There is a lot of buzz around Washington, D.C. and in the news about when former-Trump Attorney Michael Cohen will make his trip up to Capitol Hill to tell his side of the “whoops I’m going to prison for the President” story. Cohen’s lawyers and House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-MD) have both promised that the former Trump bagman will testify before he goes to the slammer on March 6. However, this is making PredictIt traders seriously butt-hurt because the Cohen testify market expires a week before that, on February 28.
The scheduling confusion in this market makes total sense, because if you are a Member of Congress, it is very hard to find the time in your busy schedule to pencil-in an embarrassing national spectacle like this hearing is sure to be. However, if you are a political gambler, please relax and take solace knowing that Cohen’s public testimony will happen whenever the time is right–and by that I mean, after February 28th. And if you are a degenerate gambler such as myself, here is how to profit off of it.
Let’s establish some facts. What’s complicating this whole fiasco is that Cohen has broken three dates to testify already. That’s right, he has passed-up chances to appear before a live studio on audience in the House Oversight Committee, the House Intelligence Committee, and the all-knowing Senate Intelligence Committee because of “threats to [his] family” and “post surgery recovery needs.” So this market, which expires on February 28th is a NO-brainer. Right? Almost.
Let’s review. The resolution of this market hinges on:
- Whether Cohen testifies in a public hearing.
- Whether he says anything “substantive.” (If Cohen pleads the Fifth too much in a public hearing, the admins should judge it to resolve NO.)
- All this happening by Thursday, February 28th.
Despite his string of cancellations over the last month, Cohen is still has closed-door testimony to the House Intelligence Committee on the books for February 28th. On Wednesday, February 13th, Cohen’s lawyers promised CNBC that he would also appear before House Oversight and Senate Intelligence. But team Cohen is being coy about when exactly these two appearances will happen as is Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-MD), who is citing “security” reasons for not disclosing an actual date for Cohen’s hearing. (It’s almost as though it hasn’t even been scheduled yet… ) Add to that that the House is only scheduled to be in session for four more days in the month.
Reasons Why Cohen Won’t Publicly Testify Before February 28th
— Three centuries of research on Congressional glad-handing has shown that politicians are slippery types who like to trade favors, such as sensitive, non-public information. So I totally believe that House Democrats on the Oversight Committee want to wait until after Cohen’s closed-door hearing in Intel. That’s because they’ll want to pump their colleagues for secrets and new leads to explore before they put Trump’s own Saul Goodman on live TV. And as a reminder, Cohen’s date with Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and his merry band of Intelligence Committee monsters isn’t until… February 28th.
— Scheduling a nationally televised, open hearing requires the coordination of a lot of schedules for Members of Congress, media types, and the armies of hairdressers necessary to make both camps look pretty. There is really no incentive for Democrats to drop this hearing on the calendar without warning, since they want to use it to throw the maximum amount of shade on Donald Trump.
— The last time we had an embarrassing national spectacle of this magnitude—James Comey’s testimony on Thursday, June 8th, 2017–news hit the WaPo on June 1st, 2017. One week before. It’s now February 20th.
— The House Oversight Committee requires a five day notice for a public hearing, unless the Minority Party agrees to waive it. Again, I don’t see a big incentive for Democrats to surprise America with this hearing.
— Cohen could get cold feet and flake. I would personally be shaking like a leaf on a twig if I was about to take on the President of the United States and basically blow any chance of every getting a Presidential Pardon down the line.
Yup, I am getting a RAGING CLUE that this market resolves NO.
What could make it resolve YES:
- This hearing is secretly on the books for February 28 but OGR Chairman Elijah Cummings is actually being legit when he says he’s not giving advanced warning for Cohen’s safety.
If you like a good wager, get your 80 cent NO right now. If you wake up on Friday February 22 and see no headlines about public testimony before the 28th, then NO is almost a sure thing. If there are no announcements and you still haven’t bought NO by Monday the 25th– the beginning of Congress’s last legislative work week in February– then you are literally dropping savings bonds into a grease fire. Now go out there, get that free money on Cohen NO, and count down the hours until payday.