By Sean Yoes, AFRO Baltimore Editor,

On Feb. 27, one of the most surreal days in the history of the United States presidency, Donald Trump seemed to gush over Kim Jong-un, the allegedly murderous dictator who leads North Korea, during dinner between the two men and their entourages in Vietnam. About an hour later, half a world away in the United States, Michael Cohen, a convicted felon and Trump’s former “fixer” labeled his old boss a “racist,” a “con man” and a “cheat,” before the Congressional Committee chaired by Baltimore Congressman Elijah Cummings.

It took roughly one minute for the fireworks to be sparked during the public hearing of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

One minute after the beginning of the hearing and during the opening statement by Cummings, Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC.) sought to shut down the proceedings from the onset. “Because of his (Cohen’s) disdain for this body…I move to postpone this hearing,” Meadows said before Cummings interrupted the chair of the House Freedom Caucus. “You’ve made it clear that you don’t want the American people to hear what Mr. Cohen has to say, but the American people have the right to hear what he has to say,” Cummings said. “The days of this committee protecting the president at all costs are over.”

But, despite Cummings’ admonition Republican members of the the Oversight Committee endeavored to throw copious buckets of mud on the disgraced attorney, who will begin a three year prison sentence next month. Still, his depiction of Trump was nothing short of devastating. “I am here under oath to correct the record…an offer the American people what I know about President Trump,” said Cohen. “I know what Mr Trump is, he is a racist, he is a con man and he is a cheat.

The last time I came to Congress…I came to protect Mr. Trump, now I’m here to tell the truth about Mr. Trump,” Cohen added, who spoke specifically about how Trump has appealed directly to White supremacists and referred to African nations as “s-hole countries.” “I wound up touting the Trump narrative for over a decade…over time I saw his true character revealed and the bad far outweighs the good,” Cohen added. “Mr. Trump is racist…in private he is even worse.”

Cummings, a resident of West Baltimore presided over an often volatile hearing, featuring flashy, young Democratic women of color like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY.), Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI.), Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA.), Rep. Stacey Plaskett (D-V.I.)

Other Democrats on the Committee blasted away at Trump and his supporters. “Donald Trump, his children, his personal lawyer and his Congressional enablers are….perpetuating a giant con game on the American people,” said Rep. William Clay (D-MO.)

“They’re (Republicans) not mad because you (Cohen) lied for the president, they’re mad because you stopped lying for the president,” said Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD.)

At the end of the day-long hearing Cummings delivered a stirring soliloquy directed at Cohen, as tears welled in the eyes of the soon to be inmate. “The president called you a rat,” said Cummings referring to one of Trump’s numerous Tweets disparaging his former attorney. “I live in the inner city of Baltimore and that’s about one of the worst things you can call somebody…because that means your a snitch.”

Then Cummings reached out to a wider audience. “We’re better than this,” he said. “I know that you (Cohen) are worried about your family, but this is part of your destiny. Hopefully, this leads to a better Michael Cohen, a better Donald Trump, a better United States and a better world.”


Sean Yoes

AFRO Baltimore Editor