Michael Cohen's testimony gets brutal reviews as he takes stand again: ‘Fabricator, liar or forgetful person’


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As Michael Cohen takes the stand again on Monday, he does so on the heels of Trump-critical mainstream media outlets who expressed derision about his testimony in the former president’s New York trial.

While some of his earlier testimony got positive reviews, Cohen had a shaky performance under cross-examination and still has longstanding credibility issues due to his admitted past perjury in the eyes of multiple pundits from CNN, MSNBC and even ABC’s “The View.” They accused him of lying, admitting to unethical behavior, and one even questioned why a convicted perjurer would be a witness in this trial in the first place.

“But Michael Cohen, a known perjurer who’s lied before — I just worry about the credibility factor,” “The View” co-host Alyssa Farah Griffin said.

Cohen may be the final witness in the trial as the defense continues to question him on Monday and try to poke more holes in his story.


Cohen is considered the star witness in New York v. Trump, and he has testified that Trump authorized hush money payments to porn star Stormy Daniels, who has said she was paid to remain quiet about a sexual encounter with Trump in 2006. Cohen said Trump was worried about the story getting out and hurting his 2016 campaign; Trump has denied the affair occurred. He is charged with falsifying business records in furtherance of other felonies, including campaign finance law violations.

MSNBC legal correspondent Lisa Rubin delivered a scathing judgment of Cohen’s testimony on Thursday, remarking on a particular moment where Trump defense attorney Todd Blanche’s line of questioning had the former Trump fixer looking like a “fabricator, liar or forgetful person.”

The moment happened days after Cohen testified that he had called Trump’s former bodyguard Keith Schiller on Oct. 24, 2016, to get in touch with Trump about the payment to Daniels.

As Trump’s legal team questioned Cohen on Thursday, Blanche pulled out records of text messages that Cohen sent to Schiller shortly before the phone call. The text messages revealed Cohen asked to talk to Schiller about a 14-year-old prankster that was harassing him.

The records indicated that Schiller told Cohen, “Call me,” just ahead of the phone call, which Cohen testified earlier was meant to discuss with Trump the payment to Daniels. When Blanche asked Cohen what the call was about, Cohen admitted the call was partly about the 14-year-old harassing him.


Blanche then accused Cohen of lying about the purpose of the phone call, a notion Rubin seemed to agree with in her MSNBC commentary. 

“Once he connected up to the Keith Schiller text, I thought, ‘Oh, we’re in for something here.’ And indeed, we were,” Rubin told MSNBC anchor Chris Jansing.

“Because Michael Cohen not only admitted that he is now less than certain about what got discussed that day and that it could have been both, but he’s not positive given the one minute and 30-something seconds of that phone call; but also that in eight years he had never seen that Keith Schiller text and that it was not among the things that the district attorney’s office had shown him.”

She continued, grilling not only Cohen, but District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s prosecution as well. 

“That makes the district attorney’s office look sloppy in addition to making Michael Cohen seem like a self-assured either fabricator, liar or forgetful person. It casts doubt on the veracity of a ton of his testimony and not just about who he did or didn’t talk to on October 24 or October 26.”

“It sort of cast lots of his testimony in doubt, given the passage of time and makes the district attorney’s office look terrible all in one breath,” Rubin added, elsewhere noting, “This is a moment of real triumph for Todd Blanche, you can even hear it in his voice. He is not a person to get excitable very easily.”


On CNN, anchor Anderson Cooper found the same moment in Cohen’s testimony problematic for his credibility.  

In response to network senior legal analyst Elie Honig asking the anchor if the moment had caused him to doubt Cohen’s testimony, Cooper replied, “Absolutely. I think it’s devastating for Michael Cohen’s credibility on this one particular topic.”

“If I was a juror in this case watching that, I would think, this guy’s making this up as he’s going along, or he’s making this particular story up,” the CNN host added later in the segment.

CNN anchor Brianna Keilar, along with a network panel, also bashed Cohen over a different admission made in his Thursday testimony – namely that the former attorney had recorded phone calls with Trump and his other clients at the time without their knowledge or consent.

“Let’s just be very clear, that is highly uncool,” Keilar said after reading Cohen’s admission aloud. Several members of the panel, which included CNN legal analysts Elliot Williams and Honig, engaged in a brief exchange over the legality of recording someone without consent.

“Some states — illegal,” Williams said. Keilar added, “And ethically questionable even if it’s not illegal.”

Honig said Thursday that Cohen had endured a “devastating” cross-examination, according to Mediaite.

He also said that Cohen had his “knees chopped out,” while the New York Times’ Jonathan Alter described the exchange as “pay dirt” for Trump’s defense. Alter added Trump seemed pleased after the testimony, even after the defense couldn’t shake Cohen regarding another story about a payoff to ex-Playboy model Karen McDougal.

“I saw Trump smiling as he whispered to one of his lawyers. It was a good day for him,” Alter wrote.

Cohen has also come under fire in the media for his brazen use of social media to discuss the trial and bash Trump.

Daniels’ former attorney Michael Avenatti, who is serving 19 years in prison for a variety of offenses that include stealing from Daniels’ book advance, has not held back about his derision for Cohen and his centrality to the state’s case against Trump.

“I’ve never understood why they were going to end with him,” Avenatti told Fox News Digital. “I always believed that was a critical mistake because I anticipated that Cohen was going to do exactly what he’s done, and that is completely fall apart on the stand.”

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