From a strictly legal standpoint, we don’t know much more today than we did before Donald Trump’s disgraced, disbarred former attorney and bagman Michael Cohen began testifying before the House Oversight Committee Wednesday morning. An arrangement between Cohen and special counsel Robert Mueller precluded the witness from holding forth on what he might know about collusion between the 2016 Trump campaign and Russian agents. That agreement may not have even been necessary. “Questions have been raised about whether I know or have direct evidence that Mr. Trump or his campaign colluded with Russia,” said Cohen during his opening statement. “I do not.”
That opening statement was freighted with enough salacious material to keep the corporate news media buzzing throughout the day, though little of it could be described as groundbreaking new information. According to Cohen, Trump was informed by Roger Stone in advance of the now-infamous WikiLeaks document dump. Cohen ticked off a list of deeply racist comments made by Trump over the years. He alleged Trump was fully aware of ongoing negotiations for a Trump Tower in Moscow during the 2016 campaign and lied about it because he never expected to win the election. He recalled a conversation in which Trump noted that his son, Donald Trump Jr., “had the worst judgement of anyone in the world.”
Donald Trump is a chisler, a racist, a liar and the father of useless children. Stop the presses. Cohen knows more about Trump’s dirty dealings than he revealed at the hearing on Wednesday — he said as much several times when asked directly — but refused to elaborate, pointing to the ongoing investigations by Mueller along with state and federal agencies in New York as his reason for remaining silent on those topics. What we heard about Trump on Wednesday was, by and large, already public information many times over.
We didn’t learn much of anything new about Michael Cohen, either. Seated before the very Congress he had…