Former Trump Lawyer Cohen to Testify Publicly Before 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, President Donald Trump's former personal attorney and fixer, has accepted an invitation to testify in an open session before Congress next month.

The campaign finance violations, which implicated the president in felony crimes, were for the hush-money payments to Stormy Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, and Karen McDougal over alleged extra-marital affairs Trump had years prior. Cohen also acknowledged in the Mueller investigation that he lied to Congress by saying negotiations over a Trump Tower in Moscow had ended in January 2016 when he actually pursued the project into that June, well into Trump's 2016 presidential campaign.

Following his sentencing hearing last month, Cohen's attorney Lanny Davis said he was prepared to "state publicly all he knows about Mr. Trump", including providing answers to "any appropriate Congressional committee interested in the search for truth and the difference between facts and lies".

Cohen said he will "give a full and credible account of the events that have transpired".

Cohen's public testimony could spell trouble for Trump, given Cohen's extensive knowledge of and participation in illegal hush money payments, the Trump campaign's contacts with Russian Federation, and the Trump Organization's efforts to build a Trump Tower in Moscow.

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". Federal prosecutors have said Trump directed those payments during the campaign. Trump has denied the trysts. He was charged with violating campaign finance law when he made illicit payments to two women who allegedly had previous affairs with President Trump.

Cohen has testified behind close doors to both the Senate and the House previously, some of which led to his conviction on lying to Congress. 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.

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The committee, then under the leadership of South Carolina Rep.

Democrats won back the House past year promising to hold Trump and his administration to account and have begun laying the groundwork for a long run of investigations targeting his administrator's policies and ethics lapses, Trump's businesses and his campaign's interactions with Russian Federation. He said he's speaking with Mueller's office to prevent that.

Cohen is among a number of people in Trump's orbit who have pleaded guilty to criminal charges.

The panel's top Republican, Rep. Jim Jordan of OH, said Cohen's appearance shows that Cummings is using the "committee as a venue for political theatre rather than legitimate oversight", noting how Cohen has admitted knowingly lying to Congress and is a witness in ongoing investigations.

The House Intelligence Committee has been seeking a closed-door session with Cohen to discuss Russia-related matters. Cohen's appearance in public, before national television cameras, will begin to fulfill that promise, but is likely to only be the first of a string of public testimony that could prove damaging to the president.

"The request still stands", Burr added, regardless of any public testimony Mr. Cohen may give on other issues". Richard Burr, R-N.C., said in a statement.

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