Michael Cohen agrees to testify next week, paving the way for a high stakes hearing


The public hearing is one of three sessions that Mr. Cohen will hold next week at Capitol Hill. He is also expected to participate in private testimony meetings with the House and Senate Intelligence Committees, where he is likely to put pressure on issues related to Russia and other potential attempts by foreign powers. 39, influence Mr. Trump. In November, Mr. Cohen pleaded guilty to lying to both intelligence committees about the Trump Organization's proposal to build a skyscraper in Moscow.

Prior to that, in August, Mr. Cohen pleaded guilty in federal court in Manhattan for tax evasion, misrepresentation to a bank and violation of campaign financing. He testified in court at the time that the last violation was due to the payments he made at the request of Mr. Trump during the 2016 campaign, to prevent them from speaking publicly about the cases they had said. to have with Mr. Trump.

Mr. Cohen was scheduled to appear early next month to begin serving a three-year jail sentence, but on Wednesday a federal judge in Manhattan said he could postpone that two-month appearance to 6 may. Mr. Cohen's lawyers stated that he had recently undergone a shoulder operation and was scheduled to participate in physical therapy.

If the Democrats hope that Mr. Cohen's testimony will hurt Mr. Trump's image, the Republicans have laid the groundwork to try to undermine Mr. Cohen's credibility first. In a letter to Cummings on Tuesday, the top Republicans of the watchdog committee described Cohen as a "serious serial liar" and accused the Democrats of organizing a political broadcast.

"When Cohen appears before our committee, we can only assume that he will pursue his pattern of deception and perjury," wrote Republicans, representatives Jim Jordan of Ohio and Mark Meadows of Carolina. North. "Although Cohen falsely attributes his crimes to" blind loyalty to Donald Trump, "a federal judge rightly noted that Cohen's crimes were all motivated by his personal greed and ambition."

Mr. Trump himself has repeatedly suggested that Mr. Cohen had lied to prosecutors about him in order to reduce his own prison sentence. Mr. Trump's lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, abruptly changed his own assessment of Mr. Cohen's honesty after he pleaded guilty and began speaking to the prosecutors.

That's another comment from Mr. Trump – who, in an interview with Fox News in January, had mysteriously called for an investigation into Mr. Cohen's father-in-law – which had pushed Mr. Cohen to postpone the surveillance hearing originally scheduled for February. . 7.

The Democrats seized the threats, saying that Cohen had been "intimidated" by the president for testifying before Congress – an action that could be interpreted as a crime. Mr. Trump denied having done so.


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