Updated: Mar 31, 2019
Michael Cohen’s Congressional Testimony may have not gone as planned, but it sparked many larger conversations and investigations.
By Meg Taylor, News Editor
Many people hoped Michael Cohen’s testimony before the House Oversight Committee would uncover damning evidence about Donald Trump. The reality of the trial– Republicans repeatedly attacked Cohen’s character and ignored all the evidence implicating the president; however, the trial successfully opened the nation to a discussion on becoming more civilized not only in government but to each other.
Cohen accused the president of having knowledge of the WikiLeaks email dump on Hillary Clinton during the 2016 election. Trump’s former personal attorney also admitted to lying on behalf of the president (regarding negotiations of Trump Tower Moscow, among other things) and violating campaign finance laws. Cohen’s sole purpose of testifying was to expose Trump for the racist, conman, and cheat that he is; he needed a safe platform to do so.
“Ladies and gentleman, we are in search of the truth. The president has made many statements of his own, and now the American people have a right to hear the other side. They can watch Mr. Cohen’s testimony and make their own judgement,” said Chairman Elijah Cummings. “Today is deeply disturbing and it should be troubling to all Americans… The days of this committee protecting the president at all costs are over.”
To combat the evidence presented during the trial–such as the check signed by the president and addressed to Cohen to reimburse him for the Stormy Daniels hush-money payoff– Republicans continually tried to obliterate Cohen’s credibility. Their favorite tactic utilized was name calling; they referred to Cohen as a convicted liar among other things and a felon who is going to prison for lying to Congress.
The hearing lasted roughly seven and a half hours. What was supposed to be a hearing to give Cohen the opportunity to voice his side of the story turned into a bashing not only of Cohen but of party members. Cummings’ final statement encompassed Cohen’s personal suffering and crimes together with the suffering of the nation and the malpractice of those currently in power.
“We are better than this. We really are, as a country, we are so much better than this,” said Cummings. He then addressed Cohen directly: “I want to first of all thank you. I know that this has been hard. I know that you’ve faced a lot. I know that you are worried about your family. But this is a part of your destiny. And hopefully this portion of your destiny will lead to a better Michael Cohen, a better Donald Trump, a better United States of America, and a better world."
This final statement received praise and recognition from people worldwide. However, Cummings missed the point that discourse has been here before and we moved away from it. John W. Dean testified against President Richard Nixon in 1973. Dean was the first administration official to accuse Nixon of direct involvement with Watergate and the resulting cover-up in press interviews.
This is a direct parallel to Cohen; he is the first person to take the stand and publicly testify against Trump regarding the WikiLeaks drop and relationship with Russia. The common denominator between the two cases– Dean and Cohen both challenged authoritarian presidents by revealing their lies and abuses of power. While Republicans did their best to discredit Cohen, they thankfully did not undermine him enough to negate the concrete evidence provided in his testimony.
The most important lesson from this testimony is that we need to be more honest and humane with one another, regardless of political party, race, gender, or any other social construct. The only way to ensure a brighter future for this country is to uplift one another instead of tearing each other down. All the time and energy wasted on pointless jabs and arguments between parties could have been put towards creating substantial change to benefit the next generations.