House committee says Michael Cohen will testify publicly on Feb. 27
Michael Cohen will testify publicly before Congress on February 27 on an array of topics linked to his former boss and client, President Donald Trump, the House Oversight Committee said Wednesday.
Cohen was initially scheduled to testify in front of the committee on February 7, but that appearance was canceled by Cohen and his legal team, who cited “threats against his family” after Trump and his attorney, Rudy Giuliani, made public remarks concerning Cohen’s father-in-law.
Cohen also later canceled planned closed-door testimony in front of the House and Senate Intelligence committees.
“I am pleased to announce that Michael Cohen’s public testimony before the Oversight Committee is back on, despite efforts by some to intimidate his family members and prevent him from appearing,” said Rep. Elijah Cummings, a Maryland Democrat who is chairman of the committee, in a statement on Wednesday.
“Congress has an obligation under the Constitution to conduct independent and robust oversight of the Executive Branch, and this hearing is one step in that process.”
In announcing Cohen’s scheduled testimony, Cummings also released a lengthy list of topics Cohen is expected to discuss, including Trump’s “debts and payments relating to efforts to influence the 2016 election”; Trump’s compliance with financial disclosure requirements, campaign finance laws and tax laws; and Trump’s business practices.
Cohen, who became known as Trump’s “fixer” when he worked for the President, is also expected to testify about the accuracy of Trump’s public statements; “potentially fraudulent or inappropriate practices by the Trump Foundation,” which is the subject of an ongoing civil lawsuit brought by the New York Attorney General’s Office; and “public efforts by the President and his attorney to intimidate Mr. Cohen or others not to testify.”
Cohen, who pleaded guilty last year to a total of nine counts in two federal cases, has already implicated Trump in some of the crimes for which Cohen is going to prison. In his first guilty plea last August, Cohen admitted that “in coordination and at the direction of a candidate for federal office,” he kept information that would have harmed Trump — claims from women who alleged affairs with Trump — from becoming public during the 2016 election cycle. Trump has denied having affairs with the women.
Federal prosecutors later affirmed Cohen’s admission in court filings.
Cummings said the list of topics Cohen had agreed to discuss had been developed after consulting with the Department of Justice.
On Wednesday, Cohen tweeted: “Looking forward to the #American people hearing my story in my voice!” He added: “#truth.”
Earlier on Wednesday, Cohen’s attorney said in a court filing that his client expected to testify at three congressional hearings, and, in part because of those commitments, wanted to delay the start of his three-year prison sentence, which had been scheduled to begin March 6. A federal judge granted the postponement, and Cohen is now set to report to prison on May 6.