“One’s a born liar, the other’s convicted” were the immortal words famously spoken by the late New York Yankees Manager Billy Martin on July 24, 1978.
He was, of course, referring to the veracity of Yankees star Reggie Jackson and Yankees owner George Steinbrenner. However, jumping a mere 40 or so years later, the question of whom to believe between pathological and compulsive liar President Donald Trump or convicted liar Michael Cohen poses a quite similar question: Who can you believe?
The answer to the question of whom to believe between Cohen and Trump is quite straightforward: Believe your own eyes and ears and use your common sense.
Purely for argument’s sake, let’s assume that the sole reason for Cohen’s testimony before the House Oversight Committee on Feb. 27 was for revenge, for a vendetta against Trump for not finding a White House position for Cohen or for not naming Cohen the White House Chief of Staff, for example.
Keep in mind that, in making this assumption for argument’s sake, one would have to totally disregard the reality that any false statements by Cohen before the committee would risk adding prison time to his already imposed three-year sentence.
It would also have to be disregarded that the feds already have most of the documentary evidence against both Cohen and Trump as a result of the raid on Cohen’s residences and office.
That said, let’s again, for argument’s sake, assume that the only reason for his testimony before that committee was to get back at Trump for not giving him a White House position.
The question now is, after ten years of a close working relationship, would anyone with ten years of information on an individual have to lie or would there be enough skeletons in the closet to directly divulge or, as commonly referred to in mob jargon, spill his guts on what he knew?
For that answer, we turn to Sammy the Bull Gravano. Although not what one would describe as an upstanding citizen, is there anyone who did not view Sammy the Bull’s testimony against John Gotti and the Gambino Crime family with at least some credibility?
Trump characterized Cohen’s testimony as 95 percent lies. Only the portion during which Cohen did not say he witnessed Russian collusion did Trump declare as credible. Interesting.
The one issue most meaningful to Trump, and the individual out to get him with lies did not lie. Why not? Common sense indicates that when turning state’s evidence, one only needs to spill those guts on what the witness knows and not really need to make things up.
Of particular note is that in his characterization of Cohen lying about 95 percent of his testimony, Trump did not point to one specific lie or provide any concrete evidence to disprove any specific statement.
Neither, I might add, did any of Trump’s Republican enablers on the Oversight Committee.
Questioning Cohen’s integrity was the obvious strategy. Actually proving his statements were, indeed, fabrications, apparently not so easy.
The reality of the situation, though, is that nothing Cohen testified about is anything that we did not already know about Trump and that is where common sense does seriously enter into the picture.
Cohen described Trump as a racist and gave examples to substantiate his claim. Did anyone really need Cohen’s testimony to arrive at that conclusion?
Wasn’t it enough that Trump spearheaded the “birther” movement? If that is not enough was his declaring the Central Park 5 as guilty even after DNA tests and a confession by someone else proved their innocence enough to conclude that Trump is a racist?
Cohen, in his testimony, provided a copy of a letter sent to Fordham University threatening them with legal action if they released Trump’s school records.
Is there really anyone who takes Trump at his word when he declares himself “a very smart person?” Is there really anyone who has ever witnessed Trump struggle with reading off a teleprompter, as I have numerous times, who does not recognize his inability to read?
It is interesting that Trump took Spike Lee to task for reading from notes during the Oscars. I assume it would have been fine with Trump if Lee used a teleprompter.
In Cohen’s testimony, he said that Trump is a cheat who “inflated his total assets when it suited him in search of a loan” and “deflated his assets to reduce his real estate taxes.” Did we really need Cohen to tell us that Trump has no reservations about inflating or deflating numbers when it suits his needs?
He recently estimated more than 35,000 supporters attending one of his rallies even though the facility had a capacity for just 6,500. His electoral college victory, he said, was one of the largest in presidential election history even though it actually paled in comparison to several recent victories especially the one by Reagan. And, of course, let us not forget his claim that attendance at his inauguration was also of historically large attendance even though the naked eye could clearly see that it was anything but in that instance.
In his testimony, Cohen also described Trump as a conman and a phony. Cohen questioned whether Trump’s tax returns were really under audit since he was not able to get a copy of the IRS letter informing Trump of the audit…No surprises there.
Did anyone really think that either his tax returns were under audit or, if they were, that an audit would prevent them from being released? Of course not. I didn’t need Cohen to convince me that Donald Trump would never willingly release his tax returns because it was always abundantly clear that he had something to hide in his finances. Whether it be his business relationship with Russia or his underpaying his taxes or the fact that he is not as wealthy as he claims, getting those tax returns voluntarily was never going to happen.
I can’t wait for those tax returns to be subpoenaed to see the story of deceit that they will reveal.
Add to this Trump’s false patriotism. Cohen revealed in his testimony that the “bone spurs” excuse for not going to Vietnam was as phony as is Trump. The Vietnam War was a very controversial issue in our nation’s history, and Trump was certainly not alone in trying to avoid going to Southeast Asia to fight.
His money got him out of serving. I was fortunate to have a draft number of 278. The difference between Trump and myself when it comes to Vietnam is that I would never disparage those who served in Vietnam or any other war as he does time and time again, whether it be disparaging war hero John McCain or insulting the gold star Khan family as just two examples.
Wearing an American flag lapel pin or hugging the American flag at a C-PAC convention does not patriot make, Trump. Respecting the values and ideals and principles on which this country was founded and which are at the core of our Constitution does.