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NH reactions to Cohen plea deal range from yawns to yikes

Union Leader Correspondent

August 23. 2018 11:02AM
Hooksett resident Bonnie Pierce reads news coverage of former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen's guilty plea to violating campaign finance laws by making pre-election payoffs. (TRAVIS MORIN/UNION LEADER CORRESPONDENT)

President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Michael Cohen leaves federal court in Manhattan, New York, on May 30. (REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton/File Photo)

Granite Staters have their own take on the implications of former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen’s guilty plea on campaign finance violations for pre-election payoffs.

Over breakfast at Roots Cafe in Robie’s Country Store in Hooksett, co-owner of Kelsen Brewing Company Erik Olsen expressed doubt about the overall value of Cohen’s plea.

“If they could have flipped him, they would have,” Olsen said. “They would have given him a plea bargain and gotten him off. So the fact that they convicted him means that there’s nothing to get.”

Taking a break from the kitchen, Roots Cafe owner Amber Enright said she believes Cohen’s charges that he made the payoffs at the direction of a candidate for federal office are just the beginning.

“I’m sure there’s more. Though I don’t think we need to hear anymore,” said Enright. “We already know that Trump is a mischievous and underhanded person.”

Manchester Republican Rich Roy, who voted for Trump in the 2016 GOP primary and in the general election, said Trump is doing an “awesome” job.

“He’s done nothing wrong,” Roy said while putting groceries into his car outside the Hannaford supermarket at East Side Plaza in Manchester.

Referring to Cohen, Roy said: “He’s irrelevant to the presidency. Same with (ex-Trump campaign manager Paul) Manafort.”

In the same plaza, Pembroke resident Janay Goroff, who said she is an independent, offered different sentiments about Cohen’s guilty plea.

“I’m not surprised,” Goroff said.

In the produce section of Sully’s Superette in Goffstown, 81-year-old Air Force veteran and retired General Electric employee Chuck Hazelbaker dismissed all of the accusations against Trump and Cohen as nothing more than political attacks from the Democratic Party.

“This is all a bunch of BS,” declared Hazelbaker as he balanced a dozen eggs, a bag of tortilla chips and a block of cheddar cheese in his hands.

“The Democrats are really pushing to smear everything Trump’s tried to do. I’m for Trump. He’s not a politician, he’s a good old farm boy just like me. He says it like it is. If you don’t like it, tough.”

At the Village Trestle in Goffstown, 70-year-old retired retail worker Virginia Frain of Manchester had one word for the allegations against Trump.

“Finally,” she exclaimed.

Frain drew parallels between Cohen and John Dean, the White House Counsel for Richard Nixon who served as a key witness in the Watergate investigation after entering a guilty plea of his own in 1973 for obstruction of justice.

Frain said she thinks Cohen’s accusations might increase the odds of a Republican primary challenger to Trump in 2020.

“I think even some of the Republicans are starting to dislike the smells coming from all this,” Frain said. “They may feel Trump is more vulnerable now.”

Courts Crime Politics Presidential Candia Goffstown Hooksett Manchester

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