The Michel Cohen show on Wednesday delivered all that was promised and then some, as Donald Trump's former fixer implicated him in multiple criminal activities while in the White House, activities that are definitely being investigated by the Southern District of New York federal investigation into the Trump Organization.
Even if those watching didn't believe anything else he said, Donald Trump's former lawyer and fixer, Michael Cohen, left no doubt that he is working closely with prosecutors in Manhattan's Southern District in criminal investigations that could end up roiling the Trump presidency. Unlike the special counsel, those prosecutors have no specific mandate — they can investigate any crime that comes to their attention.
"Is there any other wrongdoing or illegal act that you are aware of regarding Donald Trump that we haven't yet discussed today?" Democrat Raja Krishnamoorthi of Illinois asked Cohen, in the middle of the seven-and-and-a-half hour hearing full of stunning, ugly allegations.
Cohen replied: "Yes and again those are a part of the investigation that's currently being looked at by the Southern District of New York."
It wasn't even the day's biggest headline. Cohen, who once said he would take a bullet for Trump, attacked his former boss in deeply personal terms, painting a picture of racism, deceit and immorality. He spoke about hush money payments, lies about a real estate project in Russia, an overheard phone call between Trump and Roger Stone, and potential tax and bank fraud.
But Cohen's comments about the Southern District investigations may be what figure as the most important of the hearing a year from now.
In an answer sure to be seized on by the president and his allies, Cohen said he knew of no evidence that Trump or anyone around him colluded with the Russian election interference effort. He also testified he had never been to Prague or met with Russians in Europe, refuting a key allegation by a former British intelligence officer whose dossier sketched out a Trump-Russian conspiracy.
But even as Cohen poured water on the Russia collusion narrative, he fueled the idea that Trump's biggest legal problems have to do with his real estate business, his taxes, his bank statements, and the secret payments he made to women.
The disbarred lawyer, scheduled to report for a three-year prison sentence in May, came to the hearing with a $35,000 check written to him by Trump, dated Aug. 2017, seven months into the Trump presidency. That was part of the payback, Cohen said, for the illegal campaign contribution he made by paying $130,000 to the porn star known as Stormy Daniels.
Cohen had already testified Trump ordered him to commit a felony; now he was showing that Trump participated in the alleged scheme while occupying the Oval Office.
Asked after the hearing if he believed Cohen established that the president had committed a crime while in office, House oversight chairman Elijah Cummings answered, "It appears that he did."
I don't know very much about Cohen in Prague, that seemed a bit too neat to me, but there still more than enough here to have Trump and his kids sweating. They're going to prison. It may not be Mueller that lowers the hammer, but the SDNY folks aren't screwing around and there's nothing Trump can do to stop them.