TAK­ING A STAND AT THE BOR­DER

The Sun Herald - - Front Page - BY MAG­GIE HABER­MAN AND NI­CHOLAS FANDOS

In Texas, Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump in­vited lo­cals to help him make the case for a wall.

WASH­ING­TON

Michael Co­hen, 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, has agreed to tes­tify be­fore the House Over­sight 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 Feb. 7 sets the stage for a block­buster pub­lic hear­ing that threat­ens to fur­ther dam­age the pres­i­dent’s im­age and could clar­ify the depth of his le­gal woes. Co­hen, a con­sigliere to Trump when he was a real es­tate developer and pres­i­den­tial can­di­date as well as in­for­mally as pres­i­dent, was privy to the machi­na­tions of Trump’s in­ner cir­cle and key mo­ments un­der scru­tiny by both spe­cial coun­sel Robert Mueller and fed­eral prose­cu­tors in New York.

He could soon share them on na­tional tele­vi­sion un­der oath.

“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,” 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.”

Co­hen pleaded guilty in fed­eral court in Man­hat­tan in Au­gust 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 Trump years ear­lier.

Since then, Co­hen has spent more than 70 hours with fed­eral prose­cu­tors in Man­hat­tan as well as with Mueller, who is in­ves­ti­gat­ing Rus­sian ef­forts to in­flu­ence the 2016 elec­tion and Trump’s cam­paign. In Novem­ber, Co­hen pleaded guilty to an ad­di­tional charge – ly­ing to Con­gress about how long ne­go­ti­a­tions for a Trump Tower project in Moscow went on in 2016.

It was un­clear if Co­hen’s agree­ment to tes­tify be­fore the Over­sight Com­mit­tee will pre­clude ap­pear­ances, in pub­lic or pri­vate, be­fore other House pan­els.

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