With President Donald Trump half way around the world in Hanoi to meet with North Korean ruler Kim Jong Un, it fell to his most ardent supporter, Florida GOP Rep. Michael Gaetz to threaten Trump’s former fixer Michael Cohen on the eve of his public testimony before the House Oversight Committee.
“Hey @MichaelCohen212 – Do your wife & father-in-law know about your girlfriends? Maybe tonight would be a good time for that chat. I wonder if she’ll remain faithful when you’re in prison,” He continued, adding, “She’s about to learn a lot…”
The tweet caused an eczema of punditry to break out in Washington as to whether Gaetz’s threat qualified as witness tampering, which is a federal crime.
“It’s witness testing!” Gaetz boasted to reporters on Capitol Hill, when asked if he was witness tampering.
It was understandable. After all, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders hadn’t gotten nearly so much attention, or press, with her statement about Cohen’s testimony: “It’s laughable that anyone would take a convicted liar like Cohen at his word, and pathetic to see him given yet another opportunity to spread his lies.”
And all the RNC had come up with was a lame ad, telling Cohen “HAVE FUN IN PRISON!”
Cohen’s attorney, Lanny Davis responded to Gaetz’s “despicable lies and personal smears,” adding “we trust that his colleagues in the House, both Republicans and Democrats, will repudiate his words and his conduct. I also trust that his constituents will not appreciate that their congressman has set a new low – which in today’s political culture is hard to imagine as possible.”
Previously, of course, the president did his own Cohen threatening, which had the effect of causing his former personal attorney to back out of testifying, saying he was concerned for his family’s safety.
The public testimony got rescheduled for Wednesday, at 10 AM ET, and should draw quite a crowd. He’s scheduled to testify before two separate House committees across three days this week, and to say Trump directed him to commit various crimes, including the sending of illegal hush money to two of Trump’s alleged former sex partners as well as lying to Congress about the timeline of talks about a Trump Tower Moscow.
Emerging late Tuesday from the first all-day marathon with Cohen behind closed doors, a haggard Senate Intel Committee Vice Chairman Mark Warner gave reporters a short but strong statements:
“Two years ago when this investigation started I said it may be the most important thing I’m involved in in my public life in the senate. And nothing I have heard today dissuades me from that view.”
Cohen pleaded guilty last year to multiple financial fraud charges and to lying to Congress. He now is scheduled to start his three-year prison sentence in May.
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