Is Michael Cohen’s Cross-Examination Hurting the Prosecution’s Case Against Donald Trump?

AP Photo/Andres Kudacki

Former Trump ‘fixer’ Michael Cohen was back on the stand on Thursday for a full day of cross-examination.

While the disbarred attorney is considered to be the prosecution’s ‘star’ witness against former President Donald Trump, concerns about his credibility are threatening to undermine the case. So, is Cohen doing more harm than good?

On Thursday’s show, Megyn was joined by legal experts Dave Aronberg and Andy McCarthy to discuss what Cohen has said on the stand and how it helps or hurts prosecutors.

Cross-Examination Highlights

After hearing on Tuesday that jurors seemed largely uninterested and bored by the cross-examination of Cohen, reports indicate that there was a much more lively atmosphere in the courtroom on Thursday. Depending on how you view the case, Megyn said you could call some of the key moments in the testimony “highlights” or “lowlights.” Regardless, they shed light on the defense team’s strategy when it comes to painting Cohen as an unreliable witness.

At one point, defense attorney Todd Blanche began questioning Cohen on exchanges he had with a lawyer named Robert Costello, who some are speculating could be the sole witness called by the Trump legal team in this case.

Costello acted as a go-between of sorts between Cohen and then-President Trump via his attorney Rudy Giuliani. “He was brought into the grand jury and he was very helpful to Donald Trump, though not helpful enough because he did get indicted,” Megyn noted. “In any event, he seems to be very favorable towards President Trump and not so much towards Michael Cohen.”

Blanche asked Cohen about a conversation he had with Costello about potentially cooperating with the FBI against Trump after he got into legal trouble. “Did you tell Robert Costello that you, quote, ‘Had nothing on President Trump and could not cooperate,'” Blanche asked. Cohen initially responded “no,” before being pressed to clarify that he did not recall.

Megyn said something doesn’t seem right. “Now that you’re trying to get out of prison, you want to get out of all these deals, you want to look better, suddenly you have all sorts of dirt on demand,” she questioned.

Additionally, Blanche got Cohen to admit that he was bitter about not being considered for roles in the Trump White House (like attorney general or chief of staff) and he had a lot of trouble even getting tickets to the inauguration in 2017.

In Megyn’s view, the relationship between Trump and Cohen has spiraled like a Greek tragedy. “Cohen had this never ending adulation for this man he adored [Trump]. He read his book twice and just wanted any sort of play in Trump’s circle. He wanted to be just like him,” she explained. “And then, of course, it ends in him trying to kill the king and kind of take himself out as well. And the king turns on him, too.”

Where the Case Stands

All in all, Aronberg admitted Blanche has been “successful” at “punching holes” in Cohen’s credibility – including when he got him to admit he lied to a federal judge in a tax case that had nothing to do with Trump. “I don’t think that made Michael Cohen look good,” he said. “And he had to admit to lying on the stand, so that is not good.”

Even so, he is not sure Cohen’s credibility will be too detrimental to prosecutors because of the case they have built. “If this were all about Michael Cohen’s cross-examination and pointing out his lies, then, yes, I think the state would be in a lot of trouble,” he said. “But the state has spent all this time building this firewall around Cohen with all these witnesses and documents and a lot of it is even Trump’s own words, his tweets, his admissions.”

While Megyn noted the case is seemingly boiling down to the difference between “legal expenses” and “reimbursement” to a lawyer, McCarthy said it is not so simple because of the legalities involved. “This wall of corroboration around Cohen is a very important thing for the prosecutors to have done,” he said. “But I also think it is illusory because the corroboration is mainly for stuff that, technically speaking, is legal – even if some of the way the Trump defense is trying the case would suggest to you that they think it is radioactive and they need to distance Trump from it.”

You can check out Megyn’s full interview with Aronberg and McCarthy by tuning in to episode 794 on YouTube, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you like to listen. And don’t forget that you can catch The Megyn Kelly Show live on SiriusXM’s Triumph (channel 111) weekdays from 12pm to 2pm ET.