The Cohen hearings would have been more upsetting were it not for the fact that we now live in a political news cycle in which they'll be forgotten in a couple of days.

Everybody keeps wondering where the bottom is for congressional Republicans, the point at which they eventually realize that they have more to gain from throwing Trump under the bus than they do by defending him with such pitiful obsequiousness. Days like Wednesday make me wonder if there is a bottom. Maybe there isn't, and this spectacle is going to be dragged out to some kind of unbearably awkward Third World dictatorship ending where the guy and his inner circle end up barricading themselves in the Oval Office and eating a bullet.

Or maybe the eventual ending will be boring and constitutional. Who knows. What is obvious is that the things Mr. Cohen says are less important than the evidence he may have provided, and if he has turned over signed checks (WHO COMMITS FELONIES WITH A CHECK?) then the investigators have hard evidence of a felony. Cohen is not, shall we say, a witness whose credibility will stand on its own, so even though he's probably telling the truth his statements are of reduced value.

But it's a real Hail Mary for the GOP to rally around the defense of, this man who was the close, trusted ally of the president for 10+ years and served as his fixer is a vicious lying scumbag felon. They appointed Cohen finance chair of the Republican National Committee in 2017, for christ's sake. To call that argument an insult to the intelligence of their audience is an understatement. It's beyond stupid and it relies entirely on the assumption that people will support it without thinking about it if they are told to.

Does it bring anything closer to resolution? Who the fuck knows, and frankly at this point it is probably to the Democrats' advantage for Trump to run in 2020 rather than a last-minute replacement president who would give the GOP the appearance of having rid itself of its cancer. But it's pretty clear from watching the pathetic display put on by the GOP members of Congress during those hearings that the problem runs far, far deeper than one man. Whenever the Trump show is over, I have a feeling he's going to take more than a few of these allies down with him. If you want to lose a night of sleep, try thinking about the fact that some large percentage of your fellow Americans watched that shitshow and liked what they saw. Some of them liked it a great deal.

Don't get me wrong, we're all going on a three-week bender when Trump is finished, but man, this is not a problem that gets resolved quickly or easily. The president is the symptom, not the virus.

25 thoughts on “HAIL MARY”

  • Cohen's Jacob Marley bit was fairly amusing – but that the GOP in attendance were so determined to avoid finding out anything that if the GOP has gone totally Jonestown, it looks like they have no plans to skip that last kool-aid party. It's startling, really- leaving their marks to hold the bag is kind of their thing – there seems to be no plan B at all for all but two or three of them.

    Or maybe I just don't get modern conservatism, and when Trump augers in, they'll just declare him not a proper conservative it all, and the people who voted for them before won't be any pickier than they were last time around.

    I do think today's testimony matters, though – even if only in the bureaucratic "if it's not documented, it didn't happen" way. Most of what came out was reported long ago, but now it's in the congressional record. And it will be kind of hilarious when – the more pessimistic may say "if" – Cohen's warning to legislators about the risks of being one of Trump's minion's catches up with them.

  • The Fox News/Breitbart crowd is so deep in their own universe that the Republicans don't even have to try anymore. That was the main lesson they took away from Trump, that nothing you say needs to even have a half-assed relationship with reality, and 40% of the country will gobble it up anyway. Anyone who takes half a second to think about it will realize that it's not actually a defense of Trump to say over and over again that Trump's closest adviser and assistant for over a decade is a huge crook with no credibility. That's actually the OPPOSITE of a defense of Trump.

  • "Everybody keeps wondering where the bottom is for congressional Republicans…"
    Not me! There IS no bottom. But it is admittedly a pretty big self own to call your own President's longtime attorney a crook.

    "“He is a racist, he is a con man, and he is a cheat.” (Cohen)
    I think anybody who's ever lived in New York could've told you that thirty years ago.

  • @ geoff:

    I think that you could a lot farther back than 30 years. The first time I ever saw that ugly mug on television and heard what his "profession" was I said, "Assholescumbagp.o.s.motherfucker".

    @ Noskilz:

    The middle paragraph says it all.

  • Watch SDNY and the NYS AG rumble forward with investigations of the ongoing criminal enterprise that is The Trump Organization. What novelist ever imagined a mob boss holding the power of federal pardons?

  • Watching the hearings, and Republican antics, yesterday, made me physically uncomfortable. As an individual I am keenly aware of where my personal limits are in terms of shame and the perceptions of others. I'm also cursed with just enough empathy, that when I see someone else exceeding those boundaries, I become embarrassed for them. It breaks my brain to think these…people can pull this shit in a public forum, and not buckle and collapse under the burden of shame they are clearly bringing upon themselves. Everything about it just does not compute for me. You can wave it off with stock "Republicans have no shame and will do anything to preserve power" lines, but the terrifying undercurrent is just how much of a True Believer are some of these people, to be willing to go to bat like this? This is how we end up with white, middle-aged, father of 3, a few years from retirement, suicide bombers. It isn't pretty..

  • "This is how we end up with white, middle-aged, father of 3, a few years from retirement, suicide bombers. It isn't pretty.."

    If they only do themselves, I will be fine with it–unfortuately, they're the sort of assholes that murder their own family and them make money out of it prison.

  • Trump has so obviously spent his entire life trying to do what's right, but those goddamn lawyers wouldn't let him!

  • @demo

    Exactly. They're always the sort that needs to make everyone else as empty and miserable as they are.

    @John Danley
    Ain't it the truth. A right victim of circumstance, he is. The promised heir to a vast fortune who built himself an empire out of nothing (what do you mean, contradiction?), and has been swarmed by hostile actors and shady associates, his entire life. Thankfully, when you ignore everything and suspense critical thought, his genius and virtue shines through.

  • Here's an exemplary example of the brain death and whackaloon thinking we're dealing with folks: A bit of Trump apologetics written by my MIL, who has a penchant for experimental writing and punctuation. (For the record, this is an exact quote, punctuation and all.) Lucky for me, my spouse fell far far far from this crazy tree…

    "Look….. ,,, Cohen isn't revealing anything other than what he himself was before Trump and during Trump and will be after Trump… (book deals, movie deals etc.) It is simple as that… he is trying to get redemption and he for 10 yrs… criminally. ….. Because he saw Big gains for him ,, so he was caught and is now trying to bring down the good Trump.. He (Cohen) had or has no morals,,, whatever flys and the best for him… how obvious…. I have no respect for him,, because if he had any iota of morals,,,,,, he would have come out during his 10 yr. employment with Trump… in fact he is despicable,,,,, and didn't advise Trump as Council is responsible to do… so now he is trying to come out as an altar boy…. ,,,,,, but saw only gain for himself…. Boo Hoo,,, To me this testimony only showed me that he was and is the most corrupt person/has been lawyer that ever was… !!!!!!!"

  • @dc, i went with thirty years because that was right about the time the future Pres. took out a full page ad in the Times calling for the death penalty for the kids falsely accused of the Central Park "wilding" rape. But yeah, Woody Guthrie was on it in 1950.

  • @ Lori:

    It looks like your MIL is a graduate of the Trumpligulamygdala School of Gud Ryteen!

    She has all the best words and ideas–outisde of Bedlam.

    @ geoff:

    I don't remember the date, but I do remember the first time I saw/heard him, I thought, "Fuck! What a bloviating asshole–only an idiot could be taken in by that bullshit!".

    Latest estimates are that the U.S. population is at LEAST 35-40% idiots.

  • Who commits felonies with a check? People who, at their core, believe they're of a class where they can never be prosecuted for anything. They can't believe that class doesn't actually exist in the USA – the ultimate White Privilege.

  • Prairie Bear says:

    @ satrap That embarrassment, I know what you mean. It's why I can no longer bear to watch even a single minute of TV anymore, especially "news." I will view the occasional vid clip if it's in a post where someone links to it, but I usually am unable to finish even the short ones,

  • Prairie Bear says:

    This has been an interesting post and comment thread because of course I didn't watch a single minute of the Cohen hearings. I am grateful to have Ed and others who watch these things so I don't have to. But most of it seems to have been about the circus of embarrassing spectacle that is the "process."

    I have a question about the content. When it was all over, was there a single, solitary new thing to come out of it that was not already known for months, years or decades? I kind of infer that from reading this thread. As far as Russiagate goes, I've read posts by skeptics and true believers and some in between, and it sounds like a big nothingburger. Same with all the other stuff. One commentator said it was basically four hours of Cohen saying "Trump is a big poopyhead."

    Meanwhile, there is actual stuff going on. To take just one example, The Rude Pundit did an excellent recap of some of it the other day.

  • Lori Anne: your MIL is the ghost writer for Trump's tweets, isn't she? Pretty freaking scary, but shows exactly why we are in the predicament we are in. Trump could screw a baby on the lawn of the WH, barbecue it and serve it to Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy on live TV and his supporters would say that it was fake news. Or say "of course he screwed a baby and barbecued it! That's what rough and tumble NY real estate tycoons HAVE to do!"

    It's a cult.

  • Jussie Smolette wrote a check as well.
    That's two in one week, frankly, the quality of criminals in this country is at an all time low. Al Capone is rolling over in his grave.

  • Trump will never eat a bullet, he's too big of a narcissist. When he's voted out in 2020, I see him and his co-conspirators rallying the religious right around the "the 'Democrat' party are baby killers" issue, the white supremacists around the "their(sic) letting in rapists and murderers to steal our jobs and collect welfare" issue, and both will claim the election was fraudulent and try to get law enforcement/the military to join them and resist the "coup". I don't at present have friends or family in either group, so I have no way of knowing how many will keep their oaths to uphold the Constitution and how many will support Trumpolini.

    Hopefully, and more likely, this is all just leftish paranoia, and on January 20, 2021 he'll give the country the finger as he gets on the helicopter for one last taxpayer funded ride to Mar-a-Lago.

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