By Marco Torrez
National Harbor, Md. — Jonathan Skee, a sophomore studying political science at Grove City College in western Pennsylvania, said he wasn’t that shocked by Michael Cohen’s testimony before a Congressional committee on Wednesday.
“I think we should set aside political biases and just hear from him and what he has to say,” Skee said. “[President Donald] Trump is the commander-in-chief and we should know about his past.”
Skee, 20, explained that he wasn’t surprised by any of Cohen’s testimony because everything was already known; this was just a repeat of information. (Much of what the president’s former longtime attorney and fixer said on Wednesday before the House Oversight and Reform Committee had been previously disclosed, but he actually made numerous new allegations about his former boss.) Skee said he wasn’t upset or shocked because he knew Trump “has a lot of character flaws” and “has a shady past.”
Skee came to CPAC 2019 with 39 other students from his college to immerse themselves in Republican politics.
“If he [Cohen] had a bit more evidence about the Russian collusion then I would have been surprised because I’m not that sold that actually happened, but it’s good that they’re investigating because we don’t want foreign governments intruding in our elections,” Skee said.
Dottie Hess, a “70-plus”-year-old retiree who lives in Alexandria, Va., said she has a friend with a Jewish surname who said he is somewhat ashamed of it because he told her that “ ‘Cohen makes all the New York Jews look bad.’ ”
Hess said she agreed with several other Republican members of Congress, including Rep. Carol Miller of West Virginia, that the time spent on Cohen’s testimony was not in the best interests of the American people and was a waste of time and taxpayer dollars.
In addition to his Wednesday testimony, Cohen appeared in closed-door hearings before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday and the House Intelligence Committee on Thursday. He is scheduled to return to Capitol Hill for more testimony before the latter committee next Wednesday.
Hess said she wants the names that are constantly being flashed in the news to go away. But even though she said she didn’t think the testimony was necessary, she did admit that she learned something from it.
“I didn’t know about the collusion with Russia,” Hess said. “That was the takeaway.”
Kerry Brown, 67, an attorney from St. Petersburg, Fla., dressed up as President Abraham Lincoln for CPAC 2019. Unlike Hess or Skee, Brown said he did not watch any of Cohen’s testimony. Brown said he tries to not pay too much attention to daily issues that are streamed across the media.
“I did not and will not” watch Cohen’s testimony, Brown said. “I try to stay away from the shifting sands of everyday headlines.”