"He doesn't give you questions, he doesn't give you orders. He speaks in code. I understand his code because I've been around him for a decade," Cohen said.
February 28, 2019

On Morning Joe, Garrett Haake talked about a standout portion of yesterday's Cohen hearing when Rep. Justin Amash asked about how Trump gets subordinates to follow his wishes:

COHEN: That's how he speaks. he doesn't give you questions, he doesn't give you orders. he speaks in code. I understand his code because I've been around him for a decade.

AMASH: And it's your understanding that others around him understand his code, right?


"He asked the most significant question yesterday and the one that followed," Haake said.

"It gets to the idea of how Donald Trump directs his people. A few weeks able we were all talking about this blockbuster piece in Buzzfeed that suggested that the president told Michael Cohen to lie, that he ordered his subordinates to lie, and the special counsel came in and disputed that. Amash's question may, and I emphasize, may get to the heart of that, that President Trump doesn't order anybody to do anything, that it's the culture around him that leads people to do these things. It could be the connective tissue. And his next question was the seminal question about these hearings.

"He asked Cohen what is the truth that President Trump is afraid of. And there was this long, pregnant pause in the room and Cohen couldn't answer it. Think of all the people who pled guilty or convicted of lying to Congress, all in the service of covering up something, what that was the question he couldn't answer. It was such a big moment about how do we tie all these investigations together. What is everyone lying to cover up? And Cohen couldn't answer."

( I can! Trump wants anything and everything covered up that might expose who he actually is -- a weak, needy, fearful old man whose fragile ego dominates his every thought.)

"The people who know Trump will understand this when he said Trump will not leave office in a normal, peaceful -- I said, Trump, you have to understand something. He did it in the last election," Donnie Deutsch said.

"When he thought he was going to lose, he was teeing it up for a few days. It's easy to forget that now. If impeachment starts to happen, whatever inner movie you think, this guy is capable of doing to create a civil war, I'm not speaking hyperbole, I didn't know Michael was going to say that, that was his warning as a guy who knows him better than anybody. And we really have to pay attention to that."

"Does anyone doubt that? Does anyone doubt that Donald Trump would do that, even if he loses a free and fair election, that he'll start talking about voter fraud?" Willie Geist said.

"I'm taking it to the next level. He said he won't leave in a peaceful transition. That's different than saying this was unfair. Take it to that extreme," Deutsch said.

"We had Don Jr. on election day and we had to ask him point blank, will your father respect the outcome of this election if he loses, and he said yes. But you're right," Geist agreed.

And this is why I tell people we can't move for impeachment until we've persuaded at least some Trump voters. This is a volatile moment, and until there's some kind of bipartisan consensus, we are playing right into Trump's hands and the ravings of his most wild supporters.

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