Schiff says some Trump al­lies mis­led Congress

Has list of those who didn’t tell truth about Rus­sia

The Washington Times Weekly - - Politics - BY STEPHEN DI­NAN

Get ready for a flurry of de­mands for more peo­ple to be charged with ly­ing to Congress.

Now that Michael Co­hen has en­tered a guilty plea for mis­lead­ing law­mak­ers over the Trump-Rus­sia in­ves­ti­ga­tion, plenty of other tar­gets could face the same thing.

The Demo­crat likely to be­come chair­man of the House in­tel­li­gence com­mit­tee next year, Rep. Adam Schiff, said he has a list of other as­so­ciates of Pres­i­dent Trump he says mis­led the panel dur­ing the last two years about the same Rus­sia mat­ters. But tar­gets go well be­yond Mr. Trump. Sen. Chuck Grass­ley, Iowa Re­pub­li­can, pointed to the three peo­ple he has asked the FBI to in­ves­ti­gate for mak­ing up sala­cious and un­sub­stan­ti­ated ac­counts of rape at the hands of Jus­tice Brett M. Ka­vanaugh. Among them was anti-Trump lawyer Michael Ave­natti.

“We had sev­eral peo­ple lie to Congress dur­ing the Ka­vanaugh hear­ing and we have sug­gested them for prose­cu­tion be­cause when Congress seeks in­for­ma­tion from the pub­lic they ought to know that it is ac­cu­rate,” Mr. Grass­ley told re­porters Thurs­day.

In Co­hen’s case, he said in writ­ten re­sponses to Congress last year that he stopped ne­go­ti­at­ing a busi­ness deal to build a Trump Tower in Rus­sia once the GOP pri­maries be­gan dur­ing the 2016 cam­paign. In fact, he now says, he con­tin­ued those con­ver­sa­tions un­til at least June 2016, or well into the heart of the cam­paign, and a time when Rus­sian op­er­a­tives were at work try­ing to med­dle in the elec­tion.

Mr. Schiff said he’s con­vinced other Trump fig­ures “were also un­truth­ful” when they tes­ti­fied to Congress about their deal­ings with Rus­sia. Law­mak­ers said it’s pos­si­ble Co­hen and oth­ers get called back to pro­vide more in­for­ma­tion.

The Co­hen plea marked an­other feather in the cap of spe­cial coun­sel Robert Mueller, who is lead­ing an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into Rus­sia’s ac­tiv­i­ties and Trump as­so­ciates’ be­hav­ior dur­ing the cam­paign.

But it didn’t sit well with some crit­ics such as Ja­son Chaf­fetz, a for­mer Re­pub­li­can chair­man of the House Over­sight and Gov­ern­ment Re­form Com­mit­tee, who sensed a dou­ble stan­dard in Mr. Mueller’s prose­cu­tion.

He said for­mer Sec­re­tary of State Hil­lary Clin­ton lied to Congress about her se­cret emails, and he for­mally re­quested the Jus­tice De­part­ment in­ves­ti­gate her.

“Noth­ing was done,” Mr. Chaf­fetz tweeted.

Last year, Democrats were de­mand­ing then-At­tor­ney Gen­eral Jeff Ses­sions be pros­e­cuted for ly­ing to Congress after he omit­ted in­for­ma­tion about meet­ings with the Rus­sian am­bas­sador dur­ing his con­fir­ma­tion process.

Some Re­pub­li­cans had wanted to pros­e­cute for­mer Di­rec­tor of Na­tional In­tel­li­gence James Clap­per for ly­ing after he de­nied in open tes­ti­mony in 2013 that the gov­ern­ment was scoop­ing up Amer­i­cans’ in­for­ma­tion. Just months later, leaks by Ed­ward Snow­den showed the gov­ern­ment was, in fact, scoop­ing Amer­i­cans’ phone meta­data.

Pros­e­cu­tions for ly­ing to Congress, out­lawed un­der Ti­tle 18, Sec­tion 1001 of the U.S. Code, turn out to be rare. In the 60 years up to 2007, just a half-dozen peo­ple were con­victed, ac­cord­ing to a 2006 ar­ti­cle in Quin­nip­iac Law Re­view.

Some high-pro­file cases have been brought since then, in­clud­ing base­ball play­ers Miguel Te­jada and Roger Cle­mens, both of whom were charged with ly­ing after they tes­ti­fied they didn’t use per­for­mance-en­hanc­ing drugs.

Mr. Te­jada pleaded to a lesser mis­de­meanor of with­hold­ing in­for­ma­tion from Congress, while Mr. Cle­mens was ac­quit­ted at trial.

Ear­lier this year au­thor­i­ties un­sealed an in­dict­ment against Ke­mal Ok­suz, a Turk­ish-Amer­i­can busi­ness­man ac­cused of ly­ing to Congress over fi­nanc­ing for a 2013 trip taken by mem­bers of Congress.

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Rep. Adam Schiff said he’s con­vinced some Trump fig­ures tes­ti­fied un­truth­fully.

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