Cohen declines to bite at combative questions from Trump’s man Todd | Donald Trump trials

“Mr Trump, is Todd doing a good job?”

So shouted a pool reporter outside a Manhattan courtroom Tuesday afternoon shortly after Trump’s lead attorney, Todd Blanche, started cross examining former fixer turned prosecution witness, Michael Cohen, in his criminal hush-money trial.

Trump did not reply to that question.

Indeed, this was the same question on everyone’s mind during cross-examination. Blanche tried to lob gotcha questions at Cohen. In turn, Cohen would retort with brief responses, spurring full-throated laughter in the overflow viewing room.

“On April 23, you went on TikToK and called me a ‘crying little shit?’” Blanche asked, in the first of many an awkward salvo.

“Sounds like something I would say.”

“After the trial started, you referred to President Trump as a ‘dictator douche bag’, didn’t you?” Blanche asked at another point, referring to one of Cohen’s social media posts.

“Sounds like something I said.”

Did Cohen say he wanted to see Trump convicted, in a cage, “like a fucking animal?”

“I recall saying that,” Cohen said.

Did he call Trump a “boorish cartoon misogynist?” A “Cheeto-dusted cartoon villain?”

Cohen, calm as ever, similarly confirmed these statements sounded like things he would say.

To be clear, Blanche’s attempt to trip up Cohen by pointing out animosity toward Trump makes sense strategically. Prosecutors allege that Trump cast reimbursement for a $130,000 hush-money payment to the porn star Stormy Daniels as legal expenses for Cohen, constituting falsification of business records.

Cohen’s testimony put Trump squarely at the center of this alleged scheme, with him telling jurors Tuesday that he paid Daniels “to ensure that the story would not come out, would not affect Mr Trump’s chances of becoming president of the United States”

“At whose direction, and on whose behalf, did you commit that crime?” prosecutor Susan Hoffinger asked him.

“On behalf of Mr Trump,” Cohen said.

So Blanche needs Cohen to look bad, to mitigate the damage of these statements.

“You were actually obsessed with President Trump, weren’t you?” Blanche asked.

“I don’t know if I would characterize it as obsessed, but I admired him tremendously.”

“You publicly said he was a good man?”


“You said that he’s a man who cares deeply about this country?”

“I said that,” Cohen responded.

“That he’s a man who tells it straight?” Cohen said, “Yes, sir.”

“And that all he wants to do is make this country great again?”

“Sounds right.”

“At that time, you weren’t lying, right?”

“At that time, I was knee-deep into the cult of Donald Trump, yes,” Cohen said.

Blanche asked Cohen about items that are shown on his podcast’s website, including a shirt with Trump in an orange jumpsuit, which he showed in court. He also showed a photo of a coffee mug that reads: “Send him to the Big House not the White House.”

That’s also a reference to President Trump, correct?

“Correct,” Cohen said.

Didn’t Cohen wear that shirt on his TikTok channel last week? Wasn’t he encouraging people to buy it?

“At the merch store,” Cohen said.

Even when Blanche got Cohen to admit that he wanted to see Trump convicted, he answered with a comically underwhelming: “Sure.”

So eyebrow-raising were Blanche’s initial questions to Cohen – what did he say about him, the attorney, and his associate, another Trump attorney? – that Judge Juan Merchan appeared irked.

“Why are you making this about yourself?” Merchan asked Blanche during a sidebar after this first set of questions. Blanche, for that matter, insisted, “I’m not making it about myself, your honor,” and said he had the right to press Cohen on bias against both his client and lawyers.

“Please, don’t make it about yourself,” Merchan instructed at the sidebar’s conclusion.

Trump, who appeared to nod off repeatedly throughout Cohen’s testimony, did not seem disturbed by the day’s developments. As he left court for the day, Trump told the reporter pool: “It was a very, very good day.”

Blanche will resume his cross-examination of Blanche on Thursday. He told the court that he expects his cross will take all day.

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