Cohen, ex-Trump lawyer, to testify publicly before Congress

Michael Cohen President Donald Trump's former lawyer leaves federal court after his sentencing in New York Wednesday Dec. 12 2018

Michael Cohen President Donald Trump's former lawyer leaves federal court after his sentencing in New York Wednesday Dec. 12 2018

President Trump's former lawyer Michael Cohen will testify publicly in front of the House Oversight Committee on February 7, the committee announced Thursday.

He is a pivotal figure in investigations by special counsel Robert Mueller into potential coordination between Russian Federation and the Trump campaign, and by federal prosecutors in NY into campaign finance violations related to hush-money payments to two women who say they had sex with Mr Trump.

Cohen said he will "give a full and credible account of the events that have transpired".

Trump's attorney Rudy Giuliani described Cohen to Fox News as "a thoroughly discredited liar", and said he could not imagine why Cummings would want to hear from Cohen.

Cohen told Stephanopoulos that Trump directed him to arrange the payments to Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal because then-candidate Trump "was very concerned about how this would affect the election" if their allegations of affairs became public before voters cast their ballots. Cohen lied to federal prosecutors about the timing of his discussions with Russian officials.

Cohen said in a statement he had accepted an invitation to testify from Representative Elijah Cummings, the Democratic chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

President Donald Trump speaks to the media after signing Anti-Human Trafficking Legislation in the Oval Office on January 9, 2019 in Washington.

When asked by a reporter about Cohen's upcoming testimony during his visit to the southern border on Thursday, Trump said he isn't concerned.

It's unclear whether Cohen's testimony contains evidence that could lead to the impeachment of the United States president, but given the fact that Trump's casually-tweeted comments (such as criticisms of the Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell) have been correlated with major turbulence in the stock markets, the last thing the economy needs at the moment is another wild card.

Cummings has signaled that his committee is more interested in investigating the president's involvement in the campaign violations to which Cohen pleaded guilty previous year. Trump has denied having the extramarital affairs.

The House Intelligence Committee has been seeking a closed-door session with Cohen to discuss Russia-related matters. In the plea, Cohen said: "I made these misstatements to be consistent with Individual 1's political messaging and out of loyalty to Individual 1".

Federal prosecutors in the Southern District of NY have implicated, but not charged, the president in the deals reached in the closing weeks of the 2016 election, alleging in court filings that Cohen acted "in coordination with and at the direction of" Trump.

Cohen has testified behind close doors to both the Senate and the House previously, some of which led to his conviction on lying to Congress. On the House Intelligence Committee, for instance, Chairman Adam Schiff of California has said he will issue a subpoena if necessary to obtain Donald Trump Jr.'s phone records to find out who Trump's son called when Trump Jr. called a number blocked in phone records while setting up the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting.

He promised to continue to cooperate with the special counsel's investigation of Trump's campaign.

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