CNN’s political analysis Chris Cillizza said that Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) won the day for her questions during Michael Cohen’s Oversight Committee hearing. The loser, he said, was not President Donald Trump, but his latest apologist, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL).
Ocasio-Cortez asked questions that focused on the financial crimes that the president could have committed.
“Everyone was waiting to see how she handled her first big moment as a member of Congress,” he wrote Thursday. “And man, did she nail it. While Ocasio-Cortez has faced criticism — fairly, in my mind — that she has said things without checking their veracity in her first few months in Congress, she was fact-based with her questions for Cohen on Wednesday.”
The New York Congresswoman was able to get Cohen to testify about Trump’s federal insurance fraud and local tax fraud in New York and Florida.
It’s unclear what the Southern District of New York is focusing on as possible crimes. Cohen did note that there were investigations out of that involve criminal charges on Trump.
AOC also helped build a case for getting Trump’s tax returns
Beyond getting Cohen to list who else might have pertinent information on Trump, Ocasio-Cortez also zoomed in on a major white whale for Democrats: Trump’s tax returns.
She got Cohen to say that getting a look at Trump’s tax returns and financial statements would be helpful in finding out if Trump inflated the value of his assets to insurance companies or, conversely, deflated the value of assets — such as his golf courses — in order to keep his tax bill low. Ocasio-Cortez pointed to a pair of Washington Post stories about how Trump kept his tax bills down on his golf courses in Florida and New York. She asked Cohen how Trump did it.
“What you do is you deflate the value of the asset and then you put in a request to the tax department for a deduction,” Cohen said.
Ocasio-Cortez also mentioned the bombshell New York Times report from 2018 that laid out how Trump and his family “participated in dubious tax schemes” over the years. Cohen said he didn’t know whether the specifics of the report were accurate, though Weisselberg would.
“Would it help for the committee to obtain federal and state tax returns from the president and his company to address that discrepancy?” Ocasio-Cortez asked.
“I believe so,” Cohen replied.
As important as AOC’s questioning was, Gaetz proved his irrelevance. The day prior to Cohen’s testimony, Gaetz tweeted a threat interpreted as an attempt to silence the former “fixer.” Gaetz tweeted about Cohen’s wife and other personal relationships that “might” become known.
Thursday, a staff reporter for The Atlantic, tweeted that he overheard a phone conversation between Gaetz and Trump, whom he said called the Florida Republican from Hanoi to discuss the Cohen testimony and apparent threat. It seems Trump is starting to worry.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez credited her time as a bartender for sharpening her “BS detector”
After she was praised for her probing questions to President Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen at a congressional hearing Wednesday.
“Bartending + waitressing (especially in NYC) means you talk to 1000s of people over the years. Forces you to get great at reading people + hones a razor-sharp BS detector,” the freshman lawmaker wrote on her Twitter account hours after the hearing ended. “Just goes to show that what some consider to be ‘unskilled labor’ can actually be anything but.”
Ocasio-Cortez, a self-described Democratic socialist, was responding to a tweet that wondered if she was a former prosecutor because of her focused line of questioning at the House Oversight Committee hearing.
“I always entertained law school, but couldn’t afford it. So now I’m learning in the job :),” she said in another posting.