Cohen's testimony before Congress - What's Your Point?

This week's panel: Jessica Colon - Republican strategist, Nyanza Davis Moore - Democratic Political Commentator Attorney, Bob Price – Associate Editor of Breitbart Texas,  Ben Streusand – conservative commentator, “Three Amigos”, KSEV Radio,  Laura Moser  - Democrat, former Congressional candidate, Antonio Diaz- writer, educator and radio host, join Greg Groogan to discuss Michael Cohen's testimony before Congressional committee.

WASHINGTON (AP) - Assailed by his ex-lawyer at every turn, President Donald Trump nevertheless claimed a measure of vindication from Michael Cohen's statement that he possessed no direct evidence of collusion with Russia from his time serving the boss. But contrary to Trump's words, Cohen did not exonerate him on the matter in his testimony to lawmakers.



TRUMP: "He said no collusion. And I was, you know, a little impressed by that, frankly. Could've - he could've gone all out. He only went about 95 percent instead of 100 percent." - Hanoi news conference Thursday.

THE FACTS: He takes Cohen's comment too far. Cohen did not clear his former boss on the question of whether his campaign colluded with Russia to influence the 2016 election. In the course of implicating Trump in other alleged criminal activity, Cohen said he did not witness or know directly of collusion "but I have my suspicions." He didn't say "no collusion."

Cohen told lawmakers: "So, as I stated in my testimony, I wouldn't use the word 'colluding.' Was there something odd about the back-and-forth praise with President Putin? Yes, but I'm not really sure that I can answer that question in terms of collusion. I was not part of the campaign. I don't know the other conversations that Mr. Trump had with other individuals. There is just so many dots that all seem to lead to the same direction."

And: "The questions have been raised about whether I know of direct evidence that Mr. Trump or his campaign colluded with Russia. I do not, and I want to be clear. But I have my suspicions."


REP. JIM JORDAN, top Republican on the House Oversight and Reform Committee: "Remember how all this started. The Clinton campaign hired Perkins Coie law firm who hired Glenn Simpson who hired a foreigner, Christopher Steele, who put together the fake dossier that the FBI used to go get a warrant to spy on the Trump campaign." - remarks Wednesday at hearing with Cohen.

THE FACTS: He's repeating a false claim by Trump that special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia probe is based on a "fake dossier." The FBI's investigation actually began months before it received a dossier of anti-Trump research financed by the Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton's campaign. The FBI probe's origins were based on other evidence - not the existence of the dossier, which has not been discredited.

Last year, the Republican-controlled House Intelligence Committee found the Russia probe was initiated after the FBI received information related to Trump campaign foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos, not the dossier. The committee's final report was praised by Trump.

NEW YORK (AP) - The Nielsen company says that 15.8 million people watched President Donald Trump's former lawyer, Michael Cohen, testify against him on television before a congressional committee.

Nielsen estimated the viewership on eight different networks between 9:45 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Wednesday.

The number contrasts with the 20.4 million who watched the daytime testimony of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh before a Senate committee last September.

Fans of Fox News Channel were responsible for the bulk of the difference. They were far more interested in watching Kavanaugh deny a woman's accusations that he had groped her drunkenly at a high school party than a lawyer, a convicted felon himself, denounce the president as a racist, con man and cheat.

An estimated 5.7 million people watched Kavanaugh on Fox last year, while 2.3 million turned on Fox for Cohen coverage, Nielsen said Friday.

CBS, with 3.06 million viewers, led the networks for Cohen coverage, followed by ABC's 2.95 million. MSNBC (2.82 million) beat its broadcast sister, NBC (2.48 million). CNN had just under 2.1 million.

NEW YORK (AP) - Michael Cohen gave Congress a who's who of President Donald Trump's allies and business associates during his testimony Wednesday. Trump's former personal lawyer and fixer rattled off more than a dozen names, giving House committees a potential roadmap for future hearings.

WASHINGTON (AP) A look at Cohen and the key people he mentioned:


For more than a decade, Cohen was a loyal Trump aide . He spoke to the press on Trump's behalf, wrangled business deals, threatened detractors and occasionally helped him suppress unfavorable news stories.

Cohen broke with Trump last year and pleaded guilty to charges including that he lied to Congress about a Trump real estate project in Russia and made prohibited campaign contributions in the form of payments to two women who say they had affairs with Trump.

Cohen spoke to the House Intelligence Committee on Thursday and is scheduled for another closed-door session on March 6. He's due to start a three-year prison sentence in May.


Sater, a Russian-born former Mafia informant and stock fraud scheme convict , was a business adviser to Trump off-and-on for several years. Cohen said Sater once had an office on the same floor as Trump in Trump Tower.

Sater was involved in trying to jump start a Trump Tower project in Moscow . Cohen pleaded guilty to telling Congress that the Moscow venture was dead by January 2016 when, in reality, work on it persisted deep into the presidential campaign.

Cohen said Sater also talked with him about having Trump visit Russia during the campaign. Sater was also involved in trying to get the White House to look at a Ukrainian peace proposal that favored Russia. The House Intelligence Committee plans to have Sater testify at a public hearing March 14 to talk about Trump's effort to build a Moscow skyscraper.


The chief executive of the National Enquirer's parent company and a longtime Trump ally helped kill potentially embarrassing stories about Trump over the years by paying hush money in a practice known as "catch-and-kill." In 2015, Pecker agreed to assist Trump's run for president by squelching damaging stories, federal prosecutors say.

The U.S. attorney's office in Manhattan agreed not to prosecute Pecker's company, American Media Inc., for its secret assistance to the campaign. That promise is now under review after the company was accused of threatening to publish revealing photos of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos unless he stopped investigating how the company obtained them.


The ex-Playboy model said she had an affair with Trump in 2006 and 2007 . American Media Inc. paid McDougal $150,000 for the rights to her story in August 2016 - three months before the election. Cohen made a secret recording of Trump talking about how he wanted to buy the story from the media company to make sure it remained secret.


The porn actress, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, said she had a one-night-stand with Trump in 2006 . Days before the 2016 election, Cohen said Trump instructed him to pay Daniels $130,000 to keep her from talking about it.


The chief financial officer of Trump's business empire, Weisselberg began working for the company as an accountant for Trump's late father, Fred. Cohen said Weisselberg helped him "figure out how to" pay off Daniels after Trump allegedly instructed him to do so.

Cohen testified that Weisselberg told him he'd be reimbursed for the payment in 12 monthly installments totaling $420,000, which included a bonus and covered some of Cohen's taxes and other work he'd done for Trump.

Weisselberg received limited immunity last year related to his grand jury testimony he gave in the Cohen case about the hush money allegations. A House Intelligence Committee aide said it plans to invite Weisselberg to testify.


The Los Angeles attorney who initially represented Daniels and McDougal in their dealings with Cohen and American Media Inc. and negotiated their payments. Davidson has represented several people over his career trying to sell sex tapes or embarrassing information about celebrities.


Cohen said Howard, the executive editor of the Enquirer, was personally involved in coordinating "catch-and-kill" payments to two women who said they had affairs with Trump. Howard has come under fresh scrutiny for an email he sent threatening to publish the Bezos photos.


Cohen mentioned the longtime Trump security chief turned Trump Organization's chief operating officer while alleging Trump inflated the value of his assets on financial reports provided to an insurance company. Cohen named Calamari, Weisselberg and the company's executive vice president, Ron Lieberman, when asked who might know more about that alleged practice.


One of Trump's lawyers . Cohen said Sekulow reviewed his false congressional testimony and made changes pertaining to what he was going to say, "about the timing of the Moscow Tower negotiations." The testimony was also reviewed by Abbe Lowell, a lawyer representing Trump's daughter, Ivanka, and her husband, Jared Kushner, Cohen said. Sekulow said the allegations that he "edited or changed" Cohen's testimony to alter the duration of the Moscow negotiations "is completely false."