Wednesday, 20 March, 2019

Ex-Trump lawyer Michael Cohen to testify in front of Congress

Michael Cohen President Trump's former lawyer departs United States Federal Court under heavy security after being sentenced to three years in prison in New York New York on Dec. 12 2018 Michael Cohen agrees to testify before Congress after pleading guilty to fraud and deception
Kenny Thornton | 12 January, 2019, 04:48

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.

After more than a decade as Trump's personal lawyer, Cohen has plenty of dirt on the president.

He could soon share them on national television under oath.

In a statement released on Thursday, Cohen said he had accepted the invitation "in furtherance of my commitment to co-operate and provide the American people with answers".

Cohen said in a 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". Cohen has already pleaded guilty to previously making false statements to Congress, in 2017 to a Senate intelligence committee about a plan to build a Trump Tower in Moscow.

On December 12, Cohen was sentenced to 36 months in prison after pleading guilty in August to eight federal crimes, including two large payoffs to silence women who claimed to have affairs with Trump.

Trump called Cohen "a weak person" and accused him of arranging payments of his own accord.

Jackie Speier (D-CA) said she believed "money laundering" occurred with Donald Trump's organization and that is "probably what's going to bring him down". Cohen lied to federal prosecutors about the timing of his discussions with Russian officials. Cummings is also requesting a raft of potentially revealing communications about the payments and other legal services Cohen provided for the president and his company.

"I want to make clear that we have no interest in inappropriately interfering with any ongoing criminal investigations", he said in a statement.

Maurizio Sarri Blasts "Unprofessional" Bayern Munich Over Callum Hudson-Odoi Interest
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President Donald Trump speaks to the media after signing Anti-Human Trafficking Legislation in the Oval Office on January 9, 2019 in Washington.

Special Counsel spokesman Peter Carr declined to comment on Cohen's upcoming testimony before Congress, but Cummings told reporters outside an unrelated closed briefing on Thursday that his committee's questioning of Cohen will be limited to avoid publicly discussing sensitive portions of the Mueller probe.

The chairman of the oversight panel, Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland, said the committee is consulting with Mueller's office about the testimony.

"This is a watershed moment", Cummings said, invoking Dean, who he said "changed the course of America" with his testimony.

The newly installed chairmen of at least two other panels, the Judiciary and Intelligence committees, have said they want to speak with Cohen about his work on behalf of Trump.

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.

Speaking to journalists, Mr Trump shrugged the news off, after having last month condemned Cohen as a "rat" helping the Federal Bureau of Investigation in a "witch hunt".

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

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