Michael Cohen agrees to testify to Congress about work for Trump
Former lawyer to the US president threatens to further damage Trump’s image
Michael Cohen could soon share many of the machinations of Trump’s inner circle. Photograph: Seth Wenig/AP Photo
Michael Cohen, US president Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer who implicated him in a scheme to pay hush money to two women claiming to have had affairs with him, said Thursday that he had agreed to testify before a House committee next month and give “a full and credible account” of his work for Trump.
Cohen’s decision to appear before the House Oversight and Reform Committee on February 7th sets the stage for a public hearing that threatens to further damage the president’s image and could clarify the depth of his legal woes.
Cohen, a consigliere to Mr Trump when he was a real estate developer and presidential candidate as well as informally when he was president, was privy to the machinations of Mr Trump’s inner circle and to key moments under scrutiny by both special counsel Robert Mueller and federal prosecutors in New York.
He could soon share many of them on national television under oath. But potential constraints emerged almost immediately Thursday when the committee’s chairman warned that Cohen most likely would be barred by Mr Mueller from discussing matters related to Russia.
“In furtherance of my commitment to cooperate and provide the American people with answers,” Cohen said in a statement, “I have accepted the invitation by Chairman Elijah Cummings to appear publicly on February 7th. I look forward to having the privilege of being afforded a platform with which to give a full and credible account of the events which have transpired.”
In August, Cohen pleaded guilty in federal court in Manhattan to tax fraud, making false statements to a bank and a campaign finance violation. In court, Cohen said that violation was the result of payments he made at the behest of his former client to a woman who was prepared to go public during the 2016 campaign about an affair with Mr Trump years earlier.
Since then, Cohen has spent more than 70 hours with federal prosecutors in Manhattan as well as with Mr Mueller. Asked during a visit to Texas whether he was concerned about Cohen’s plan to testify, Mr Trump told reporters, “I’m not worried about it at all.” – New York Times