House Republicans Unite in Asking Michael Cohen Nothing About Donald Trump

Instead, they appear obsessed with a potential book deal for the president’s former lawyer.

J. Scott Applewhite/AP

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The Republican strategy going into Michael Cohen’s much-anticipated testimony before the House oversight committee revealed itself almost immediately Wednesday: Focus entirely on the president’s former lawyer and longtime fixer as a liar who is only in it for himself.

But as Republicans hammered Cohen throughout the first four hours of the hearing—repeatedly asking him about his prospects for a future book deal and whether he would renounce such an endeavor under oath—they left out a key subject: President Donald Trump, whose administration and family business are engulfed in federal investigations and who may face potential impeachment. At one point, Cohen himself noted the glaring absence of questions from Republican lawmakers regarding his former boss.

“I find it interesting, sir, that between yourself and your colleagues that not one question so far since I’m here has been asked about President Trump,” he said to ranking minority member Jim Jordan (R-Ohio). “That’s actually why I thought I was coming today. Not to confess the mistakes I’ve made—I’ve already done that.”

Cohen added, “The American people don’t care about my taxes. They want to know what it is that I know about Mr. Trump. And not one question has been asked about Mr. Trump.”

Despite Cohen’s comments, Republicans on the committee kept steering clear of the damning allegations Cohen outlined in his opening remarks—above all, that Trump is a career fraudster who committed illegal acts both before and during his presidency.

During an appearance on ABC as the hearings unfolded, former Republican New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie suggested that Republicans’ approach did not bode well for the president:

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is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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