Can Cohen be trusted? Partially.
Updated: Jan 11
Michael Cohen, President Trump's former lawyer and fixer, testified before Congress Wednesday. But when he spoke to them in 2017...he lied about Trump's interest in building a skyscraper in Moscow. So can we trust him?
I believe we can to a close extent — or at least, we should consider his information.
Cohen lied in 2017 because, in his own words, he was not testifying to tell the truth. He was testifying to protect Trump who, at the time, needed his business to be as far away from anything Russia-esque as possible. That doesn't apply today.
Cohen didn't (by Wednesday afternoon, at least) say anything about Trump telling him to lie with words. Instead, he said Trump made it clear that "he wanted [Cohen] to lie" and reinforced it when Trump's "personal attorneys reviewed [his] statement before [he] gave it to Congress."
He isn't bound by Trump's looming figure, now. He's bound by a looming three years in prison, set to begin May 6. He's bound by a family that was very present during his sentencing a few months ago.
That doesn't mean we shouldn't take these with a few big grains of salt. We certainly should — he still lied to Congress, and he's still lied to many others. He was complicit to doing Trump's dirty work, after all, so his statements should still be questioned.
But that's not the point. I'm not looking for direct answers from Cohen's hearing. I'm looking for a point in the right direction.
Regardless of if you believe what the guy is saying or not, you can't deny some of the financial statements and other documents and pieces of evidence that he brought to the hearing. Those will likely prove to be insightful, as will his take on Trump's business, for the Committee and Congress as a whole in their pursuit to the full truth of Trump's 2016 campaign.
Robert Mueller's investigation is only part of the picture. People will most likely be disappointed with what they find if the investigation finds daylight. It might not (probably won't) give Congress an Impeaching-For-Dummies baseline. It won't expand beyond Russian meddling and affairs with the U.S. rival country because it's not focused on those things — however, it might point investigators in the right direction by leaving pieces of evidence that need more looking into, in much of the same way Cohen's testimony could.
We'll leave it up to the Committee and the law, after all, but this testimony could be a turning point, leaving the public with a slew of new information to consider when they ask themselves how much they trust the president.