Thursday, 24 January, 2019

Michael Cohen To Testify Publicly In Front Of House Oversight Next Month

Ex-Trump lawyer Michael Cohen will testify publicly before Congress ahead of entering prison Michael Cohen President Trump's former lawyer leaves federal court after his sentencing in Manhattan last month
Jeannette Daniel | 11 January, 2019, 01:01

His testimony will be the first major public hearing for Democrats, who have promised greater scrutiny of Mr Trump.

President Donald Trump's former lawyer Michael Cohen said on Thursday he has agreed to testify publicly before a U.S. House of Representatives committee on February 7.

Cohen is coming to Capitol Hill after he pleaded guilty and was sentenced in December to three years in prison on multiple charges, including two campaign finance crimes tied to illicit payments made to silence women during the presidential campaign - crimes that prosecutors say Trump directed Cohen to commit.

In a statement on Thursday, Cohen said he was prepared "to cooperate and provide the American people with answers".

Cohen added: "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".

After Cohen was sentenced, Lanny Davis, an attorney who has been advising him on his media strategy, said Cohen wanted to speak publicly about Trump.

Mr Trump has denied the affairs and any involvement in the payments.

"I thank Michael Cohen for agreeing to testify before the Oversight Committee voluntarily", said Oversight Chairman Elijah Cummings, a Democrat from Maryland, in a statement.

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When asked by a reporter about Cohen's upcoming testimony during his visit to the southern border on Thursday, Trump said he isn't concerned. Prosecutors have said Cohen did so at Trump's direction.

The women have claimed they had affairs with Trump after the real estate mogul married his third wife, Melania. In the plea, Cohen said: "I made these misstatements to be consistent with Individual 1's political messaging and out of loyalty to Individual 1".

Cohen's 2017 congressional testimony before the Senate intelligence and House intelligence committees led to a guilty plea in November 2018 for lying under oath about Trump's business dealings in Russian Federation.

Cummings has signaled that his committee is more interested in investigating the president's involvement in the campaign violations to which Cohen pleaded guilty past year.

Democratic lawmakers have wanted to call Cohen back to Capitol Hill since the special counsel determined Cohen lied during his previous testimony - lies that formed at least part of the foundation of a controversial investigative report that House Intelligecne Committee Republicans released past year, determining that there was no evidence of links between Trump's campaign and Russian officials.

Known as Trump's "fixer", part of Cohen's job was to make the president's problems go away - by any means necessary. Cohen spoke in 2017 to the House and Senate Intelligence Committees - and later pleaded guilty to lying to them about the Trump Tower Moscow timeline - and both have indicated they want to speak to him again before he begins his jail sentence in March.

Soon after his appearance in front of House Oversight was announced, House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) released a statement welcoming the testimony but also stressing the need for Cohen "to answer questions pertaining to the Russian Federation investigation".

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