After Delay, Michael Cohen To Testify On Capitol Hill Next Week
Updated at 9:20 p.m. ET
President Trump's former lawyer and fixer, Michael Cohen, is set to appear on Capitol Hill next week to give highly anticipated testimony before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
The hearing was originally scheduled for earlier in the month but was delayed after Cohen cited "threats" from the president and attorney Rudy Giuliani.
"I am pleased to announce that Michael Cohen's public testimony before the oversight committee is back on, despite efforts by some to intimidate his family members and prevent him from appearing," said Chairman Elijah Cummings, D-Md., in a statement on Wednesday.
Trump and Giuliani last month suggested Cohen's father-in-law should be investigated for alleged but unspecified crimes; the president and his lawyer suggested that Cohen had made up stories about Trump in order to prevent being entangled in a separate potential case.
"He's afraid to testify against his father-in-law because the repercussions for that will be far worse than the repercussions for lying here," Giuliani told CNN.
Trump responded to criticism that Cohen was being threatened by arguing that his former lawyer "has been threatened by the truth."
After testifying publicly on Capitol Hill next Wednesday, Feb. 27, Cohen is then scheduled appear in a closed session before the House intelligence committee the next day.
The public hearing will not involve questions about Russian interference in the 2016 election, Cummings said. Cohen is expected to be questioned by the oversight committee about payments before Election Day in 2016 to buy the silence of women who allege they had sexual relationships with Trump.
Trump has acknowledged a payment to one of the women but denied the allegations about a sexual relationship. He also has said he did nothing wrong and that Cohen has pleaded guilty to actions that aren't actually against the law.
Cohen was sentenced to three years in prison after pleading guilty to financial and campaign finance crimes related to those payments. He also later pleaded guilty to lying to Congress about how long negotiations lasted with Russians to build a Trump Tower in Moscow.
Separately on Wednesday, Cohen's attorneys announced a delay in the start of his prison term to May 6.
"Mr. Cohen underwent serious shoulder surgery and this extra time allows Mr. Cohen to continue his physical therapy," a statement said. "In addition, he will be able to prepare for the expected testimony next week before congressional committees, which he welcomes."
In announcing Cohen's testimony, Cummings said the oversight committee would ask Trump's former lawyer to "describe his concerns about the president's actions since assuming office."
Cummings also pressed the White House and the Trump Organization for documents related to the president's finances, and said he plans for the committee to investigate dozens of aspects of the administration.
Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.