The Democratic majority is exposing Trump lawlessness that Republicans refused to investigate for two years.
Elections have consequences.
House Democrats on Wednesday held their first real hearing on Trump's alleged criminal activity leading up to, during and after the 2016 presidential elections — finally conducting the kind of oversight that Republicans refused to do for the first two years of Trump's stint in the White House.
The House Committee on Oversight and Reform put Trump's longtime lawyer and self-described "fixer" on the witness stand to answer questions on the crimes he either helped carry out on Trump's request or the alleged crimes he witnessed while working for Trump for a decade.
And the revelations were even more explosive than we could have imagined.
The biggest bombshell was Cohen's divulgence that federal prosecutors in New York are investigating Trump for unspecified crimes.
Cohen said those prosecutors — who work in the prestigious Southern District of New York (SDNY) — asked him not to discuss the investigation.
But the revelation that the SDNY is investigating Trump is a clear sign that Trump's legal exposure goes far beyond special counsel Robert Mueller's high-stakes probe into the Trump campaign's possible conspiracy with Russia during the 2016 campaign. And that's very, very bad news for Trump.
But that wasn't the only eye-popping revelation Cohen made during his more than 5-hours-long testimony before the House Oversight and Reform Committee.
Cohen testified under oath that Trump knew about WikiLeaks' impending release of hacked emails that could damage Hillary Clinton's campaign — a revelation that shows Trump is unethical at best and criminal at worst for not reporting this the hack to authorities.
Cohen also laid out the illegal payment scheme to suppress porn actress Stormy Daniels' affair allegations against Trump — saying Trump knew about the payments all along and lied about his role in the payment scheme, as did Trump's eldest son, Donald Trump Jr.
He went on to say that negotiations for a Trump Tower project in Moscow took place during the 2016 election, and that Trump lied about the negotiations on the campaign trail.
And Cohen revealed that Trump engaged in financial crimes, devaluing his assets in order to cheat on his tax bill and illegally using funds from his so-called charitable foundation to buy an expensive portrait of himself — something only a cheap egomaniac would do.
Cohen backed up his allegations with documents, providing checks and other documents as evidence.
This was key because Republicans on the committee were solely there to shield Trump from scrutiny — calling into question Cohen's credibility in an effort to try and sow doubt about Cohen's explosive revelations.
However, their behavior was both desperate and in many cases embarrassing, as GOP lawmakers on the committee tried and failed to shut the hearing down before ultimately bumbling through lines of questioning that often went nowhere.
Ultimately, the hearing showed that Republicans' newfound House minority status will no longer allow them to run defense for Trump or shield him from scrutiny for his crimes and corrupt administration.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), for example, helped lay out the case for Congress to subpoena Trump's tax returns, pointing to Cohen's accusation that Trump inflated his net worth and value of his assets, including Trump golf properties across the country.
Looking at Trump's tax returns could allow Congress to determine whether Trump was falsifying the value of his golf properties on his taxes.
The powerful House Oversight and Reform Committee has a wealth of corruption allegations against Trump and his business empire that it can investigate now that Democrats control it.
Similarly, there are a number of other committees that Democrats now control in the majority, where they can launch more probes. That includes the House Intelligence Committee, currently working on investigating Trump's Russia ties; the House Judiciary Committee, which can look into possible missteps by the Department of Justice; and a host of other committees focused on the environment, the financial services sector, and more.
Republicans blocked this type of oversight for the first two years of Trump's presidency.
But as they learned on Wednesday, the days of being able to shield their leader are now over.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.