We have our own problems in Malawi; the abductions and killings of people with albinism, the violence ahead of the May 21 Tripartite Elections, the rampant corruption in government, and the list goes on and on. But we are part of a global village and so we cannot pretend not to be affected by what is happening beyond the borders of our country.
The blistering revelations of and accusations by President Donald Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, about his former boss this week is one such damning event.
Cohen worked for Trump for a decade as vice president of the Trump Business Empire and counsel for the President of the strongest and wealthiest nation in the world.
Appearing before the Congress Oversight Committee, Cohen who previously pleaded guilty to lying to Congress is set to start serving a three-year jail term in May for lying to Congress. And so perhaps he has nothing to lose.
He described Trump as a racist and a con man who used his inner circle to cover up politically damaging allegations about sex. Cohen told lawmakers Wednesday that Trump had advance knowledge and embraced the news that emails damaging to Democratic rival Hillary Clinton would be released during the campaign. But he also said he had no “direct evidence” that Trump or his aides colluded with Russia to get him elected, the primary question of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.
In another revelation Cohen said Trump lied throughout the 2016 election campaign about his business interests in Russia.
Cohen told lawmakers Wednesday that Trump had advance knowledge and embraced the news that emails damaging to Democratic rival Hillary Clinton would be released during the campaign. But he also said he had no “direct evidence” that Trump or his aides colluded with Russia to get him elected, the primary question of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.
In testimony that cut to the heart of federal investigations encircling the White House, Cohen said he arranged a hush money payment to a porn actress at Trump’s behest and agreed to lie about it to the public and the first lady.
Cohen said he had lied by claiming that Trump was “not knowledgeable” about the transaction even though Trump had directly arranged for his reimbursement. And he said he was left with the unmistakable impression Trump wanted him to lie to Congress about a Moscow real estate project, though the president never directly told him so.
In one revelation, Cohen said prosecutors in New York were investigating conversations Trump or his advisers had with him after his office and hotel room were raided by the FBI last April. Cohen said he could not discuss that conversation, the last contact he said he has had with the President or anyone acting on his behalf, because it remains under investigation.
In another revelation Cohen said Trump inflates and deflates his assets.
Cohen regretted many things and apologised to his family, as well as the American people for what he did for and with Trump.
As we went to press on Thursday Cohen was expected to reveal more about the dirt he was involved in or on behalf of Trump. Cohen was scheduled to appear before the House intelligence committee behind closed doors.
Trump said Thursday he tried to watch as much of Cohen’s marathon congressional hearing as he could. He slammed the hearing as “fake” and said it was a “terrible thing” for Democrats to hold it during the summit.
The only thing that weakens Cohen’s scathing revelations is his admission that he lied to Congress previously for which he has been convicted and sentenced.
But I can predict without fear of contradiction that his damning statements and revelations-some of which he backed with documents-will greatly dent Trump’s political life.
I expect Trump’s political opponents to capitalize on the revelations and commence investigations against him. There are many telling lessons Malawians can learn from the Cohen-Trump fiasco. The fortieth day will always come. n