WASHINGTON – At several key junctures Wednesday during former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen's testimony before a House committee, congressional Republicans appeared to miss opportunities to defend the president from some of the most potentially damning claims Cohen made about him.
In other instances, when new information about the president was revealed during exchanges Cohen had with sympathetic Democrats on the committee, it went unchallenged by Republicans, who quickly moved on to other topics, or else revisited well-trodden subject matter.
The cumulative effect over the seven-plus hours of Cohen's testimony was that Trump, who was in Vietnam meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, was left looking both legally and personally exposed – without a vigorous defense from members of his party who have traditionally gone to bat for him in public.
Instead of using their time to defend Trump or challenge Cohen's more shocking claims, the lion's share of time allotted to Republicans during the Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing was used to attack Cohen's credibility as a witness.
"There's no truth with you whatsoever," said Rep. Paul Gosar of Arizona. "Liar, liar, pants on fire," he continued. "No one should ever listen to you and give you credibility."