GOP lawmakers: Michael Cohen won’t talk Trump Tower Moscow or MuellerJanuary 23, 2019
Michael Cohen WON’T talk about why he lied about Trump Tower Moscow, his dealings with Robert Mueller or his tax and bank fraud when he appears in front of Congress, Republicans claim
- Michael Cohen will not talk about why he lied to Congress or his dealings with the special counsel when he testifies before Congress next month
- Republican lawmakers charge Cohen will not talk about anything currently ‘under investigation’ when he sits before a congressional committee on Feb. 7
- That would preclude him from talking about the Trump Tower Moscow project, his dealings with Robert Mueller or his payoff to porn star Stormy Daniels
- The lawmakers said Cohen attorney Lanny Davis said the president’s former personal attorney will only talk about what it was like working for Trump
Michael Cohen will not talk about why he lied to Congress or his dealings with special counsel Robert Mueller when he testifies before a congressional committee next month, Republican lawmakers claim.
President Donald Trump’s former personal attorney will not talk about anything currently ‘under investigation’ when he appears before the House Oversight and Reform Committee on February 7, the GOP lawmakers alleged on Tuesday.
That would preclude him from talking about the Trump Tower Moscow project, his payoff to porn star Stormy Daniels, or his business dealings.
Reps. Jim Jordan and Mark Meadows, senior Republicans on the committee, released a letter to Cohen’s attorney Guy Petrillo, outlining a conversation staff had with Lanny Davis, another lawyer for Cohen, about the upcoming appearance.
Michael Cohen will not talk about why he lied to Congress or his dealings with special counsel Robert Mueller when he testifies before a congressional committee next month
Republican Reps. Jim Jordan (left) and Mark Meadows (right), two of President Trump’s biggest defenders on Capitol Hill, made the complaint in a letter to Cohen’s attorney
If the lawmakers’ claims are true, Cohen will not be able to speak on the payoff to porn actress Stormy Daniels
‘Davis told us Cohen’s testimony will exclude any matter ‘under investigation,” the lawmakers, two of Trump’s most ardent defenders on Capitol Hill, wrote.
That ‘non-exhaustive list’ includes anything involving the probes being conducted by the the state of New York and Mueller, they note.
Cohen has been cooperating with the special counsel’s probe of Russia’s role in the 2016 election. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York was the lead federal prosecutor earlier this year when Cohen pled guilty to eight counts, including tax fraud and campaign finance violations.
He also has plead guilty to lying to Congress about the timeline of conversations he had with Russian officials about building a Trump Tower Moscow as part of separate investigation by Mueller’s team.
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He was sentenced to three years in prison and is set to begin his jail sentence on March 6. He is free on bail until that time.
The GOP lawmakers have been critical of Democratic Chairman Elijah Cummings’ decision to bring Cohen before the committee to testify.
They complain they were told Cohen will only talk about working for Trump.
Davis said the ‘sole purpose of Cohen’s appearance before the Committee is to allow Cohen to share his personal anecdotes about his time working for the then-private citizen Donald J. Trump and his experiences after Mr. Trump became president,’ the lawmakers write.
‘We will not be hearing testimony about why Cohen intentionally provided false and misleading testimony to the United States Congress,’ they note. ‘We will not be able to learn more about Cohen’s role in federal campaign finance law violations.’
But, they noted, the topics will likely come up anyway when Cohen faces committee members.
‘Our members intend to ask Cohen whatever question they deem appropriate,’ they wrote.
However, Davis warned them they will likely not get the answers they seek.
‘He forewarned the hearing will likely be ‘unsatisfying’ and ‘frustrating’ for Members of the Committee,’ they note.
In response to the letter, Davis told CNN: ‘I offered to brief the minority staff to show a spirit of bipartisanship, encouraged by the Chairman’s office. I offered on Mr. Cohen’s behalf for Mr. Cohen to speak with Ranking Member Rep. Jim Jordan out of courtesy and the same spirit of bipartisanship, and we have not heard back. … Beyond that, I will not dignify the unwarranted attack by Mr. Jordan as to my motives.’
Cohen will not talk about his cooperation with special counsel Robert Mueller (above) when he testifies before the committee, GOP lawmakers complain
Cohen will only talk about what it was like to work for Donald Trump, seen here with Vice President Pence on Martin Luther King Day
Jordan and Meadows charge Davis with being the mastermind behind Cohen’s appearance, which will garner much media attention.
‘Davis made it clear that Cohen’s upcoming appearance before the Committee is entirely a result of Davis’ orchestration. According to Davis, the hearing was Davis’ idea and his alone. Cohen apparently did not want to testify – but Davis persuaded Cohen to appear despite his concerns and fears,’ they write.
‘I pushed him to do this,’ Davis said. ‘This was my idea; nobody else’s,’ they claim.
Cohen entered a guilty plea in November to a charge of lying to Congress about a Trump Organization real estate project that was slated for Moscow, Russia and discussed through the fall of 2016 while the president was running for office.
He testified before Congress that the project he pursued on Trump’s behalf was abandoned by the time of the Iowa Caucuses in January 2016; that would be consistent with Trump’s ‘political messaging.’
Mueller later filed documents revealing Cohen said he discussed the proposal with Trump on multiple occasions and with members of the president’s family, later in the year – even after Trump became the Republican nominee for president.
Cohen said he lied out of loyalty to Trump.
‘I made these misstatements to be consistent with Individual 1’s political messaging and out of loyalty to Individual 1,’ Cohen said at his plea hearing late last year.
‘Individual 1’ is Mueller’s name for Trump in the investigation.
Discussions about a planned construction project were ultimately abandoned and no contract was signed.
Cohen was also the central figure in a plot to buy the silence of pornographic actress Stormy Daniels, who claimed that she had an affair with Trump in 2006.
Daniels signed a nondisclosure agreement in exchange for $130,000 from Cohen, a transaction that he admitted was a violation of campaign finance laws since it amounted to an illegally large contribution benefiting Trump’s White House hopes.
He also said in court that Trump directed him to make the payment, suggesting the president was guilty of a crime.
In August he pleaded guilty to eight separate charges related to tax dodges, falsifying bank documents and the campaign finance violations involving Daniels and another woman, former Playboy magazine model Karen McDougal.
Cohen claims that at Trump’s request, he arranged for the publisher of The National Enquirer to pay McDougal – another self-described past Trump paramour – for the exclusive rights to her life story. The magazine never published anything, engaging in a practice known as ‘catch and kill’ in order to help Trump avoid new scandals in the final weeks of the 2016 campaign.
Trump has denied ever having a sexual relationship with either Daniels or McDougal.
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