SEVERE WX : Wind Advisory - Winter Weather Advisory View Alerts

Michael Cohen is making history

Article Image

A source familiar with Michael Cohen's prepared testimony to Congress provided CNN with a copy of a $35,000 check President Donald Trump allegedly sent to Michael Cohen. There's nothing written on the check to specify its purpose. However, Cohen's prepared testimony submitted to Congress and obtained by CNN says the check reimbursed him for hush money payments to silence Stormy Daniels about her alleged affair with Trump. Trump denies having an affair with Daniels.

Posted: Feb 27, 2019 11:00 AM
Updated: Feb 27, 2019 11:00 AM

If there's one thing President Donald Trump knows, it's political theater.

It's a mark of the high stakes Wednesday that he's embraced the opportunity to counter-program the testimony of his infamous former fixer, Michael Cohen, with a North Korea nuclear summit.

That's how explosive the Cohen hearings could be for this presidency.

The phrase "congressional testimony" doesn't always get the blood up in people. There's a tendency to view it all as a bit of Kabuki theater, predictable and full of posturing.

That's especially true in the Trump era, where scandals pile up with such speed that to many of us, nothing's shocking anymore.

But not all congressional testimonies are created equal. Some become defining moments in American politics and even change the trajectories of presidencies.

That's particularly true when an insider becomes a whistleblower. And that's exactly what's happening Wednesday in Washington.

From a man who was by Trump's side for years, the testimony is damning. Cohen paints a picture of a president as a "con man," a "racist" and an instinctive liar who treated his presidential campaign as "the greatest infomercial in political history."

He's presenting evidence of personal checks from the President he says were to repay him for Stormy Daniels. Cohen's prepared testimony also states that Trump knew about Roger Stone's contacts with WikiLeaks, which has been denied in the past. It states that Trump lied about the Moscow tower deal. And it states that Trump may have known about the Trump Tower meeting that was set up on the pretext of getting dirt on Hillary Clinton from a hostile foreign power.

Bottom line, it's full of bombshell revelations that rival the testimony that took down President Richard Nixon.

John Dean is a now CNN analyst, but in June 1973 he was Nixon's just-fired White House counsel and a Watergate whistleblower.

At first, he was an unwitting contributor to the cover-up of the burglary at the Watergate, facilitating payments to people involved.

When Dean eventually understood that he was committing obstruction of justice, he at first shredded incriminating documents -- then he says, he decided to come clean before Congress.

And he came prepared. His 245-page opening statement took an entire day to read. Dean testified that he'd discussed the Watergate cover-up in Nixon's presence at least 35 times. And he'd told "the president that there was a cancer growing on the presidency and that if the cancer was not removed that the president himself would be killed by it."

Dean's testimony led to more revelations -- such as the existence of a secret White House taping system, which would ultimately help sink Nixon.

In the White House whistleblower pantheon, only one other congressional testimony comes close.

That's the case of Lt. Col. Oliver North, who blew the lid off the Iran-Contra affair.

In 1986, North was a National Security Council staffer tasked with an elaborate scheme to use profits from secret Iranian arms sales to back anti-communist Nicaraguan rebels, known as the Contras -- something Congress had already specifically prohibited.

By 1987, North had been made the fall guy for Iran-Contra, fired by President Reagan for it, and was ready to tell the whole sordid tale to Congress.

According to North, what he did was just follow orders: Protect his superiors, destroy documents and mislead Congress, even some members of the Reagan administration.

But what he did not do was operate without the explicit approval of his higher-ups, which he assumed included the President.

North would go on to be convicted of a range of crimes stemming from his role in Iran-Contra, which would later be thrown out on appeal, ironically because prosecutors couldn't prove that North's must-see-TV testimony didn't taint the trial witnesses.

Regardless, North emerged as a conservative hero and currently serves as the head of the National Rifle Association.

Two historic testimonies, two very bad days for the presidents involved.

It's a reminder that politics is history in the present tense. And high-stakes congressional testimony by a whistleblower can make as much difference in the trajectory of a presidency as a nuclear summit with a hostile foreign power.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 154554

Reported Deaths: 2204
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah31785528
Washington21060212
Marion18335285
Clackamas13310175
Lane10172126
Jackson8299111
Umatilla763181
Deschutes591859
Yamhill375964
Linn356556
Malheur334358
Polk302942
Klamath277455
Douglas242853
Benton231816
Josephine231649
Jefferson195028
Coos142519
Union127519
Columbia124321
Wasco122026
Lincoln112820
Hood River106329
Morrow104414
Clatsop7756
Crook77518
Baker6487
Curry4166
Tillamook4122
Lake3746
Harney2726
Grant2221
Wallowa1424
Gilliam531
Sherman530
Wheeler221
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 3554629

Reported Deaths: 51395
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles118754221106
Riverside2891853749
San Bernardino2853342673
Orange2603483889
San Diego2589823260
Santa Clara1098411765
Kern102627811
Fresno947941412
Sacramento929441464
Alameda800881224
Ventura77238834
San Joaquin665691082
Contra Costa62164674
Stanislaus55775944
Tulare47784746
Monterey42138327
San Mateo38763515
San Francisco34061398
Santa Barbara31763407
Solano29968164
Merced28915395
Sonoma27954298
Imperial26843589
Kings21951218
Placer19713231
San Luis Obispo19612227
Madera15390209
Santa Cruz14588183
Marin13136197
Yolo12760185
Shasta10944174
Butte10915160
El Dorado9095100
Napa897668
Sutter884597
San Benito574359
Yuba573336
Lassen560119
Tehama508152
Tuolumne394659
Nevada393274
Mendocino379643
Amador344441
Humboldt316033
Lake313440
Glenn221023
Colusa212813
Calaveras190547
Siskiyou174014
Inyo128736
Mono12114
Del Norte9875
Plumas6536
Modoc4524
Mariposa3947
Trinity3675
Sierra990
Alpine810
Unassigned00
Medford
Cloudy
43° wxIcon
Hi: 46° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: 39°
Brookings
Mostly Cloudy
42° wxIcon
Hi: 46° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 42°
Medford
Cloudy
43° wxIcon
Hi: 22° Lo: 15°
Feels Like: 39°
Medford
Cloudy
43° wxIcon
Hi: 47° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: 39°
Klamath Falls
Cloudy
30° wxIcon
Hi: 35° Lo: 26°
Feels Like: 22°
Drying out, winds diminish this weekend
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events