I guess I heard only part of the sentence as Michael “Cash Cab” Cohen, testifying before a Congressional committee, was describing a “a cheat, a con man.” It seemed for a moment as though he was ’fessin’ up, coming clean, seeking penitence, admitting his sins publicly. But it soon became clear that the cheat and con man was describing someone else, not himself. Alas poor tormented soul!
Between the Democrats holding the House and the Left strangle-holding most of the media, life in America no longer is about news and reality, but is a never-ending game show: “Trump That Trump!” Every week another guest contestant, usually hawking a new book or lawsuit. One week it is Stormy Daniels, another week James Comey, another Michael Avenatti. One week Peter Strzok, another Andrew McCabe, another John Brennan. Just for fun — Omarosa. On the special edition — Perjury Month — it is Blasey Ford, then Julie Swetnick, then Michael Cohen. When the contestants dry up, they trot them out again for game show summer reruns. Each gets a week to level wild accusations, and then they go back into the closet, kept on standby for weeks of limited news or major Presidential moments when they are needed desperately to reappear to draw attention away from the President’s achievements. This time the President was negotiating a possible end to the Korean War, a possible denuclearization — and it was happening in Vietnam, which likewise carries so much symbolism and meaning. So it was the perfect time to dust off Michael Cohen for the “Tournament of Champions” and, fittingly for a perjurer, to swear him in.
Since it is not really news but a game show — “Trump That Trump!”— let’s play:
Game Show Question: Who was that guy who became famous for holding up banks “because that’s where the money is”?
Bzzzzzz!! Time’s up!
So would a bank president give Willie Sutton a key to his or her bank? No. And that is exactly like inviting a convicted perjurer, with a documented and recorded record of lying to Congress under oath, to come back and testify under oath before Congress. That thing about the definition of insanity being when someone repeats the exact same steps and expects a different outcome. The guy is a liar. His specialty is lying to Congress. Indeed, he is blessed with the Gift of Pathological Perjury — the ability that pathological liars have, to lie almost convincingly because they lack the consciences that make them squirm and that raise their blood pressure and heart beats when they lie. This guy can say anything under oath.
He denied wanting a top White House job when the President, whom he admired and adored and loyally served for more than ten years, was elected. Heck, he would take a bullet for the guy. Everyone knew this. It is all over the place, on audio tape, on video. And unlike his audio recordings, these were done with full awareness of the guy being recorded. But he still will lie.
OK. Here we go: Game Show Question: Name a person in the Bar who got disbarred and ended up behind bars!
Bzzzzzz!! Time’s up!
Mikey Medallions. Cash Cab Cohen. He got caught in a mess over New York City taxi medallions. He secretly audio-recorded his own law clients. He messed with banks. And now he just has been disbarred on the eve of beginning his three-year Sabbatical in the hoosegow. Behind bars.
He worked for Trump for more than ten years. Again: he told the world that he would take a bullet for Trump. He submitted a book manuscript describing his adoration and adulation of Trump. And now, suddenly, he discovers that Trump is not how Cohen always publicly glowingly described him?
So let’s call it straight. When I voted for Donald Trump to be my next President, I assumed that Trump had done some funny stuff over the years in business. The guy’s enterprises went into bankruptcy, bounced back overnight. His businesses include casino gambling, and he is a character. Besides, the whole construction industry itself is what it is. Bada-bing, Bada-boom!
That is how business works. There always is funny stuff in businesses like those in which Trump made his fortune. You have to deal with unions, work around unions, deal with permits — meaning deal with Government and zoning boards and politicians… meaning make campaign contributions. One guy calls it a “campaign contribution,” the next calls it a “bribe.” Why does any sane person think Trump was busy during those years donating both to Republicans and to Democrats like the Clintons — because he had a split personality or was bipolar? (How could he possibly be bipolar if he has not been to both the North Pole and the South Pole?) So that’s how it works. You make donations — like the way all those Wall Street firms would pay Hillary $150,000 or more for fifteen-minute “speeches” behind closed doors — and the next thing you know, your hotel permit is approved. Or, in the case of the Clintons, not only do you get your hotel permit — but, as an extra bonus, you also can have half of America’s plutonium.
So we all knew as we voted for Trump that he must have shaved some corners over the years. We knew about Ivanna and then Marla and the guy who had the fetish for her shoes. We heard plenty about the “Access Hollywood” discussion with Billy Bush in the trailer. And because Trump is a money-maker, a graduate of business school, we knew that he knew that he had to hire accountants and lawyers to steer his business dealings always within the right side of the law — because the IRS would never be far away. That is what corporation attorneys do. The best of them, the truly ethical and honest ones — and there are tons of them, the vast and overwhelming majority of those who practice — explain to their clients what is allowed, what is forbidden, and they then devise incredibly insightful, creative, and even ingenious strategies for getting around the laws lawfully. That is how General Electric could make a $14.2 billion profit in 2010 and reportedly pay no taxes. In similar fashion, Amazon paid no taxes in 2017 on profits of $11.2 billion. The business men and women generate the cash, and they leave it for their lawyers, accountants, and tax advisors to figure out how to keep most of it. So they move money out of the country to lower-tax havens. They move to lower-tax states. They defer profits to later years or re-characterize assets. They buy politicians legally by contributing to their election campaigns; in return, their lobbyists get invited to help draft “tough new” federal and state tax legislation — that subtly protects them. It does not matter who runs Washington and how much the public votes to tax “The Rich” — socialism, schmocialism — Warren Buffett will always pay less than his secretary, and the likes of Bernie Sanders and his wife always will end up millionaires with at least three houses, while jetting around the country in private planes. That’s how it works. Bread lines are for the other guys who, as Bernie explains, are lucky enough to live under communism.
Trump’s great mistake — besides naming Jeff Sessions as his first Attorney-General — was that, in addition to having amazingly brilliant and ethical attorneys like David Friedman and Jason Greenblatt, he somehow included Michael Cohen in his stable for purposes when he had to pony up. Cohen apparently was not retained for the smart-attorney stuff. Rather, he was “The Fixer,” on call to pay off the bimbos, spread the cash to keep the boss’s name clean so that the wife and kids don’t get embarrassed by what they read on Page Six of the New York Post. It is a bottom-feeder job, at the lowest rungs of law practice — if it even can be called that — but America is a land of opportunity where even a guy who plays around with taxi medallions can touch fame and glory. Perhaps when he gets out of the slammer, he can approach Robert Kraft of the New England Patriots for a job.
There was a time some two decades ago that I was hired to be personal legal counsel to a famous billionaire. It was cool. I had been litigating at major law firms for more than a decade, and I was sick of having to bill 2,200 hours a year, and to document how I had spent each one-tenth of each hour of my working days, nights, and weekends. So the opportunity came — great, great money; great weekday 9-5 hours (and I could leave early on Fridays for the Sabbath) — and it actually opened the door for me to return to my passion, the rabbinate, now that I no longer had to bill those insane hours. It was fun. For three or four months.
As I became more deeply engaged, I soon encountered things that, unlike Michael Cohen, I never have disclosed because the sanctity of the attorney-client relationship means something to me. I came home and spoke with my righteous and honest wife, who doubles as my best friend, and I explained that, darn it, I am going to have to give up this cushiest of high-paying jobs because my conscience and personal ethics will not allow me to remain there any longer. I hated giving up the great money and easy hours, but I never felt better than the day that I made like an amoeba and split. Years later, things hit the newspapers, and Wife and I just smiled at each other, as we saw the billionaire’s other attorneys dealing with the kinds of awful fall-out that otherwise would have been on my plate to defend and justify.
That image is what keeps coming to my mind every time they haul Michael “Cash Cab” Cohen out of mothballs for another return engagement on “Trump That Trump!”
Game Show Question — Bonus Round (scores double!): If the man whom we elected in 2016 and who has proven, in only two years, already to be destined for ranking as one of the top ten Presidents in American history, was such a bad guy all those years, why did Cohen keep working for him for more than ten years, write a manuscript idolizing him, articulate and manifest a readiness to take a bullet for him, and continue standing loyally by him until Cohen finally was exposed as a bottom-feeding lawyer who secretly went about audio-recording his own clients and paying hush money to pole dancers?
The winning answer will be found in the Readers’ Comments below. Remember: The scores double!