How Michael Cohen became a hero of the #Resistance

Democrats have pinned their hopes of locking up Donald Trump on his odious former fixer.

Jenny Holland

Topics Politics USA

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Michael Cohen, Donald Trump’s former lawyer and fixer, testified this week in the criminal trial of his former boss.

To those Americans still in the grips of Trump Derangement Syndrome, Cohen has become an unlikely pin-up. It does not seem to matter much that he is a convicted criminal who has served two-and-a-half years in prison for a variety of charges. Admittedly, some of these pertained to his actions on behalf of Trump, but he was also found guilty of hiding $4million in income from the Internal Revenue Service back in 2018. No, what matters most is that Cohen loathes the former president and his testimony could be critical to putting Trump behind bars.

Payments made by Cohen on Trump’s behalf to porn star Stormy Daniels are at the centre of the current trial. Infamously, Trump had hoped to stop her going public with tales of them having sex during the 2016 election.

Cynics might recall the many damaging things American presidents have done in the past. Think carpet bombing the jungles of Vietnam with skin-searing chemicals, lies about Saddam Hussein having weapons of mass destruction that led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians, or overthrowing democratically elected leaders in countries all over the world. So what crime, pray tell, is New York district attorney Alvin Bragg levelling against Trump?

To be perfectly honest, I’m not entirely sure what the answer is. Paying hush money is not in and of itself illegal. The legal details of the case elude not only me, but also many esteemed experts. It seems to all basically boil down to how the payments were recorded in the Trump operation’s books. Were the payments to Daniels via Cohen ‘legal expenses’ or were they reimbursements? It is so petty that it is impossible for anyone of sound mind to get worked up about.

Yet such is the American liberal establishment’s determination to get Trump that any excuse will be seized on to pursue him. What’s more, prosecutors have even set aside concerns over Cohen’s glaring bias and made him their star witness. ‘It cannot be overstated how much the criminality of this trial entirely revolves around Michael Cohen’, said Michael Barbaro on The Daily, a podcast from the New York Times, earlier this week.

The trial has undoubtedly turned Cohen into a hero to the so-called anti-Trump #Resistance, although he was making a name for himself among that crowd long before appearing in the dock. After completing his prison sentence in November 2021, he built a following on TikTok and regularly appeared on the mainstream media to tell the world that Trump is terrible, no good, very bad and a bum. Cohen even has a podcast, appropriately called Mea Culpa.

How things have changed. For years, Cohen used to fawn over Trump. He used to call his boss a ‘compassionate man’ (2017), ‘an amazing negotiator, maybe the best ever in the history of this world’ (2015) and ‘the greatest president’ the US ever had (2017).

That was in the salad days of their relationship, before it all went south. Now, he sings a different tune. He blames Trump entirely for his own downfall. ‘I truly fucking hope that this man ends up in prison… Revenge is a dish best served cold’, he recently said on his podcast.

Then there are his TikTok live streams, where he performs like a cymbal-bashing monkey in return for tips, presumably from his TDS-addled followers. In one TikTok rant, which was read out in court this week by Trump’s defence team, Cohen said he hoped to see the former president in ‘that little cage, which is where he belongs, in a fucking cage, like an animal’.

Since his release from prison, Cohen has also dabbled in political analysis. In 2022, he cast doubt on Trump’s intention to run for president again, though he said he’d consider throwing his own hat in the ring to defeat him if necessary: ‘I hope to God that this fucking scumbag runs… I wanna put myself up on a stage against this fat fuck, this orange-crusted mandarin Oompa-Loompa.’ Walter Cronkite he is not.

Cohen is even pitching a show to the networks (working title: The Fixer). According to the promo: ‘The little guy doesn’t usually have access to people with my particular set of skills. But that’s all about to change.’ Really? I am definitely one of the little people, but I wouldn’t trust this guy to fix the tyre on my bicycle.

This is the state of the political campaign to destroy Trump. A felon who talks like a two-bit, Long Island gangster feuding with the owner of a hot-dog cart now holds enormous sway in one of the most momentous legal cases in American history.

To my mind, by using this clownish, resentful lunatic to make their case against the former president, New York’s prosecutors are achieving the opposite effect. If they had anything of substance on Trump, they surely would not have to rely on such an unhinged and biased witness.

This lawfare against Trump is bound to backfire – at least in the court of public opinion. Good job, Democrats.

Jenny Holland is a former newspaper reporter and speechwriter. Visit her Substack here.

Picture by: Getty.

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Topics Politics USA


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