What is now clear after Michael Cohen's testimony in Washington last week is that investigations are metastasising with frightening speed in Congress and in the Southern District of New York – at least to the White House – and we have not even seen the Mueller report yet.
A small marker: Every major "revelation" in The New York Times or Washington Post or other credible news sources is immediately followed up by the key House committees –demanding documents and plans to hold hearings with White House witnesses. The issue of security clearance for the president's son-in-law Jared Kushner is a prime example. This is the oversight regime of the Democrats in the House, and it will now occur relentlessly for the next two years.
Make no mistake, Cohen lit a fuse, which is still burning.
A bigger marker: This new level of activity was crystallised on Monday of this week through two key chairmen in the House: Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), head of the Select Committee on Intelligence, who is drilling down hard on issues of collusion and conspiracy between the Trump Organization, the Trump campaign and the Russians; and Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), chair of the Judiciary Committee, who has opened a wide-ranging investigation of abuses of power, obstruction of justice and corruption involving Trump. It is the Judiciary Committee that has sole jurisdiction over impeachment.
It is clear from the Cohen testimony that the Southern District of New York (SDNY) is now a hotbed of investigations into virtually every aspect of the Trump Organization businesses. Indeed, what is being revealed to the public now has been under scrutiny by Mueller and SDNY for months; nothing Cohen said was news to them. Whenever the Mueller investigation concludes, the US Attorney in New York will still be on the case for long after the Mueller report – and perhaps for long after Trump leaves office.
The Cohen testimony and the Mueller report, when issued, will fuse politically among Democrats in the House. Once this occurs, the substance absorbed and when the facts generated by the House committee probes come in, there will be strong pressure to hold hearings in the House Judiciary Committee deciding whether what has been reported is worthy of consideration for impeachment.
Make no mistake, Cohen lit a fuse, which is still burning. Cohen again appears behind closed doors in the House Select Committee on Intelligence later today; and the chairman has promised to release transcripts from his earlier closed-door sessions.
Mueller may well be holding a bomb.
Given the intense anti-Trump sentiment within the House Democratic caucus, the result of these oversight investigations by the House committees will be a process through which an affirmative decision will be taken as to whether – or not – the House should formally consider impeaching the president. This process could be finalised by August.