Former Trump Lawyer Cohen to Testify Publicly Before Congress

Former Trump Lawyer Cohen to Testify Publicly Before Congress

"The first move by House Democrats that is certain to draw the ire of President Trump".

Cohen's decision to appear before the House Oversight and Reform Committee on February 7 sets the stage for a blockbuster public hearing that threatens to further damage the president's image and could clarify the depth of his legal woes.

Michael Cohen, US President Donald Trump's former lawyer, is due to testify against his former boss on February 7 in front of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee before beginning a three-year prison term for multiple charges.

That means that he wants to talk.

In August, Cohen plead guilty to federal tax fraud, bank fraud, and violating federal campaign finance law, including payouts to Karen McDougal and Stormy Daniels, two women who claim to have had affairs with Trump.

"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.

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

He did make a brief statement in court in which he said he "was weak for not having the strength to question and to refuse his demands".

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".

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And what stories he could tell.

Cohen, who had been the real estate billionaire's right-hand-man and fixer at the Trump Organisation in NY, said at his 12 December sentencing that he spent years covering up for his boss's "dirty deeds".

Cohen is a pivotal figure in the investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller into potential coordination between Russian Federation and the Trump campaign.

House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings said the committee had given the White House and the Trump Organisation until 22 January to produce documents related to the hush payments. Specifically, he misled Congress on the work being done on a Trump Tower project in Moscow - work that continued well into 2016, even though Cohen, Trump and others had previously claimed the project was abandoned much earlier. However, he will not force Cohen to "do anything to interfere with the [ongoing] Mueller investigation".

He promised to continue to cooperate with the special counsel's investigation of Trump's campaign. Although Democrats say the questioning will be limited to avoid interfering with open investigations, the hearing is still likely to pull back the curtain on key episodes involving Trump's personal life and business dealings, including hush-money payments to women and a proposed Moscow real estate deal, that federal prosecutors have been dissecting for months. Now it is Cohen who is going away, due to be incarcerated in FCI-Otisville, a medium-security federal prison in NY.

Trump has lashed out at Cohen over his cooperation with prosecutors, recently saying Cohen "lied" and deserved to "serve a full and complete sentence".

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

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. He has also contended that the deals were private and unrelated to the campaign, insisting that if anything illegal occurred, it was Cohen's responsibility. The investigation has clouded Trump's presidency.

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