Expert Pitch

Oregon State University expert comments on Michael Cohen hearings

Oregon State University, College of Engineering

Newswise — Christopher Nichols, an associate professor of history at Oregon State University, has these thoughts about the Michael Cohen hearings:

"The Michael Cohen hearings are arguably the most significant insights we have yet had in the public record into the inside network and circle of President Donald J. Trump from his time in business through his ascendancy to the White House. There is a little doubt that we are witnessing history in the making. Takeaways from the Cohen public testimony, which appears credible though it comes from an admitted and convicted liar, include evidence and allegations about false statements by and for the president. Cohen has presented further information via disclosure of private conversations with Trump about his biases and motivations, which Cohen characterizes bluntly as ranging from racism to deception to outright lies, financial fraud, and intimidation that appeared to be systematic and endemic to the Trump organization before, during, and after the presidential campaign of 2016. These hearings also reveal the dimensions of partisan politics in all their dysfunction - the questions, lines of inquiry, allegations, and ad hominem attacks offer a window into the paths forward both parties are likely to travel including through the 2020 presidential campaign. 

"So, one outstanding question is whether this represents a moment like John Dean's famous testimony to the Senate in June 1973? Dean's testimony was not the end for Nixon, or for Watergate, but historians now tend to depict it as a pivotal juncture of hearing from within about the depth of Nixonian malfeasance. The testimony had next to no impact legally but in the court of public opinion it was deeply damaging. Dean, who, like Cohen, admitted to paying "hush money" and lying (to obstruct justice), implicated an array of Nixon Administration officials, notably Nixon himself. He also undercut assertions of Presidential authority and credibility, and his assertions were then corroborated by the White House tapes when they were disclosed. Is this similar? Is the Mueller report a comparable next such step? The jury is still out, this may take some time, so in my view as an historian I suggest we not jump to too many conclusions despite the sensationalism of the hearings. That said, one thing we can conclude is that this is clearly history in the making."

More information about Nichols:

Nichols is available for print, radio and tv interviews. Oregon State University has on-campus tv and radio studios. He can be reached at

Filters close

Showing results

110 of 5687
Newswise: 250494_web.jpg
Released: 3-Dec-2020 2:05 PM EST
Why does it matter if most Republican voters still think Biden lost?
University of Rochester

As President-elect Joe Biden and his administrative team officially begin the transition process, only about 20 percent of Republican voters consider him the true winner of the election.

Released: 2-Dec-2020 7:15 AM EST
Congress Must Act To Fortify Health Care System And Protect Access To Care
American College of Radiology (ACR)

The final 2021 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule fails to avert the potential impact on seniors of payment cuts to more than a million health care providers already reeling from COVID-19’s financial impact. If Congress does not act now to address these changes, the results may be devastating for patients, communities and providers.

Released: 1-Dec-2020 11:10 AM EST
‘Fairmandering’ data tool makes redistricting more representative
Cornell University

A new mathematical method developed by Cornell University researchers can inject fairness into the fraught process of political redistricting – and proves that it takes more than good intent to create a fair and representative district.

Newswise: Efficient In-person voting observed by URI VOTES research team
Released: 30-Nov-2020 4:30 PM EST
Efficient In-person voting observed by URI VOTES research team
University of Rhode Island

The 2020 election is all but complete, but a team of researchers at the University of Rhode Island is still crunching the numbers – not the number of votes, but the statistics used to determine the efficiency of in-person voting in Rhode Island, Nebraska and Los Angeles.

Newswise: Rutgers Philosophy Professor Analyzes Justice Issues in New Podcast
Released: 30-Nov-2020 9:30 AM EST
Rutgers Philosophy Professor Analyzes Justice Issues in New Podcast
Rutgers University-New Brunswick

Rutgers-New Brunswick philosophy Professor Derrick Darby is helping to bring logic and data to discussions on the struggle for justice in America and globally in A Pod Called Quest.

Showing results

110 of 5687