The narrative from the White House so far during Michael Cohen’s testimony on Capitol Hill is to refer to President Trump’s Tweet. The Tweet is fine and says what the President wants it to say, but there’s a problem with it. He claims Cohen is lying in order to reduce his prison time. This isn’t correct.
Michael Cohen was one of many lawyers who represented me (unfortunately). He had other clients also. He was just disbarred by the State Supreme Court for lying & fraud. He did bad things unrelated to Trump. He is lying in order to reduce his prison time. Using Crooked’s lawyer!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 27, 2019
Nothing he says today will affect his sentence, which has already been set. It will not buy him good behavior credits because he hasn’t reported to jail yet. This isn’t a secret decree from Robert Mueller’s investigation, which would prefer if Cohen didn’t testify before Congress, not for any big reason other than the risk he could reveal something that taints the investigation. They feel they have everything they need from Cohen. Now, the only things he can reveal to Congress are things that would hamper or discredit what the Mueller probe has already or is in the process of uncovering.
Is Cohen lying? Possibly. He seems compelling at times, but he’s a corrupt person who chose multiple corrupt paths in his life, nearly all of which included practicing lying for high stakes. He may or may not be lying today. It’s just too difficult to tell. Professional liars can often be more compelling than regular people telling the truth.
If he’s lying, and it’s not for the sake of reducing jail time, then why do it? To answer that, we have to make two assumptions. First, he’s playing the long game, as con men are wont to do. What happens over the next three years (or however long he ends up serving) is not as important to him as what happens after that. He has spoken to people in the book and entertainment industries about both a book deal and a movie deal. He also did not preclude the possibility of running for office. That might seem far-fetched given his current situation, but then again there’s nothing more attractive to Democratic power-brokers than someone who can be painted as a victim.
Right now, Cohen is painting himself as a victim of both his own thirst for power as well as being manipulated by his former boss.
The Michael Cohen debacle on Capitol Hill isn’t about justice. It’s not about helping America. It’s about Cohen setting himself up to be the comeback kid when he gets out of jail with a fresh book deal, movie project, and political career waiting for him.