Former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen will testify publicly before Congress next month

12 January, 2019, 18:02 | Author: Carlos George
  • Ex-Trump lawyer Michael Cohen will testify publicly before Congress ahead of entering prison

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".

"Last November, the American people voted overwhelmingly for Congress to do two things - address the core issues that affect their daily lives, and fulfill our Constitutional responsibility to serve as an independent check and balance on the executive branch by restoring accountability and transparency", Mr Cummings said in a statement.

His testimony before the House oversight and reform committee on 7 February will be the first major public oversight hearing for Democrats, who have promised greater scrutiny of Trump after winning control of the House in the 2018 midterm elections.

Thursday's announcement comes after Cohen 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.

Cohen is also a person of interest in the ongoing Russia inquiry led by special counsel Robert Mueller, whose investigation focuses on alleged Russian interference in the 2016 USA presidential election and possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Moscow.

Cohen will appear before the House Oversight and Reform Committee, a government release explained Thursday. Trump told reporters in McAllen, Texas, on Thursday that he was "not worried" about Cohen's testimony "at all". "If you are going to provide a platform for this convicted felon and perjurer, we ought to ensure we have the necessary information to prepare to question him". Trump has denied he directed Cohen to make the payments.

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"To that end, we are in the process of consulting with Special Counsel Mueller's office", the chairman added. He also pleaded guilty to making illegal campaign contributions in the form of a $130,000 payment to Stormy Daniels, the porn star who claims she had an affair with Trump.

Riopelle told CBC News the hearing will be a full airing of the hush money payments handled by Cohen and other, potential revelations about Trump's businesses.

During his sentencing, Cohen said his "blind loyalty to this man [Trump] that led me to choose a path of darkness over light". Cohen worked on the Moscow project during the 2016 presidential campaign, which included outreach to Russian officials. Former Trump organization staffers are saying Trump has lost all his leverage and facing the same troubles in court that he used to put his opponents through - run them dry with long drawn court cases.

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

Cohen testified before the House intelligence panel in a closed-door hearing in 2017, before his role in the federal investigations was fully known and when Republicans controlled the committee. He also ordered Cohen to pay almost $2 million in financial penalties for his crimes.

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