The country is already aware of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into the Russia scandal, and the fact that Donald Trump is the subject of the ongoing criminal probe. We also learned last year of the president being directly implicated in one of Michael Cohen's felonies.
But one of the more important revelations from yesterday's House Oversight Committee hearing with Trump's former "fixer" came in an exchange between Cohen and Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.) about the work being done by federal prosecutors in the southern district of New York (SDNY).
In context, the congressman asked the witness about his most recent conversation with the president or someone acting on his behalf, which occurred last fall. Asked specifically about the nature of that conversation, there was this back and forth:
COHEN: Unfortunately, this topic is actually something that's being investigated right now by the southern district of New York and I've been asked by them not to discuss it and not to talk about these issues.KRISHNAMOORTHI: Fair enough. Is there any other wrongdoing or illegal act that you are aware of regarding Donald Trump that we haven't yet discussed today?COHEN: Yes. And again, those are part of the investigation that's currently being looked at by the southern district of New York.
It's worth noting that we don't know for sure whether Cohen is correct. We also don't know what he might be referring to. But if the somewhat cryptic testimony was accurate, Trump's former personal attorney appeared to be referring to a previously unknown, ongoing federal criminal investigation involving something related to the president.
That's new. It's tempting to think we already know about each of Trump's alleged misdeeds that are under open investigation, but yesterday served as a reminder that the list may be longer than is generally known.
What's more, let's not forget the fact that we're talking about the U.S. attorney's office in the southern district of New York: the same prosecutorial office that the president, by some accounts, tried to interfere with directly.
So, what kind of misdeeds or "illegal acts" might Cohen have been referring to? It's difficult to say with any confidence, but as Rachel noted on last night's show, over the course of yesterday's congressional hearing, the issue of possible Trump financial fraud came up more than once. It's an angle to keep in mind as the process moves forward.
The president is already plagued by scandals, some of which relate to Russia, many of which do not. But Cohen's sworn testimony raised the tantalizing possibility that Trump's troubles are even worse than we know.