Discussing a report that Michael Cohen, the former personal lawyer to Donald Trump, has agreed to be questioned by lawmakers in televised hearings, CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin had some advice for Democrats on getting more dirt on the embattled president.
Speaking with “New Day” hosts John Berman and Alisyn Camerota, Toobin explained that the hearing is not a court of law, meaning that hearsay evidence is not precluded and that the range of questions that can be asked is open for the asking.
According to Toobin, he doesn’t believe that Trump will be criminally prosecuted — or impeached — but he does believe that Democrats can make political hay out of what Cohen has to offer.
“Remember, Donald Trump is not going to be criminally prosecuted, this is a political event,” Toobin explained. I don’t think he will be impeached either, but his political status is very much in jeopardy because of the Russia scandal, broadly. ”
“Two things to remember about Michael Cohen’s testimony,” he continued. “One thing we don’t know yet is: Will he be prepared by congressional staffers in advance? Because testimony is only effective if people prepare in advance and they spend 10 hours behind the scenes for every hour in court or in a hearing.”
“The other point to remember is that this will not be according to the rules of evidence — so hearsay is admissible in Congress,” the attorney elaborated. “Lots of questions will be to Michael Cohen. What did Donald Trump say to you? What did he tell you about Stormy Daniels? What did he tell you about Karen McDougal? What did he tell you about his dealings with Russia?”
He then added a caveat on questions about Russia, saying, “That subject may be reserved for executive session for secrecy. You know, the whole Russia side. But he can talk openly without a judge telling him no about his dealings with President and candidate Trump, and that would be a very big deal.”
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