As President Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen continued to rail against his one-time boss and friend during explosive Congressional testimony Wednesday, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie had just one question: Where are the Republicans defending the president?
“The interesting thing is that there hasn’t been one Republican yet who’s tried to defend the president on the substance," Christie told ABC This Week host George Stephanopoulos, analyzing Cohen’s ongoing congressional testimony. “And I think that’s something that should be concerning to the White House.”
Christie, who was once a close personal friend of Trump and early endorser before being bitterly tossed from the president’s transition team, continued: "Why are no Republicans standing up and defending the president on the substance? And that’s either a failure of those Republicans on the hill or a failure of the White House to have a unified strategy with them. They knew what was coming with Michael Cohen … As the day goes on, it’s going to get tired of hearing the attacks on Cohen’s credibility. He’s not a credible witness, but he does have corroboration on certain things. Where’s the defense of the president?“
The former governor recently released his own tell-all from the president’s inner circle, in which he wrote Trump was surrounded by “amateurs, grifters, weaklings, convicted and unconvicted felons.”
Cohen began his testimony before the House Oversight and Reform Committee by calling the president a “con man” and a “racist,” and saying that Trump knew ahead of time that WikiLeaks planned to release hacked emails from Hillary Clinton.
The former Trump lawyer is slated to begin a three-year federal prison sentence in May, after having pleaded guilty in two separate cases related to campaign finance violations, tax evasion, and lying to Congress.
As Congress’ questioning of Cohen began, Republican lawmakers repeatedly took aim at his credibility — at one point, Rep. Paul Gosar (R., Ariz.) pointed to a poster print of Cohen’s face emblazoned with “Liar, liar, pants on fire!” — but no one seemed to be in a hurry to defend Trump’s name.
In fact, even Cohen himself echoed Christie’s evaluation, pointing to the committee’s lack of questions on the president’s actions.
“All I wanted to say is I just find it interesting, sir, that between yourself and your colleagues that not one question so far since I’m here has been asked about President Trump,” Cohen responded to Rep. Jim Jordan, after the Ohio Republican chastised him for lying to Congress. "That’s actually why I thought I was coming today. Not to confess the mistakes that I’ve made. I’ve already done that and I’ll do it every time you ask me about taxes and mistakes. Yes, I’ve made mistakes and I’ll say it now again and I’ll pay the ultimate price but I’m not here today and the American people don’t care about my taxes. They want to know what it is that I know about Mr. Trump and not one question so far has been asked about Mr. Trump.”
Preet Bharara, the former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, also seemed to agree with Christie’s analysis.
“Michael Cohen nails it when he says no Republican member has asked a question about Mr. Trump,” Bharara tweeted. “Speaks volumes.”
Staff writer Rob Tornoe contributed to this story.