Michael Cohen’s Congressional Testimony to Exclude Any Topic ‘Under Investigation’
Michael Cohen’s congressional testimony next month will exclude any topic that’s “under investigation,” his lawyer told congressional Republicans according to a GOP description of their conversation with Cohen’s lawyer, which could mean Cohen won’t discuss lying to Congress about the Trump Tower Moscow project or the payments made to women during the campaign for their silence.
Reps. Jim Jordan and Mark Meadows, senior Republicans on the House Oversight Committee, released a letter to Cohen’s attorney Guy Petrillo discussing their conversation with another Cohen attorney, Lanny Davis.
In the letter, Jordan and Meadows write that Davis told them Cohen’s testimony was likely to be “unsatisfying” and “frustrating” because of the topics that would be off limits.
“According to Davis, 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,” Jordan and Meadows wrote. “Pressed on how Cohen’s testimony is jurisdictionally related to the committee’s role in overseeing the functioning, efficiency and effectiveness of the federal government, Davis stated Cohen has ‘anecdotes about his time with the President.'”
Davis did not immediately respond to CNN’s request for comment on the letter.
House Oversight Chairman Rep. Elijah Cummings announced earlier this month that Cohen would be testifying before the committee on February 7.
Tuesday’s letter adds to the criticism that Jordan, the top Republican on the committee, and Meadows have leveled over Cummings’ decision to bring in Cohen, pointing to his false testimony to Congress and the fact that he cooperated with special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.
Jordan and Meadows wrote that Cohen doesn’t plan to testify before any other committees — though multiple House and Senate panels also want to speak to him — and that Davis chose Oversight as the venue where Cohen would appear, though he was initially hesitant.
“I pushed him to do this,” Davis said, according to the Republican lawmakers.
In addition to Cohen’s false testimony to Congress and his campaign finance crimes — in which prosecutors say Trump directed Cohen to facilitate illegal payments to two women alleging affairs — Davis told the Republicans that Cohen won’t be able to talk about the financial crimes that he pleaded guilty to last year.
Cohen was sentenced to three years in prison in December, and is set to begin his jail sentence March 6.
The Republicans wrote that even if Cohen won’t answer questions on several topics, Republicans will still likely press him on them anyway.
“Our members intend to ask Cohen whatever question they deem appropriate,” the GOP lawmakers wrote.