Politics

Ocasio-Cortez Basks in the Limelight of Grilling Cohen on Trump’s Finances

The Democratic socialist from New York used her time at the televised hearing to lay the groundwork for snatching up documents related to the president

Image Credit: MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) grilled disgraced lawyer Michael Cohen during his public hearing on Wednesday with the apparent purpose of giving Democrats an excuse to snatch President Donald Trump’s tax returns.

Cohen, Trump’s former personal lawyer, found himself caught in special counsel Robert Mueller’s crosshairs.

The former attorney claimed the president directed him to violate federal campaign finance laws to influence the 2016 presidential election by making hush-money payments to two women who claimed they had affairs with Trump. The president denies these allegations.

Cohen pleaded guilty to charges of lying to Congress about his business dealings with Russia and the Trump Organization during the 2016 campaign. His prison sentence will begin in May.

On Wednesday, Cohen testified publicly before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

Democrats have long sought the president’s tax returns. They hope to unearth some form of tax fraud or evasion to boost their chances of ousting a duly elected president from office.

Rising progressive star Ocasio-Cortez had the opportunity to ask Cohen questions during the hearing. She used a good chunk of her time to grill him about the president’s business dealings and his taxes. Among other questions, she asked him if Trump had ever provided “inflated assets to an insurance company.” The former lawyer replied that Trump had done so.

“Do you think we need to review his financial statements and his tax returns in order to compare them?” said Ocasio-Cortez, clearly lobbing a softball to him.

Cohen replied in the affirmative.

Ocasio-Cortez also asked whether the president had ever undervalued his properties to decrease his taxes. Cohen recommended that the committee ask Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg about this issue.

“Would it help for the committee to obtain federal and state tax returns from the president and his company to address that discrepancy?” the congresswoman wanted to know.

Cohen replied, “I believe so.”

Liberals gushed over Ocasio-Cortez’s direct line of questioning — which stood in stark contrast to the grandstanding from a lot of her peers — as well as her dedication to going after Trump’s tax returns.

Related: Graham Trashes Dems for Holding Cohen Hearing During Trump’s North Korea Summit

She responded to one such glowing tweet on Wednesday from Matt Blaze, a professor and scientist.

“Are we sure @AOC is a former bartender and not a former prosecutor?” he tweeted. “That was a pretty amazing line of questions today.”

The congresswoman replied, “Thanks! Bartending + waitressing (especially in NYC) means you talk to 1000s of people over the years. Forces you to get great at reading people + hones a razor-sharp BS detector. Just goes to show that what some consider to be ‘unskilled labor’ can actually be anything but.”

She also thanked her staff for working “tirelessly behind the scenes to make it happen,” saying she is “truly inspired by their selfless commitment.”

Ocasio-Cortez also slammed Republicans who ridiculed her for paying her staff members a minimum of $52,000 per year, which is more than most lawmakers pay their staff members.

She tweeted, “I wonder if after yesterday’s hearing conservatives still think my staff is ‘overpaid.'”

But Ocasio-Cortez also made the odd claim during a recent podcast that she felt the need to act like a “white dude” in order to succeed in high school and college.

“You think that’s how you have to move through the world and I found myself subconsciously doing that in high school and in college,” she revealed on the “Brave Not Perfect” podcast.

“I felt like I need[ed] to write a certain way and talk a certain way … And like the things they like, and play golf,” Ocasio-Cortez added.

“I didn’t see any women like me in positions of leadership … And so when you’re only seeing white dudes running the world, you think you need to act like a white dude to run the world.”

Check out more in the video below:

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