WHEN two people notoriously who are known to have no respect for the truth get into a “he said-he said” public argument, who will Americans believe?
President Donald Trump, who has been lying even before he entered politics just to grab attention, get high ratings, discredit his opponents, win the sympathy of his loyal supporters by playing the victim role, push an agenda without regard for facts, intimidate people to get his way? Or his former long-time personal attorney/fixer Michael Cohen who is headed to jail for lying (to protect and defend his boss, the president) who now divulges testimonies under oath with hard evidence to support his allegations?
The latest Quinnipiac University National Poll reveals that most Americans think Cohen is more trustworthy than the man he was convicted for lying for.
In the wake of the Cohen testimony in three different committees in the House of Representatives last week, with one open hearing witness by the whole world, survey respondents were asked, “In general, who do you believe more: President Trump or Michael Cohen?”
As The Filipino Channel’s daily newscast “Balitang America reported on Wednesday, March 6, “A whopping 50 percent of respondents said they believe Cohen more versus the 35 percent who said they believe the President of the United States more.”
More bad news for Trump who is reaping the fruits of his own words and action: 64 percent of respondents to the survey think that Trump committed a crime prior to taking office, compared to 24 percent who do not. Thirteen percent said they did not know.
These findings, when analyzed according to the political affiliation of respondents, show how deeply divided Americans are in their perception and understanding of what is going in the Trump presidency.
Almost nine out of 10 Democrats said they think Trump committed a crime prior to taking office, while three out of 10 Republicans do.
The latest drama in Trump’s reality show now features the question if Cohen sought presidential pardon from Trump.
As the New York Times reported, “President Trump claimed on Friday that his former personal lawyer and fixer, Michael D. Cohen, “directly” asked him for a pardon”. This assertion came in quite a week late after Cohen told the Senate Oversight Committee under oath last week that he never sought one.
According to the Times, “Mr. Trump made the claim on Twitter, referring to Mr. Cohen’s testimony to Congress in which Mr. Cohen said the president lied to the public about business interests in Russia, lied to reporters about stolen Democratic emails and told Mr. Cohen to lie about hush payments to cover up sexual misconduct.”
“Bad lawyer and fraudster Michael Cohen said under sworn testimony that he never asked for a Pardon. His lawyers totally contradicted him. He lied! Additionally, he directly asked me for a pardon. I said NO. He lied again! He also badly wanted to work at the White House. He lied!”
The Times, however, reported on how this drama unfolded with all the twists and turns that lead to the falling out of the Trump-Cohen connivance:
“His current lawyer, Lanny J. Davis, acknowledged this week that Mr. Cohen’s previous lawyer had inquired about a pardon soon after the F.B.I. searched Mr. Cohen’s home and office in April 2018. But Mr. Davis said that inquiry came about because the president’s team had “dangled” the possibility of one in implicit statements.
Mr. Cohen has told associates that the signals from Mr. Trump about a pardon date back more than a year, soon after Mr. Cohen had publicly disclosed making what he said at the time were unreimbursed payments out of his own pocket in 2016 to Stormy Daniels, a pornographic film star who had claimed to have had an affair with the president a decade earlier.
Mr. Cohen has told the associates that last March, before his office and homes were raided, he had dinner with Mr. Trump, and that he and the president talked on the phone after the raids in April. After those conversations, Mr. Cohen told the associates that he anticipated he would be given a pardon or some form of protection if he would remain silent about having been reimbursed by Mr. Trump for making the payments, according to people told of the discussions.
Mr. Cohen and Mr. Trump were part of a formal agreement in which their lawyers worked together to review documents that the F.B.I. had seized to determine what could be declared off limits to law enforcement officials because of attorney-client privilege. But that joint effort ended in July 2018, as Mr. Trump’s aides balked at paying parts of Mr. Cohen’s legal bills.”
Cohen tweeted back: “Just another set of lies by @POTUS @realdonaldtrump. Mr. President…let me remind you that today is #InternationalWomensDay. You may want [to] use today to apologize for your own #lies and #DirtyDeeds to women like Karen McDougal and Stephanie Clifford.”
WORDS matter. WORDS have consequences. WORDS, when used in vain and twisted to deceive people — those who think and discern based on facts and not on blind loyalty and fanaticism — will erode one’s credibility and the capacity to lead, especially if you are the President of the United States of America.
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Gel Santos Relos is the anchor of TFC’s “Balitang America.” Views and opinions expressed by the author in this column are solely those of the author and not of Asian Journal and ABS-CBN-TFC. For comments, go to www.TheFil-AmPerspective.com, https://www.facebook.com/Gel.Santos.Relos