Published: Fri, January 11, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Cohen, ex-Trump lawyer, to testify publicly before Congress

Cohen, ex-Trump lawyer, to testify publicly before Congress

Donald Trump's former fixer, Michael Cohen, has agreed to testify in a public hearing before the House Oversight Committee on February 7, lawmakers announced Thursday.

Cohen is a pivotal figure in investigations by special counsel Robert Mueller into potential coordination between Russian Federation and the Trump campaign, and by federal prosecutors in NY into campaign finance violations related to hush-money payments to two women who say they had sex with Trump.

Mr Cohen has also co-operated with special counsel Robert Mueller's inquiry into the Trump campaign's links with Russian Federation - but with that investigation still active, discussion of those issues may be off limits.

Like it or not, Cohen will be airing the administration's dirty laundry under oath in front of a government committee in February, something which is likely to cost traders, economists, and of course, President Trump himself, a few nights' sleep at the very least.

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.

Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-MD) was thankful Cohen came forward on his own accord.

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.

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At Cohen's sentencing hearing in December, a prosecutor in Mueller's office said Cohen "has provided consistent and credible information about core Russia-related issues under investigation" without elaborating.

Cohen, 52, also pleaded guilty to eight separate counts, including campaign finance violations, that he said were carried out at the direction of Trump.

In an interview with ABC News after his conviction Cohen said Mr Trump knew it was wrong to order the hush payments. He said, "To that end, we are in the process of consulting with Special Counsel Mueller's office".

It's not yet clear whether Cohen will agree to speak to any other committees. He is set to testify before the House Oversight and Reform Committee, which is investigating payments made during the 2016 campaign to silence women who claimed to have had sex with Trump.

Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said Cohen "Cohen has had in his possession for months a request to return to the Senate Intelligence Committee for additional closed-door testimony, made all the more necessary by Mr. Cohen's indictment and guilty plea for making false statements to Committee investigators".

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

Cohen was sentenced to three years in prison. 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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