Monday, January 28, 2019
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump's former lawyer, Michael Cohen, has agreed to talk to the House Intelligence Committee on Feb. 8, opting for closed-door testimony after pulling out of a separate public hearing due to security issues.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff said today Cohen will be appearing voluntarily and the panel will work with law enforcement to make sure he is safe. Cohen last week postponed testimony he was supposed to give the House Oversight and Reform Committee, blaming threats from Trump and the president's attorney-spokesman, Rudy Giuliani.
Cohen has not detailed the threats, nor has his lawyer. But Trump and Giuliani have publicly urged the Justice Department to investigate Cohen's father-in-law, insinuating he was part of some unspecific criminal activity. Trump, for example, told Fox News this month that Cohen "should give information maybe on his father-in-law, because that's the one that people want to look at."
Trump's fixer-turned-foe is a central figure in special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into possible coordination between Russia and Trump's campaign. Cohen also played a pivotal role in buying the silence of a porn actress and a former Playboy Playmate who both alleged they had sex with Trump. The president has denied their claims.
Cohen pleaded guilty last year to campaign finance violations and other offenses connected to the payments, and he is scheduled to begin serving a three-year prison sentence in March. Federal prosecutors have said Trump directed Cohen to make the payments during the campaign.
Schiff, D-Calif., said Cohen had relayed "legitimate concerns" about his safety and the safety of his family.