Published: Fri, January 11, 2019
World News | By Sandy Lane

Ex-Trump lawyer Cohen to testify publicly before Congress

Ex-Trump lawyer Cohen to testify publicly before Congress

The hearing, set for February 7 before the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, was announced Thursday afternoon by Rep. Elijah Cummings, a Maryland Democrat, who is the new chairman of the committee.

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 a year ago, determining that there was no evidence of links between Trump's campaign and Russian officials.

In a statement, Chairman Elijah Cummings, who invited Cohen to testify, said his committee will avoid "inappropriately interfering with any ongoing criminal investigations". He said, "To that end, we are in the process of consulting with Special Counsel Mueller's office".

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.

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Committee chair Elijah Cummings of Maryland thanked Cohen for agreeing to appear in a statement on Thursday.

Trump's attorney Rudy Giuliani described Cohen to Fox News as "a thoroughly discredited liar", and said he could not imagine why Cummings would want to hear from Cohen.

Trump told reporters in McAllen, Texas, on Thursday that he was "not worried" about Cohen's testimony "at all". Trump has denied having the extramarital affairs.

It's unclear whether Cohen's testimony contains evidence that could lead to the impeachment of the U.S. president, but given the fact that Trump's casually-tweeted comments (such as criticisms of the Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell) have been correlated with major turbulence in the stock markets, the last thing the economy needs at the moment is another wild card.

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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.

"I look forward to assisting Michael to state publicly all he knows about Mr. Trump - and that includes any appropriate congressional committee interested in the search for truth and the difference between facts and lies", Davis said in a statement at the time.

Special counsel Robert Mueller is also investigating "any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated" with the Trump campaign.

Mueller's scrutiny of Cohen has focused on the attorney's role in Trump's business dealings, particularly negotiations over a Trump Tower project in Moscow during the 2016 campaign.

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"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. House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler of NY is demanding acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker testify this month, and he's threatening a subpoena if Whitaker won't voluntarily appear.

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