Rep. Jackie Speier: Cohen's Testimony Should Have Americans Concerned About Their Safety

Photo Credit: Patsy Lynch/Shutterstock
February 27, 2019

By Chloe Aiello

If what Michael Cohen said during his Wednesday testimony is true the American public should be deeply concerned about national security, Rep. Jackie Speier (D -Calif.) told Cheddar.

"What the public should be concerned about is how are they being kept safe in terms of national security when the president of the United States ... may in fact be attempting to do business with adversaries of the United States for his personal gain," Speier told Cheddar's J.D. Durkin Wednesday.

Her comments followed more than four hours of testimony before the House Oversight Committee from Cohen, who served as a lawyer and confidant to President Trump for almost a decade. Among other accusations, Cohen alleged that Trump knew in advance that Wikileaks planned to publish hacked Democratic National Committee emails, that he reimbursed Cohen's hush money payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels after he was in the White House, and that the president's own lawyer reviewed Cohen's 2017 testimony to Congress that included lies about Trump's business interests in Russia.

"I think we certainly learned more about the conduct of Donald Trump. We also found out that his testimony was reviewed by the President's attorneys before he testified before the Intelligence Committee, which again was an effort by the president to obstruct justice," said Speier, who serves on the House committee. She added that "what Cohen has said about the president being a cheat and a con man has been backed up by much of his documentation today."

Rep. William Lacy Clay Jr. (D -Mo.), who also serves on the House Oversight Committee, called the testimony "very revealing."

"He's telling the inside story of a criminal enterprise known as the Trump Organization," Lacy Clay said. "It is evident that the president and his family have committed crimes before and while in office."

Another Democrat on the committee, Rep. Harley Rouda of California, had a more cautious response. "We've got a lot of committees doing a lot of investigations, we've got the Mueller report coming out,and once all that comes to fruition, we'll decide what needs to be done."

However, he did criticize his Republicans on the committee for using their hearing questions to "simply take shots at Cohen."

"Not one question seeking the truth for what President Trump has done? I find that very discouraging," he said.

During his testimony, Cohen referenced another investigation by the Southern District of New York into a separate "wrongdoing or illegal act." He would not comment further, since the investigation is "ongoing," but said that he is in "constant contact" with law enforcement officials in the Southern District of New York.

Rolling Stone Washington D.C. Bureau Chief Andy Kroll said Trump should be concerned about Cohen's testimony, especially about the "still ongoing investigation" which could possibly have something to do with the New York-based Trump Organization.

"We don't know what that investigation is about. It could have to do with the president's inauguration ceremony ー we know there is some enforcement interest there. It could be another matter that has to do with the president's business, the Trump Organization, obviously the Southern District of New York would have jurisdiction over that as well,"Kroll said.

As to whether or not Cohen was telling the truth in his testimony, Rep. Speier felt confident he was. He's got nothing left to lose, and only a longer prison sentence to gain if he lies, she said.

"All you have to do is look at Paul Manafort: If you lie a second time, you got to jail for a much longer period of time," Speier said. "And the one thing that Mr. Cohen has said over and over again, he wants to do his time and he wants to get back to his family. He has nothing to gain anymore to lie."