Glaringly absent from all these exchanges with Cohen, and from practically the entire hearing, were attempts to defend Trump himself, or to push back on Cohen’s claims that the president had directed him to commit crimes.
This was especially evident when Cohen dropped one of his bombshells. He told Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Ill., that the content of his most recent phone call with Trump was “actually something that’s being investigated right now by the Southern District of New York, and I’ve been asked by them not to discuss and not to talk about these issues.”
For the next Republican at the mic, in this case, Texas Rep. Michael Cloud, this might have been a good time to press Cohen on whether he had played a part in these wrongdoings he claimed to know about. Or perhaps to emphasize that these fresh allegations Cohen was airing against the president were both vague and presented without any evidence.
Instead, Cloud changed the subject, and used his time to accuse Cohen of seeking to profit from his relationship with Trump.
“You are set to go to jail for a couple of years, and you’ll come out with a multimillion-dollar book deal,” Cloud told Cohen. “So my question is, will you today commit to donate any further proceeds from book deals and film revenues to charity?”
“No,” Cohen replied.
“Thank you,” Cloud said, before giving Meadows the remainder of his allotted time.
Meadows used it to ask Cohen more questions about the Kazakh bank.
Correction: Rep. Paul Gosar is an Arizona Republican. An earlier version misidentified his state.