White House

Michael Cohen to Testify Publicly before Congress

Michael Cohen exits Federal Court in Manhattan, November 29, 2018. (Andrew Kelly/Reuters)

Michael Cohen, President Trump’s former personal attorney, has agreed to testify publicly before the House Oversight Committee next month and provide “a full and credible account” of his work for then-candidate Trump.

“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 released Thursday. “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.”

In August, Cohen pled guilty in federal court in Manhattan to bank fraud and a campaign-finance violation stemming from his payment of hush money to a woman threatening to disclose her sexual relationship with Trump. As part of that plea, Cohen admitted that he made the payments at the direction of then-candidate Trump in order to influence the election. Cohen’s attorney, Lanny Davis, then released a secret recording of a phone conversation Cohen had with Trump about the hush-money payment.

Cohen also pled guilty in November to an additional charge of lying to Congress after emails revealed that he falsely testified that discussions about the construction of a Trump Tower in Moscow concluded in early 2016, when they actually continued for a number of months thereafter.

Since entering his plea, Cohen has cooperated extensively with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigators, submitting to more than 70 hours of questioning. In exchange for that cooperation, for which he was labeled a “weak person” by the president, Mueller’s prosecutors recommended leniency in his sentencing. Federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York, however, argued that Cohen had not been totally forthcoming and recommended he serve four to five years in prison. He was ultimately sentenced to three years in prison in December.

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