In a political analysis, CNN’s Chris Cillizza said that Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) won the day for her questions during Michael Cohen’s Oversight Committee hearing. The loser, he said, was not President Donald Trump, but his latest apologist, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL).
Ocasio-Cortez asked questions that had little to do with headlines and political grandstanding but focused on the financial crimes that the president could have committed.
“Everyone was waiting to see how she handled her first major moment as a member of Congress,” he wrote Thursday. “And man, did she nail it. While Ocasio-Cortez has faced criticism — fairly, in my mind — that she has said things without checking their veracity in her first few months in Congress, she was fact-based and incisive in her questions for Cohen on Wednesday.”
The New York Congresswoman was able to get Cohen to testify about federal insurance fraud and local tax fraud in New York and Florida.
“I want to ask a little bit about your conversation with my colleague from Missouri about asset inflation. To your knowledge, did the president ever provide inflated assets to insurance companies?” she asked. “Mr. Cohen, I want to ask you about your assertion the president may have improperly devalued his assets to avoid paying taxes?”
It’s unclear what the Southern District of New York is focusing on as possible crimes. Cohen did note that there were investigations out of the SDNY that involve criminal charges, however.
As important as AOC’s questioning was, Gaetz proved his irrelevance. The day prior to Cohen’s testimony, Gaetz tweeted a threat interpreted as an attempt to silence the former “fixer.” Gaetz tweeted about Cohen’s wife and other personal relationships that “might” become known.
Thursday, a staff reporter for The Atlantic, tweeted that he overheard a phone conversation between Gaetz and Trump, whom he said called the Florida Republican from Hanoi to discuss the Cohen testimony and apparent threat.
“I was happy to do it for you,” Gaetz said, according to Dovere. “You just keep killing it.”
Gaetz’s “favor” is being investigated by the Florida Bar Association as possible misconduct. Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) also suggested in a tweet that the Ethics Committee might be investigating Gaetz for the tweet.
After the hearings Wednesday, Gaetz apologized for the tweet.
Cillizza noted that Gaetz strolled into the hearing with his “pocket square perfectly in place.” But Gaetz isn’t on the Oversight Committee where the hearing was taking place. “So why was he there?” Cillizza asked. It’s unclear if that was part of the favor Gaetz agreed to do for the president.