This GOP congressman tried to catch Michael Cohen in a lie — and just ended up humiliating himself instead

This GOP congressman tried to catch Michael Cohen in a lie — and just ended up humiliating himself instead
PBS NewsHour

Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC), the chair of the House Freedom Caucus and ranking member of the House Oversight Committee, emerged the worse for wear from the hearing with President Donald Trump's former attorney Michael Cohen. Terrified that Cohen's testimony would damage the president, Meadows tried to shut down the hearing and even invited a black Trump administration official to preemptively rebut Cohen's testimony on Trump's racism.


But one of the moments that best summed up Meadows' unpreparedness to handle congressional oversight was when he tried to bust Cohen for lying on his Truth in Testimony form — and whiffed because he didn't actually read what the form said.

"Mr. Cohen, I'm going to come back to the question I asked before with regards to your false statement you submitted to Congress," Meadows said. "On here it was very clear that it asked for contracts with foreign entities over the last two years. Have you had any foreign contract with foreign entities?"

"I believe it talks about lobbying," Cohen replied. "I did no lobbying. They are not governments."

Meadows doubled down, accusing Cohen of "skirting the truth," threatening him with criminal prosecution for false statements, and even announcing that he was referring to the Justice Department whether Cohen violated the Foreign Agents Registration Act:

There's just one problem: Cohen didn't lie. He did have contracts with foreign nongovernmental organizations, but the Truth in Testimony form does not require witnesses to disclose all "foreign entities," as Meadows claims — rather, it just requires disclosure of lobbying work for foreign governments.

Indeed, Rep. Katie Hill (D-CA) shortly spoke up, correcting Meadows' error. But Meadows seemed less than chastened by his mistake:

Meadows was so desperate to discredit a potential threat to Trump that he did not check the basic facts of what he was saying. And he ended up hurting himself far more than he hurt Cohen.

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