President Trump’s former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, will voluntarily testify on February 7 before the House Oversight & Government Reform Committee. There may be some things that Robert Mueller instructs the committee not to ask or that Cohen is instructed not to answer, but the hearing will be highly anticipated and likely to create some tectonic political shifts. On no account will this be good news for the Trump administration.
Yet, they have a nearly a month to prepare. And, after some jousting and negotiation, Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio managed to secure the ranking of senior Republican position on the panel. He will be the point man for discrediting anything that Cohen might say.
It won’t be a difficult task, considering that Cohen has already been convicted of lying to Congress and that the Southern District of New York is angry with him for refusing to divulge to them all the crimes he’s witnessed in his life. Cohen isn’t an ideal witness and he should expect some very rough treatment.
No one knows his soft spots better than the president and Trump will no doubt consult extensively with Jordan over the next several weeks. We’ll probably start to see some damaging story lines emerge on right-wing media platforms well in advance of the hearing.
The stakes will be as high as they get, and it should a spectacle to rival the Watergate-era testimony of John Dean. The conductor of the show will be Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland. I already have my calendar marked.