politics

AOC Is The Clear Winner Of The Michael Cohen Congressional Hearing

Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

Michael Cohen testified for hours in front of the House Oversight Committee about his knowledge of President Trump and his business dealings before and after becoming president. While Republicans tried to tarnish Cohen’s character and discredit his testimony, Democratic members of the committee were ready with their questions. The true star of the hearing is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) with her succinct and thought out questions regarding Trump’s questionable tax filings, which he has refused to release. Here’s a look at how AOC kept her cool after a long day of testimony and helped further the committee’s investigation into Trump’s finances.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez didn’t hold anything back when questioning Michael Cohen and people noticed.

Credit: @AOC / Twitter

AOC questioned Cohen about President Trump’s tax filings and finances towards the end. It was a long and tedious day filled with questions, accusations, and the occasional tantrum from Republican members of the House Oversight Committee. The New York representative was so concise with her questions that some question whether or not she truly was a bartender before becoming a Congresswoman.

She only had five minutes for her questions and she knew what she was after. First, The National Enquirer.

Credit: @Osman__13 / Twitter

AOC is known for her strong and precise questioning and her questions for Cohen were more of what we have come to expect from the freshman congresswoman.

AOC: “Mr. Cohen, I’d like to quickly pick up on some previous lines of questioning before getting into my own so I may go a little quickly to get it all in in five minutes.”

“First, my colleague from Vermont had asked you several questions about AMI, the parent company of The National Enquirer. In that, you mentioned a ‘treasure trove of documents’ in David Pecker’s office relating to information assembled from all of these catch and kill operations against people who potentially had damaging information about the president. You also mentioned that the president was very concerned about the whereabouts of these documents and who possessed them.”

“Does that treasure trove of documents still exist?”

Cohen: “I don’t know. I’ve asked David Pecker for them.”

AOC: “So you would say that the person who knows the whereabouts of these documents would be David Pecker?”

Cohen: “David Pecker, Barry Levine, or Dylan Howard.”

Her biggest moment was when she asked Cohen about Trump’s tax dealings, particularly with his golf courses.

Credit: @funder / Twitter

AOC: “Thank you very much. The last thing here, the Trump Golf Organization currently has a golf course in my home borough of the Bronx, Trump Links. I drive past it every day going between the Bronx and Queens. In fact, the Washington Post reported on the Trump Links Bronx Course in an article entitled, ”Taxpayers Built This New York Golf Course And Trump Reaps The Rewards.” That article is where many New Yorkers and people in the country learned that taxpayers spent $127 million to build Trump Links in a ‘generous deal allowing President Trump to keep almost every dollar that flows in” on a golf course built with public funds. This doesn’t seem to be the only time that the president has benefitted at the expense of the public.”

“Mr. Cohen, I want to ask you about your assertion that the president may have improperly devalued his assets to avoid paying taxes. According to an August 21, 2016 report by the Washington Post, while the president claimed in financial disclosure forms that Trump National Golf Club in Jupiter, Florida was worth more than $50 million he had reported otherwise to local tax authorities that the golf course was worth ‘no more than $5 million.’”

“Mr. Cohen, do you know whether this specific report is accurate?”

Cohen: “It’s identical to what he did at Trump National Golf Club in Briarcliff Manor.”

AOC: “To your knowledge, was the president interested in reducing his local real estate tax bills?”

Cohen: “Yes.”

AOC: “And how did he do that?”

Cohen: “What you do is you deflate the value of the asset and then you put in a request to the tax department for a deduction.”

AOC: “Thank you.”

This isn’t the first time AOC has gotten witnesses to attest to the questionable tactics employed by President Trump.

Earlier this month, AOC questioned a panel of government watch dogs to discuss the broken campaign finance laws. In her line of questioning, AOC laid out a series of hypothetical questions about what she, as a congresswoman, was able to legally get away with.

The panelists admitted to AOC that not only can she accrue as much money as possible from special interests. Not only could she leverage that money to create legislation helping the special interests, she can also use her own position to make large sums of money.

After figuring out what she could get away with as a congressperson, AOC flipped the script. The asked the panel is there is anything stopping the president from participating in the same shady tactics. The answer was no.

AOC is using her time in Congress to expose the parts of politics that have long been hidden from the American people.

Credit: @AOC / Twitter

AOC has spoken up about issues like marijuana legalization, climate change, and the need for fair wages that provide people enough to live on. However, she is also shedding light on some questionable practices by lobbyist and congressional colleagues.

Her use of social media has brought the real day-to-day of politics to all of our newsfeeds. Not only have we seen the process of getting your office in the Capitol building, we’ve even seen moments like the tweet above. Lobbyists hiring people to hold their spot in line for congressional hearings so they can put pressure on legislators to do as they wish and taking space away from the American public who wish to voice their opinions and concerns.

You can watch AOC’s full questioning of Cohen in the video below.

AOC came to Congress with many people in both parties questioning her ability to legislate. It seems fair to say that AOC is surprising her doubters and has become a very important voice in American politics. It has only been two months since she was sworn into Congress and she is already making major waves and causing major change.

READ: This Is The Part Of AOC’s Interview With Stephen Colbert You Should Be Talking About

Advocacy Groups Suing ICE For Mass Raid In Tennessee, Claiming They Violated Workers' Constitutional Rights

politics

Advocacy Groups Suing ICE For Mass Raid In Tennessee, Claiming They Violated Workers’ Constitutional Rights

Last year, we reported about a massive immigration raid that took place at a slaughterhouse in the small town of Bean Station in Tennessee. The raid, conducted by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), was poignant because many of the detained workers lived in Bean Station with their families. The entire community was affected by this raid. The town rallied to help these families and children as one, or both parents, had been taken in by ICE. Today advocates of these people say this action by immigration was wrong and are taking legal action against them.

Two advocacy groups and a law firm are suing ICE alleging that they violated the constitutional rights of the workers in Bean Station, Tennessee.

Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition [TIRRC] / Facebook

The National Immigration Law Center (NILC), the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), and the law firm of Sherrard, Roe, Voigt & Harbison announced that they had filed a lawsuit on behalf of seven workers that were detained on April 2018 at the meat processing plant.

According to SPLC, the raid in Bean Station was the first large workplace immigration raid in nearly a decad. ICE detained approximately 100 Latino workers, “violating their rights against illegal seizures and to equal protection under the Fourth and Fifth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.”

“When a raid of this scale happens in our communities, it’s like a bomb goes off,” Stephanie Teatro, executive co-director of the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition, said according to NBC News.

In the aftermath of the raid an estimated 600 children didn’t go to school on the following day either because their parent had been detained, or they were fearful of what could happen to them.

Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition [TIRRC] / Facebook

“I have lived in Tennessee for 12 years. This is my home. My family is here. My friends are here. I have land here. This is where my dreams have taken root,” Isabel Zelaya, one of the plaintiffs in the case, said in a press release. “On the morning of the raid, I was working at my normal station in the processing area when armed officers entered the plant. As the officers lined us up, I offered to show them my documentation to work in this country, but they handcuffed me anyway, detained me, and took me to the armory. After several hours, I was finally released. I am part of this lawsuit because I want justice for myself and my coworkers who were denied our constitutional rights, as well as our humanity.”

Out of the 97 people that were detained that day, 40 have since been released on bond, five are in federal custody, six have already been deported, and 12 left the country voluntarily.

National Immigration Law Center / Facebook

The SPLC reports that ICE agents detained every “worker who looked Latino in the plant without regard to citizenship or documentation,” which is a violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fifth Amendment. Furthermore, white workers at the plant weren’t questioned or harassed at all.

“Many workers weren’t asked about documentation until hours into the raid. By then, many had already been traumatized, handcuffed, and denied communication with attorneys or family members — or access to sanitary facilities or critical medication — and taken to a holding facility.”

“What happened in East Tennessee was law enforcement overreach, plain and simple, Meredith Stewart, senior supervising attorney for the SPLC, said. “We as a nation have a shared set of ideals, rooted in the Bill of Rights: we have a right to be free from racial profiling and unlawful arrests. If we are not willing to uphold those ideals for everyone in this country, then we are all at risk of losing our rights. We look forward to our clients having their day in court.”

ICE told NBC News that they conducted themselves “in full compliance with federal law and agency policy.”

READ: ICE Arrested 97 Undocumented Immigrants In A Massive Raid On A Tennessee Meatpacking Plant

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