I’ve been watching/listening to the ongoing discussions and debates about Michael Cohen — whether he’ll flip, what good his testimony might be, has Giuliani, et al on behalf of the White House smeared him so successful he’s worthless as a witness. And blah blah blah.
Thought it might be good to drop in some reality here.
When a prosecutor or defense attorney presents a witness like Michael Cohen, she does not merely sit him on the witness stand and ask questions which would draw out testimony like, “Yes, I was in the room when Donald took the call from Don Jr. and learned about the meeting,” and “This is what he said.”
Because if there is hard evidence beyond such a witness statement — hard evidence like, say, a tape, or a post-meeting memo, or substantiating testimony from other people who might have been in the room — the witness, say, Michael Cohen, would be used to confirm and clarify the evidence. Like a tape recording. Which would be played in the courtroom, following which the witness would be asked specific questions about the tape.
Or he’d testify and name the other people in the room, and they might be called subsequently to confirm the conversation.
Moreover, the clarity of the tape I heard as it was played on MSNBC (which wasn’t bad at all, certainly not compared to secretly recorded tapes I’ve had to try to transcribe) would not be a problem. An experienced and highly credentialed audio expert would have worked on the tape, enhanced it and provided maybe an enhanced version and a transcript.
There. So now you know my point of view: a lot of the debate over who’s the worst liar and who can be believed will be mooted by the hard evidence, substantiating testimony and essentially what the judge determines is admissible.