Michael Cohen’s Trump Testimony Felt Like a TV Season Finale

Spencer Platt/Pool/Getty Images
Spencer Platt/Pool/Getty Images

At The Daily Beast’s Obsessed, we think the ongoing Trump Trial is about as gossipy and enthralling as any episode of The Real Housewives. With that in mind, we’re recapping the drama like we’d write about any weekly Bravo show—with plenty of wit and snark.

A great number of big names have taken the stand in the ongoing Donald Trump hush-money trial—from Stormy Daniels to David Pecker—but today’s witness feels the most monumental. Michael Cohen, Trump’s fixer-turned-nemesis, appeared in court today. He’s the man we’ve all been waiting for. But why is that?

Talking in TV terms, this appearance feels like the first segment in a grand two-part season finale. Or more specifically, if you look at the trial in the same way you do Bravo, perhaps you should see this as a reunion. Trump and Cohen have fallen apart and now must face each other to recount their history in front of a live audience. Claims will be denied. Shade will be thrown. Truth Social posts will be fired off.

The prosecution called Cohen to the stand, and for our first segment today, we heard how Trump romanced his fixer/attorney. Cohen recounted being hired, his hefty payday, and early projects he worked on with Trump in the mid-to-late 2000s. While reminiscing on a landfill remediation project in New Jersey that never actually happened, Cohen said, “It was all very exciting to me.” He and I have different definitions of the word “exciting.”

Cohen said that, in the early days, working with Trump was an “amazing experience.” Really, the way this sounds comes off as a romantic comedy—Cohen fell fast and hard for Trump. How often was he seeing the soon-to-be President? “Every single day, and multiple times a day.”

But that love affair had red flags from the start. Cohen said that Trump never had an email account, fearful that his messages could be used by prosecutors in future trials…like, I don’t know, this one? To me, that screams “RUN.” To Cohen, again, it is “exciting.” Working with someone as big and powerful as Donald Trump, no matter how frightening, is worth it.

Instead of backing away, Cohen embraced the Trump farce. The prosecution asked him if he ever lied in general. “I did,” Cohen said. “It’s what was needed to accomplish the task. The only thing that was on my mind was to accomplish the task to make him happy.” Now, Cohen sounds like a little dog—must obey master. Must get ball and bring back to master to make him happy.

Ahead of his bid for the 2016 presidential race—which Cohen had been helping to launch—Trump warned Cohen about the plethora of women that might come forward with some sort of accusations about him. “Just be prepared,” Cohen recalled hearing.

Following the candidacy announcement, Cohen was in charge of handling both Karen McDougal and Stormy Daniels. If either claims leaked, Trump said, the news would be “catastrophic” to the campaign. (Looking back, apparently, they weren’t. Trump still won the election in 2016.) When Cohen repeatedly pressed Trump about whether or not he’d slept with Daniels, all Trump would say was that she was “a beautiful woman.”

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Cohen didn’t handle it. The Daniels story resurfaced. Trump grew irate with Cohen, although he did admit: “Guys will think it’s cool. But this is going to be a disaster for the campaign.” If guys thought it was so cool, why couldn’t Trump confess the truth to Cohen before it actually came out?

This was the long and short of today’s trial, although there are a few other things worth noting that came out in sidebars. Cohen was in charge of planting news stories at The Enquirer with Pecker, which included negative stories about Hillary Clinton’s thick eyeglasses (hinting at brain injury) and Marco Rubio’s drug binge in a pool with several men. Throw a few Bravolebrity names in there instead of Clinton and Rubio and, again, you’ve got a Housewives reunion.

Another moment that shocked me: You may recall this little viral phrase from 2016, “locker room talk.” This was Trump’s defense after his “grab ‘em by the pussy” conversation with Billy Bush was leaked, as in, “Oh, that? That was just locker room talk. I don’t actually do that!” You can thank Melania Trump for coming up with that phrase, Cohen said. In a crisis, Melania found the easiest way to save her husband—by forcing him to tell the world that his words actually carry no weight at all.

Ultimately, Trump and Cohen had a big breakup, which is where we’re at now. Trump slashed Cohen’s bonus at the end of 2016, and Cohen was “beyond angry.” Well, you weren’t fixing anything, were you? That bonus should actually go to Melania.

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