For those of you haven’t kept up with all the details of the Trump investigation, here’s a quick review: Michael Cohen has been Trump’s lawyer for over a decade, from 2007 and into his presidency. He’s been a part of Trump’s inner circle for a long time, and there’s no denying big business men like Trump have some secrets. For the majority of the investigation, it was evident Cohen knew more than he was letting on about Trump’s discrepancies, but as expected, Cohen denied, denied, denied.
Then Cohen testifies to Congress. Call him a “rat” as Trump has; call him a liar; and call him a criminal. He might be all of those things, but if Cohen is, then by association, Trump is too. Cohen certainly didn’t act for himself; he did it for Trump, per Trump’s request. As Trump’s personal lawyer, Cohen’s job was to cover up or “fix” Trump’s problems.
For someone who’s worked with Trump for as long as Cohen has, he knows Trump better than any of his supporters, and he’s here to tell the truth about him, truths many have been denying in favor of supporting the office of the presidency.
“Mr. Trump is an enigma,” Cohen said. “He is complicated, as am I. He has both good and bad, as do we all. But the bad far outweighs the good, and since taking office, he has become the worst version of himself. He is capable of behaving kindly, but he is not kind. He is capable of committing acts of generosity, but he is not generous. He is capable of being loyal, but he is fundamentally disloyal.”
But don’t take Cohen’s word for it either. He notes he has no credibility after all the lies he’s told, but he stands to reason by bringing forth tangible pieces of evidence against Trump’s own denials – letters, articles, financial statements and checks written and signed by Trump himself.
After all I’ve heard during the Kavanaugh hearings, America argues due process will tell the truth. Well here we are, in the midst of an investigation against the President of the United States for several allegations of wrongdoing during his campaign and his presidency. Trump’s no novelty when it comes to disgracing the presidential office, but somehow his supporters would rather defend him to the end and blame Democrats for his crimes rather than admit the man they voted for isn’t the man they thought he was.
Many have questioned why Trump ran for president to begin with. I’ve always believed it was a vanity project, something he chose to do to challenge himself, to see if he could actually win the highest office a citizen could hold. So many people believed otherwise, that he was here for the people, to fix America’s problems, but Cohen states differently.
“Donald Trump is a man who ran for office to make his brand great, not to make our country great,” Cohen said. “He had no desire or intention to lead this nation – only to market himself and to build his wealth and power. Mr. Trump would often say, this campaign was going to be the “greatest infomercial in political history.” He never expected to win the primary. He never expected to win the general election. The campaign – for him – was always a marketing opportunity.”
I’m certainly not surprised by this sentiment either. Cohen can’t prove he’s said this, but does it surprise anyone that a billionaire businessman simply ran out of selfish intent or to further his own business? Business is all about marketing opportunities and the profit that can be made.
Many would argue we can’t blame Trump for running his business the way he did. Business is business. But as the President of the United States, privately owned businesses should be left in the past, as was argued during Trump’s campaign. A President is supposed to serve the people not his personal interests. Once Trump initiated the big tax cuts for big businesses, whatever official reasoning he had didn’t overwrite the fact that his sons still own The Trump Organization, and that he has plenty of friends in big businesses that would appreciate this presidential act.
Cohen addresses this too.
“I knew early on in my work for Mr. Trump that he would direct me to lie to further his business interests,” he said. “I am ashamed to say, that when it was for a real estate mogul in the private sector, I considered it trivial. As the president, I consider it significant and dangerous.”
Whatever the reason for Cohen’s shift, he certainly gains nothing from it, since he’ll be going to prison regardless without the hope of gaining a presidential pardon. Trump’s secrets have been revealed, and there’s evidence to back Cohen’s claims, but at least we’ve the chance to hear who Trump is in the eyes of someone who’s worked for him in the past ten years.
You can read the transcript on Cohen’s opening testimony here.