CBS bowed out of live coverage of the Cohen hearing on Wednesday with hot talk. Anchor Norah O'Donnell summarized the "extraordinary" hearing this way: it "might be the most damaging testimony for a president since former White House counsel John Dean testified against President Nixon during the Watergate hearings." The words "criminal conspiracy" kept being repeated for emphasis.
This raises the obvious question: If it's so "extraordinary," why did CBS dump out of it before ABC and NBC did so their all-woman show The Talk could gossip about naked pictures of Amazon tycoon Jeff Bezos? But the hyperbole flowed:
NORAH O'DONNELL: And now, what has been a four-hour-long hearing, we hear from, we heard from Michael Cohen what might be the most damaging testimony for a president since former White House counsel John Dean testified against President Nixon during the Watergate hearings.
Some extraordinary revelations from Michael Cohen who was convicted for lying to Congress and his credibility questioned repeatedly. Paula Reid is with me here. Let's go through quickly some of the things we learned today. First, he said prosecutors in New York are investigating conversations that trump and his advisors had with Cohen after his home was raided by the FBI. That means there's more out there!
PAULA REID: Absolutely. In addition to all these allegations he has made about possible tax fraud, conspiracy, campaign finance violations, he said there's more that is under active investigation, and he can't discuss that. The prosecutors looking into this, this isn't the special counsel this is the president's own Justice Department in Manhattan, I believe that that case, those investigations in Manhattan pose the greatest potential legal threat to the president.
CBS and the other liberal media outlets can't stop speculating about the "greatest potential legal threats" to Trump, talking up the Trump scandals as "extraordinary." It continued:
O'DONNELL: Also, questions about the payments to Stormy Daniels. What Michael Cohen is alleging is that a criminal conspiracy continued when Donald Trump became president of the United States, within the Oval Office, was signing checks that violate campaign finance law. What is key about that? We learned that Michael Cohen was directed by the president while he was president to continue lying about this while receiving those payments.
REID: That's right. He's alleging that the president of the United States was carrying out a criminal conspiracy in the Oval Office. It is an extraordinary claim and it all goes back to the investigation right now in Manhattan into those campaign finance violations and then this extended conspiracy to try to keep this concealed by paying him 11 different installments to make it look like a retainer instead of a reimbursement.
O'Donnell also turned to congressional correspondent Nancy Cordes, asking her for "the most surprising revelation" from Cohen. Cordes talked about why Trump wanted him to lie. "The story that he's told in a very measured, non-bombastic way is that he knew when the president wanted him to lie because the president would say to him "there is no Russia deal." And then the president would go out and say that publicly, and that's how Cohen knew that that's the line that he was supposed to take in questioning and that is what he did when he went before the House Intelligence Committee behind closed doors. That's why he was found guilty of lying to Congress."
Why is "there is no Russia deal" equated with lying? Did CBS find Russian collusion?
O'Donnell closed it out by repeating "One of the most extraordinary hearings I have ever seen on Capitol Hill, where Donald Trump's, one of his closest advisors calling him today a con man and cheat who continued a criminal conspiracy inside the Oval Office of the White House."
PS: It was not surprising that CBS waited two minutes into the 2 pm hour for Democrat Rep. Robin Kelly to finish her questioning, then talked over freshman Republican Rep. Kelly Armstrong to close their live broadcast.