Cohen saw ‘no evidence’ of collusion

Republicans on the House Oversight and Reform Committee today called Michael Cohen everything but the spawn of Satan himself.

Cohen, the former lawyer and fixer for the president of the United States, spent a full day talking to the committee about Donald Trump.

Republicans weren’t in the mood to listen intently to what Cohen had to say. They called him a liar repeatedly during the day. Cohen has acknowledged as much already.

But Cohen did say something that should have given the GOP committee members some pause in their attack on Trump’s former confidant. Cohen said today that he has seen “no evidence” of collusion between Trump and the Russians who attacked our electoral system in 2016 and who had dirt to deliver on Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Now, what does that mean? It doesn’t mean that there is no evidence. Cohen’s statement merely acknowledges that he hasn’t seen it. He has no personal knowledge of collusion. Cohen doesn’t speak for special counsel Robert Mueller, who reportedly is wrapping his lengthy investigation into alleged collusion.

Cohen’s lack of personal knowledge of collusion, though, does buttress his credibility as a witness before the House panel. Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings did warn Cohen at the start of the hearing that lying to the committee is a crime and asked Cohen if he is aware of that fact. Cohen said “yes,” he is aware.

So, he spoke the truth quite clearly about his lack of personal knowledge of collusion. I also believe that his acknowledgment of such gives the rest of his testimony today more credibility than committee Republicans were willing to give.

However, I am not going to accept Cohen’s lack of personal knowledge of collusion as a declarative statement that collusion did not exist. I’m waiting for Robert Mueller to provide that testimony.

If that is what he has learned.

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