Trump’s ex-lawyer to face Con­gress

Weekend Herald - - World -

US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s for­mer lawyer, Michael Co­hen, will tes­tify pub­licly be­fore a House com­mit­tee next month in a hear­ing that could serve as the open­ing salvo of a promised Demo­cratic effort to scru­ti­nise Trump, his con­flicts of in­ter­est and his ties to Rus­sia.

The House Over­sight and Re­form Com­mit­tee an­nounced yes­ter­day that Co­hen will tes­tify be­fore that panel on Fe­bru­ary 8 (NZT), a lit­tle more than a month af­ter the Democrats took the House ma­jor­ity.

The hear­ing marks the lat­est step in Co­hen’s trans­for­ma­tion from a trusted le­gal ad­viser to the Pres­i­dent to a pub­lic an­tag­o­nist who has co-op­er­ated ex­ten­sively against him. It is likely to pull back the cur­tain on key episodes in­volv­ing Trump’s per­sonal life and busi­ness deal­ings, in­clud­ing hush-money pay­ments to women and a pro­posed Moscow real es­tate deal, that fed­eral prose­cu­tors have been dis­sect­ing for months.

Co­hen is a piv­otal fig­ure in in­ves­ti­ga­tions by spe­cial coun­sel Robert Mueller into po­ten­tial co­or­di­na­tion be­tween Rus­sia and the Trump cam­paign and by fed­eral prose­cu­tors in New York into cam­paign fi­nance vi­o­la­tions re­lated to pay­ments to buy the si­lence of a porn ac­tress and a for­mer Play­boy Play­mate who say they had sex with Trump. Fed­eral prose­cu­tors have said Trump di­rected those pay­ments dur­ing the cam­paign. Trump has de­nied hav­ing the ex­tra­mar­i­tal af­fairs.

Co­hen has pleaded guilty in both in­ves­ti­ga­tions and was sen­tenced last month to three years in prison.

Ad­viser Lanny Davis said af­ter Co­hen was sen­tenced that the for­mer po­lit­i­cal fixer wanted to tes­tify..

In a state­ment yes­ter­day, Co­hen said: “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.”

Michael Co­hen Robert Mueller

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