Setting the stage for another circus-like public hearing the likes of which haven’t been seen on Capitol Hill since James Comey’s testimony in the spring of 2017, disgraced former Trump attorney Michael Cohen has agreed to “give a full and credible” account of his work for President Trump before the House next month, the New York Times reported.
While we think “credible” is a stretch (if Cohen’s own admission of guilt is to be believed), the former Trump Organization attorney pleaded guilty in august to charges of tax fraud, lying to Congress and campaign finance violations stemming from two payoffs he claims he arranged to two women who were threatening to share stories about their affairs with Trump.
Cohen, who was sentenced to three years in prison in December and is working hard to get his sentence reduced by continuing to cooperate with federal prosecutors in Manhattan and Special Counsel Robert Mueller, said he felt that appearing at the public hearing was part of his “commitment to cooperate and provide the American people with answers.”
“In furtherance of my commitment to cooperate and provide the American people with answers, I have accepted the invitation by Chairman Elijah Cummings to appear publicly on February 7,” Mr. Cohen said in a statement. “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.”
Since his guilty plea, Cohen has spent more than 70 hours meeting with federal prosecutors. Trump has repeatedly insisted he did nothing wrong and has accused Cohen of lying to prosecutors to spare himself and his family.
Cohen will testify before the House Oversight Committee at the invitation of its Chairman Elijah Cummings, who said late last year that he would request that Cohen appear at a public hearing. Cummings has repeatedly compared Cohen to John Dean, the White House counsel who implicated Nixon and other senior administration officials in the coverup of the Watergate break-in.
Cummings has said he will make sure questions don’t interfere with the Mueller probe, and that he is currently in talks with Mueller’s office.
“He’ll have a chance to tell his side of the story, and we’ll have a chance to question him. The American people deserve that,” Cummings said.
Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff also said he’s hoping to arrange closed-door testimony with Cohen about Trump’s business dealings in Russia – and presumably the Trump Tower Moscow project, which was the subject of Cohen’s earlier lie to Congress. Jerry Nadler, the newly installed head of the Judiciary Committee, has also said he’d like to speak with Cohen.
Once again, Cohen has managed to distract from one of his former boss, with news of the Cohen hearing drawing attention away from Trump’s photo-op at the Southern border.