When Michael Cohen takes a seat before Congress to testify about his time working as President Donald Trump’s lawyer and fixer, critics of the White House might not get all that they’re hoping for. Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who has reportedly interviewed Cohen for more than 70 hours and praised him as an exemplary cooperator in the Russia investigation, has reportedly approved his testimony — and also placed limits on how much he can reveal about the ongoing probe.
But even though Cohen will be limited in what he can say with respect to the Russia investigation, we shouldn’t assume the testimony won’t be a big deal.
In fact, according to a new report in the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday, Cohen’s testimony will be “explosive.”
While Mr. Cohen’s testimony may be restricted, he is expected to give an explosive recounting of his experience working for Mr. Trump. His testimony is expected to focus on his life story, examining how he went from serving as one of Mr. Trump’s most loyal aides for more than a decade to publicly breaking with him last year and implicating him in two federal crimes.
“He’s going to tell the story of what it’s like to work for a madman, and why he did it for so long,” said the person close to Mr. Cohen. “He’s going to say things that will give you chills.”
Cohen has already implicated the president in a criminal violation of campaign finance law. He pleaded guilty to coordinating hush money payments to two women who said they had affairs with Trump in the weeks before election and in an effort to circumvent reporting requirements. And he said that he carried out these actions at Trump’s direction — and that the president knew it was wrong.
But Cohen worked with Trump long before the campaign — and he could have information from that time about matters that are as bad as or even worse than the campaign finance crimes.
The president’s defenders will surely attack Cohen’s testimony as unreliable given that he is, indeed, a convicted liar. But Mueller has said he believes Cohen is now telling the truth — and it’s possible his disturbing accounts will come with substantial corroboration.