Ex-Reagan official: Republicans attacked Cohen's testimony 'because they fear it is true'

Peter Wehner, a former official under President Reagan and both Bush administrations, railed against Republicans on the House Oversight and Reform Committee over what he called a "frantic effort to discredit" President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden to nominate Linda Thomas-Greenfield for UN ambassador: reports Scranton dedicates 'Joe Biden Way' to honor president-elect Kasich: Republicans 'either in complete lockstep' or 'afraid' of Trump MORE's longtime attorney and "fixer" Michael Cohen.

In an op-ed published Wednesday by The New York Times, Whener said that GOP members of the panel "feel compelled to destroy" the truth.

“Republicans on the committee tried to destroy the credibility of his testimony, not because they believe that his testimony is false, but because they fear it is true,” Wehner, a frequent critic of the president, wrote. 

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“By now Republicans must know, deep in their hearts, that Mr. Cohen’s portrayal of Mr. Trump as a ‘racist,’ ‘a con man’ and ‘a cheat’ is spot on,” Wehner continued. “So it is the truth they fear, and it is the truth — the fundamental reality of the world as it actually is — that they feel compelled to destroy.”

“This is the central organizing principle of the Republican Party now. More than tax cuts. More than trade wars,” he continued. “More even than building a wall on our southern border. Republicans are dedicated to annihilating truth in order to defend Mr. Trump and they will go after anyone, from Mr. Cohen to Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerCNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump CNN anchor rips Trump over Stone while evoking Clinton-Lynch tarmac meeting The Hill's 12:30 Report: New Hampshire fallout MORE, who is a threat to him.”

Republican lawmakers repeatedly took aim at Cohen’s credibility during his explosive congressional testimony on Wednesday, with several members of the House panel, including ranking member Jim JordanJames (Jim) Daniel JordanCheney, top GOP lawmakers ask Trump campaign for proof of election fraud New RSC chairman sees 'Trumpism' as future Sunday shows preview: Biden team gears up for transition, Trump legal battles continue and pandemic rages on MORE (R-Ohio), slamming their Democratic counterparts for allowing Cohen to testify despite being sentenced to prison for a number of crimes, including lying to Congress.

Jordan tied the testimony to Democrats’ disdain for Trump. 

“They just want to use you, Mr. Cohen,” Jordan said in his opening statement Wednesday. “You’re their patsy today. They’ve got to find somebody somewhere to say something so they can try to remove the president from office.”

Jordan then went on to call Cohen, who served as Trump’s personal attorney for a decade, a “fraudster, cheat, convicted felon and, in two months, a federal inmate.”

Wehner wrote that Cohen’s testimony “revealed as much about the Republican Party as it did about President Trump and his former lawyer.”

The former Reagan official said Republicans on the panel targeted Cohen while “steadfastly ignoring the actual evidence he produced.” 

“They tried to impugn his character, but were unable to impugn the documents he provided. Nor did a single Republican offer a character defense of Mr. Trump. It turns out that was too much, even for them,” he continued.

“In that sense, what Republicans didn’t say reveals the truth about what happened at the hearing on Wednesday as much as what they did say,” he added.