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“No one should believe a word he says”: Johnson slams Cohen in effort to save Trump from jail in New York

The New York trial for Donald Trump’s hush-money case intensified this week after the star witness in the case, former Trump’s fixer Michael Cohen, took the stand for the first time since the beginning of the trial. This development was somewhat expected because the prosecution built the case against the former president based on the evidence and claims provided by Cohen. In the trial described as a “circus,”, Trump persists in attacking the judge, the Biden administration, and the Department of Justice asserting his innocence.

Possibly the only trial

U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon, who Trump appointed to the bench, indefinitely postponed the Florida classifieds documents case, likely making the New York hush-money case trial the only one against Trump this year. The trial in the election interference case is also unlikely to start anytime soon after the appeals court decided to review a previous court’s decision that allowed District Attorney Fani Willis to proceed with prosecuting the case. While last week’s updates on both cases are considered a huge win for Trump, he fails to do the same in the hush-money case trial, at least when it comes to the gag order.

Jail threats 

Judge Merchan fined Trump ten times for violating a previously issued gag order in an effort to prevent the former president from attacking those involved in the case, including their families. Merchan threatened Trump with jail last week if he continued to violate the gag order. In the last few days, prominent Republican politicians close to Trump have visited the trial on a regular basis and spoke on his behalf with the media.

Johnson took the microphone Tuesday

House Speaker Mike Johnson became the latest prominent Republican to step into the spotlight. He spoke out on Tuesday while Michael D. Cohen, a key witness and former associate of Donald Trump, was giving testimony in court. Johnson labeled the trial a “sham” and dismissed it as merely political theater, echoing the sentiments Trump himself might have expressed if not for a gag order preventing him from speaking. Trump defenders speak on his behalf and that way they help him avoid jail.

“This is a man who is clearly on a mission for personal revenge,” Johnson said, attacking the witness on the stand, Michael D. Cohen, the former fixer to Donald J. Trump. “He is someone who has a history of perjury. No one should believe a word he says in there.”

House Speaker Mike Johnson became the latest prominent Republican to step into the spotlight defending Trump in New York hush-money case
Former President Donald Trump (right) during New York hush-money trial with his attorneys Todd Blanche (left) and Susan Necheles (center), Courtesy of James Nava on X (@JamesNavaCom)

Risking their public profiles

“I do have a lot of surrogates and they are speaking very beautifully,” Trump said early on Tuesday referring to the Republican lawmakers and senators who are speaking on his behalf each day. Despite the potential damage to their own public reputations by defending someone accused of concealing hush-money payments, it appears that Trump’s tactic is to demonstrate his substantial backing within the Republican Party while also complying with the gag order.

The gag order

Judge Juan Merchan issued the gag order in late March restricting Trump to give information or comments about the case, including those related to the judge, the jurors, the prosecutors, the witnesses and their families. Trump’s attempt to appeal the gag order failed spectacularly after appeals court on Tuesday upheld the order. Despite this, Trump’s representatives continue to speak on his behalf without facing the same risks and consequences.

House Speaker Mike Johnson became the latest prominent Republican to step into the spotlight defending Trump in New York hush-money case
House Speaker Mike Johnson, Courtesy of Johnson X account

Trump defenders

House Speaker Mike Johnson has been actively supporting Trump, often speaking for him. Alongside Johnson, Senator J.D. Vance from Ohio, a possible future vice-presidential candidate, and Senator Tommy Tuberville from Alabama were in New York this Monday. Tuberville expressed his dismay, calling the situation “the most depressing thing I’ve ever been in.” The following day, Vivek Ramaswamy, a former Republican nominee hopeful, and other speakers also gathered in New York to speak on Trump’s behalf.

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