Michael Cohen pulls out of testifying before Congress, may face subpoena compelling his appearance
The three stages of Michael Cohen testifying before Congress have proven to be excitement, disappointment, and resentment. Less than two weeks ago, Donald Trump’s longtime personal attorney agreed to testify in public before the House Oversight Committee, generating great excitement that some of the details of Trump’s Moscow Project, Trump’s payoffs over his multiple affairs, and Trump’s general business sleaze would come to light. But least week, after Trump made multiple tweets concerning Cohen’s father-in-law, it became clear that Cohen was getting cold feet. Earlier this week, it was reported that anything that would bump into the Mueller investigation was off limits for Cohen’s congressional testimony—which was pretty much everything. Still, even last night, both House Oversight Committee chairman Elijah Cummings and House Intelligence chair Adam Schiff were still trying to work out with Cohen and his attorneys just what questions could be asked.
It turns out, the answer is none. Because on Wednesday afternoon, Cohen decided he would not be appearing. At all.
Cohen’s representative Lanny Davis cited Trump’s threats to Cohen’s family, and other concerns about security, as the primary reason for postponing Cohen’s appearance.
Davis: Mr. Cohen volunteered to testify before the House Oversight Committee on February seventh. Due to ongoing threats against his family from President Trump and Mr. Giuliani, as recently as this weekend, as well as Mr. Cohen’s continued cooperation with ongoing investigations, by advice of counsel, Mr. Cohen’s appearance will be postponed to a later date.
But postponing Cohen’s appearance may mean postponing it a long time—as in a minimum of three years. Less that a month from the date of his scheduled appearance, Cohen is slated to begin serving his sentence for charges to which he already pled guilty. Whether he could return from prison for congressional testimony is unclear.
That is one reason why some lawmakers are calling for a subpoena to require Cohen’s appearance. Rep. Stephen Lynch, a member of the House Oversight Committee, has stated that there is an “overwhelming consensus” to issue a subpoena to Cohen.
House Oversight Chairman Cummings says he will be making a major announcement re Cohen testimony this afternoon. Would not answer me if he would compel Cohen to come testify said to watch for announcement.
— Alex Moe (@AlexNBCNews) January 23, 2019