Thursday, 17 January, 2019

Former Trump Lawyer Cohen to Testify Publicly Before Congress

Michael Cohen agrees to testify before Congress after pleading guilty to fraud and deception Trump's ex-lawyer Michael Cohen to testify in public before Congress
Ellis Copeland | 12 January, 2019, 04:51

President Donald Trump's former personal attorney Michael Cohen said on Thursday he had agreed to testify publicly before a congressional panel on February 7, as U.S. House of Representatives Democrats began kicking off numerous investigations of Trump, his business interests and his administration.

Cohen was sentenced in December to three years in federal prison for financial crimes, lying to Congress, and for two violations of campaign finance law in connection with hush money payments to two women who have claimed past affairs with Trump.

Cohen cooperated with investigators - including special counsel Robert Mueller's probe of the 2016 election - in exchange for leniency in sentencing on charges that included campaign finance violations.

The Oversight hearing may not be Cohen's only appearance.

"In furtherance of my commitment to cooperate and provide the American people with answers, I have accepted the invitation by Chairman Elijah Cummings to appear publicly on February 7", Cohen said in a statement.

Cohen said Thursday in a statement that he looks forward to having a platform to give a "full and credible account of the events which have transpired".

They now hold the chairmanship of committees with the power to hold hearings, inviting or forcing witnesses to testify in public.

Now he is clearly intent on taking aim at the president - and he could inflict some serious damage, even though Mr Trump's current lawyer, former NY mayor Rudy Giuliani, has dismissed him as "a thoroughly discredited liar".

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The announcement of Cohen's testimony is the latest sign that House Democrats plan to make oversight of every aspect of Trump's life a key part of their control of the House. Trump has denied the trysts. Cohen, a consigliere to Trump when he was a real estate developer and presidential candidate as well as informally as president, was privy to the machinations of Trump's inner circle and key moments under scrutiny by both special counsel Robert Mueller and federal prosecutors in NY.

The session will come just under a month before he is due to turn himself in for a three-year prison sentence.

On Thursday, Cummings said he was consulting Mueller's office to ensure that he did not hinder its efforts.

It's not yet clear whether Cohen will agree to speak to any other committees.

Cohen cooperated with Mueller's investigation after his August guilty plea, and his congressional testimony could thrust some of those still-private details he provided into the public sphere.

The president, "knows the truth", Cohen said.

Adam Schiff, incoming chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, which is focusing on Russian interference in the 2016 election, said he expects to call Cohen to testify as well.

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.

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