For much of the run-up to Michael Cohen’s public testimony before the House Oversight and Reform Committee on Wednesday, the official Republican line was that the Democrats were giving aid and comfort to an admitted liar. Never mind that investigators with both Robert Mueller’s office and the U. S. Attorney’s office in Manhattan had corroborated much of what Donald Trump’s former lawyer and fixer had told them when he pled guilty. As Paul Manafort is about to learn the hard way, lying to federal prosecutors can be very expensive.
But this line was a model of sanity compared to what a number of Trump diehards are spewing. They seem to think that bringing Cohen to Capitol Hill wasn’t just wrong. No, it was–wait for it–treasonous!
When Al Perrotta, managing editor of The Stream, a Christian conservative blog fronted by veteran culture warriors James Robison and Michael Brown, got ready to watch the hearings, he apparently thought the Republicans were being too kind by branding Cohen a liar. As he saw it, the entire hearing amounted to “giving aid and comfort to the enemy”–North Korea.
Perrotta pointed out that Cohen’s testimony was getting underway just as Trump began his second denuclearization summit with North Korean strongman Kim Jong Un. To his mind, it was no accident that the Oversight Committee had scheduled this testimony for this very day.
And yet, on a day when the President of the United States needs Americans to have his back, Democrats are sticking a knife in it. Why? These are the only possible days to get Cohen’s testimony? No. Hearing Cohen trash the president today, accuse him of all sorts of wrong doing today, is that important? No.
Simply trying to overshadow and embarrass the President domestically cannot be their motivation. The timing is too deliberate.
There can be only one possible motive: To undercut the President. To sabotage negotiations on behalf of the enemy.
So what extraordinary evidence does Perrotta offer to support his extraordinary claim that Cohen’s testimony amounted to aid and comfort to Kim? Well, he harped on an interview John Kerry gave to Fox News last fall. Obama’s second Secretary of State didn’t deny that he’d told Iranians to wait out the Trump administration–under the assumption he would be succeeded by a Democrat in 2021.
Perrotta believes this didn’t go unnoticed in Pyongyang. He claimed that Kim–or “Dear Respected,” as he is called in North Korea–is watching these hearings and thinking, “Trump’s opposition is telling me they’re going to have Trump out of the way soon enough.” For that reason, as this line goes, Kim supposedly thinks that he doesn’t have to give an inch–and can call a favor once Trump is defeated in 2020.
Apparently Perrotta was expanding on a line peddled by Trump’s sons. While chatting with Tucker Carlson Tuesday night, Donald Trump Jr. whined that the Democrats were trying to upstage his father as he traveled to Hanoi for his summit with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. Watch here.
Junior claimed that the Democrats “hate Trump more than they like America”–and were showing it by “trying to counter-program” his father’s talks with Kim.
Taking his cue from his elder brother, Eric took to Twitter to pile on.
During the hearing, Charlie Kirk, founder of the pro-Trump college student group Turning Point USA, echoed the Trump brothers’ claim that the hearing was evidence Democrats hate America.
From the looks of it, Perrotta was just taking this line to its logical conclusion. After all, it’s not too big a leap to go from asking, “Why do Democrats hate America?” to accusing them of giving aid and comfort to the enemy.
But there’s one very big problem. It’s not true. Cohen was originally slated to testify on February 7, but postponed it due to what his lawyers called repeated threats from Trump’s lead lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, and Trump himself. If you’ll remember, this came after Trump and Giuliani took not-so-veiled potshots at Cohen’s father.
When the Democrats rescheduled it for the start of the first full day of the Trump-Kim summit, there is no evidence that the Republicans raised any objections. Indeed, even though ranking member Jim Jordan and the other Republicans on the Oversight Committee went out of their way to beclown themselves, none of them claimed this hearing amounted to giving aid and comfort to Kim. And this despite Trump’s own sons, as well as a news blog read by a significant element of their father’s base, essentially claiming this was the case. That, folks, is telling.
It’s hard to believe that Perrotta wasn’t aware that the testimony had been delayed. If he wasn’t, he would have learned it via a quick Google search. You would think that a Christian news site would be particularly careful about researching things like this. But then again, Perrotta, like much of the religious right, has turned Trump into a false god.
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