Study guide: Michael Cohen hearing

Thursday, February 28, 2019


Directions: Read the summary, watch the video and answer the discussion questions.You may want to read along using the transcript here or turn on “CC” closed-captions.

Summary: The nearly nine-hour long testimony of former Donald Trump lawyer Michael Cohen in front of the House Oversight Committee on Wednesday produced a wide array of public opinion. Lisa Desjardins, who attended the hearing, and Yamiche Alcindor join Judy Woodruff to discuss the day’s key takeaways, including House Republican and White House attacks on Cohen as not trustworthy and Cohen’s argument that Trump ran for president solely to enrich himself. Cohen admitted that he had lied to a Senate Intelligence Committee in 2017, and apologized to the House committee for his actions. Cohen will testify in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee behind closed doors in three days of hearings on Thursday.



Discussion questions: 

1) Essential question: Why was Michael Cohen called to testify before the House Oversight Committee?

2) What did you learn from the Cohen hearing that you did not know before? Did any new information come out of the hearing? If so, how might it affect public opinion?

3) What were Republican lawmakers hoping to get out of the hearing? How about the Democrats? What does Cohen’s credibility, a point raised by both parties, have to do with the possibility of impeachment proceedings against President Trump?

4) Why was Lynne Patton, a HUD official and Trump supporter who is a black woman, asked by Rep. Mark Meadows R-N.C. to stand by his side at one point during the hearing? Do you think Patton should have agreed to do so? Explain. Learn more about the exchange between Rep. Meadows and Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich. as well as Patton’s reaction to the incident.

5) Media literacy: Watch these perspectives from Republicans and Democrats regarding the Michael Cohen hearing. Why do Republicans and Democrats have such different takes on the hearing?

Rep. James Comer, R-Ky., is a member of the House Oversight Committee that questioned President Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen on Wednesday. He talks to Judy Woodruff about his conclusions from the hearing’s “spectacular claims,” including whether he thinks “we learned anything new” and why he sees Cohen as marred by a “cloud of suspicion” for his own track record on the truth and the law.



Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., chairs the House Intelligence Committee. He talks to Judy Woodruff about his impressions from Cohen’s Wednesday appearance in front of the House Oversight Committee, including evidence of a “code of dishonesty” in the president’s inner circle, plus what he plans to discuss when Cohen comes to his committee Thursday for a closed-door session.



Extension activities:

Read the following articles to learn more about the Michael Cohen hearings:

Fordham University confirms Cohen warned it not to disclose Trump’s grades

Cohen releases Trump financial documents, claims president inflated net worth

You may want to check out more video exchanges from the Cohen hearing. As always, preview all videos before showing to students.


Clip #1:


Clip #2:


Clip #3:

Visit PBS NewsHour Extra for more education resources designed to help teachers and students identify the who, what, where and why-it-matters of the major national and international news stories. You can read the original story here@NewsHourExtra