a problem for the prosecution today, but Trump could very well be a problem for Trump.

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