Trump's former lawyer to testify publicly before Congress

11 January, 2019, 01:02 | Author: Wade Massey
  • Michael Cohen President Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer walks out of his sentencing in New York on Dec. 12. Cohen who implicated Trump in a scheme to pay hush money to two women claiming to have had affairs with him has agreed to testify befor

The hearing marks the latest step in Cohen's transformation from a trusted legal adviser to the president to a public antagonist who has cooperated extensively against him.

President Donald Trump's former lawyer, Michael Cohen, will testify publicly before a House committee next month in a hearing that could serve as the opening salvo of a promised Democratic effort to scrutinize Trump, his conflicts of interest and his ties to Russian Federation.

Cohen, who was recently sentenced to three years in prison after being charged with orchestrating illegal hush money payments to women alleging affairs with Trump during the 2016 election.

In a statement, Cohen said he agreed to testify in "furtherance of my commitment to cooperate and provide the American people with answers".

Cohen acknowledged the testimony in a separate statement: "I look forward to having the privilege of being afforded a platform with which to give a full and credible account of the events which have transpired". Trump has previously attacked Cohen as "a rat" and "a liar" on Twitter.

Cohen told Stephanopoulos that Trump directed him to arrange the payments to Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal because then-candidate Trump "was very concerned about how this would affect the election" if their allegations of affairs became public before voters cast their ballots. But federal prosecutors recommended a "substantial term of imprisonment" for Cohen, saying he "repeatedly used his power and influence for deceptive ends" and claiming that his cooperation with Mueller was "overstated". He said he's speaking with Mueller's office to prevent that.

Cohen addressed his relationship with Trump at his sentencing, saying he had "blind loyalty to this man that led me to choose a path of darkness over light". The investigation has clouded Trump's presidency.

Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, who was made chairman of the committee after Democrats regained control of the House of Representatives, made the announcement Thursday.

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"COHEN asked Individual 1 about the possibility of Individual 1 traveling to Russian Federation in connection with the Moscow Project, and asked a senior campaign official about potential business travel to Russian Federation", the documents said.

Federal prosecutors in the Southern District of NY have implicated, but not charged, the president in the deals reached in the closing weeks of the 2016 election, alleging in court filings that Cohen acted "in coordination with and at the direction of" Trump.

Individual 1 was a reference to Trump. An adviser to Cohen, Lanny Davis, said shortly after he was sentenced that the former political fixer wanted to testify and "state publicly all he knows".

Cummings said the committee has no intention of interfering in ongoing criminal probes.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller for many months has been investigating Russia's interference in the 2016 us presidential election, possible collusion between the Kremlin and the Trump campaign and potential obstruction of justice.

"Mr. Cohen has expressed an interest in telling his personal story in open session, and we welcome his testimony before the Committee on Oversight and Reform", Schiff said.

Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said Cohen "Cohen has had in his possession for months a request to return to the Senate Intelligence Committee for additional closed-door testimony, made all the more necessary by Mr. Cohen's indictment and guilty plea for making false statements to Committee investigators".

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