WASHINGTON — President Trump had another “Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day” this week.
Only, unlike Alexander’s single bad day, in the children’s classic by Judith Viorst, Trump’s terrible troubles seem to have lengthened into weeks, months and, possibly, years.
The president was out of the country visiting North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, in Hanoi, Vietnam, in a bid to hammer out a denuclearization deal with the armed-to-the-teeth dictator.
But here at home, Trump’s former personal lawyer, longtime fixer, coverup artist and payoff dealer Michael Cohen, was peeling the bark off the president’s political veneer before the House Oversight Committee.
Cohen faces three years in prison after pleading guilty to numerous charges, including campaign finance fraud and lying to Congress. But he came armed with a pile of documents about Trump, including hush money checks to cover up his affairs with women, among other misdeeds.
“I am ashamed of my weakness and misplaced loyalty — of the things I did for Mr. Trump in an effort to protect and promote. I am ashamed that I chose to take part in concealing Mr. Trump’s illicit acts rather than listening to my own conscience,” Cohen testified Wednesday.
“I am ashamed because I know what Mr. Trump is,” he
read from his prepared text. “He is a racist. He is a conman. He is a cheat. He was a presidential candidate who knew that Roger Stone was talking with Julian Assange about a WikiLeaks drop of Democratic National Committee emails,” he said.
Among the evidence that he brought with him was a copy of a check that “Mr. Trump wrote from his personal bank account — after he became president — to reimburse me for the hush money payments I made to cover up his affair with an adult film star and prevent damage to his campaign.”
Cohen admitted that he “lied to Congress about when Mr. Trump stopped negotiating the Moscow Tower project in Russia. I stated that we stopped negotiating in January 2016,” he said.
“That was false — our negotiations (with the Russians) continued for months later, during the campaign,” Cohen said.
“To be clear: Mr. Trump knew of and directed the Trump Moscow negotiations throughout the campaign and lied about it,” he explained. “He also lied about it because he stood to make hundreds of millions of dollars on the Moscow real estate project.”
Throughout his first two years as president, and before then during his campaign, Trump repeatedly said that he had no business with the Russians, branding stories to the contrary as “fake news.”
Among other revelations, Cohen told the committee that Trump ordered him to threaten legal action against schools and colleges he attended to ensure that his grades or SAT scores were never released to the public.
“When I say conman, I’m talking about a man who declares himself brilliant but directed me to threaten his high school, colleges and the College Board to never release his grades,” he said.
Meantime, the fight goes on in Congress over Trump’s declaration that there is a national emergency on our southern border, empowering the president to take money out of Defense Department programs to pay for his wall.
The Democratic-controlled House easily passed a bill this week on a 245-to-182 vote to overturn his declaration, and sent the bill to the Senate.
The latest vote count shows three Senate Republicans
(Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Thom Tillis of North Carolina) intend to vote for the disapproval measure in the tightly divided chamber, with other Republicans still undecided.
Only one more GOP vote would be needed to send the disapproval bill to the president for his certain veto.
That still leaves Trump’s unconstitutional plan to seize the money he wants to take from the Pentagon in legal limbo.
His dubious emergency declaration is tied up in federal courts across the country, where judges must now decide whether he can claim the billions for his wall — without obtaining Congress’ approval — which legal scholars say is blatantly illegal.
The case is likely to go all the way to the Supreme Court, which would have to determine whether he is telling the truth about his so-called emergency that “thousands and thousands” of criminal migrants are still pouring across our border.
Especially when the government’s own numbers say that the number of illegal migrants crossing into the U.S. is the lowest it’s been in decades.
The president wouldn’t lie about this, would he?