Former FBI Director James Comey’s high profile public testimony to Congress might be upstaged after all this time. President Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen has agreed to testify publicly before the House Oversight Committee on February 7, capping off months of gradually more intense disconnection from his former boss. While facing criminal charges including over illegal hush money payments the president personally directed, Cohen has more and more decried Trump as a crook, and so there’s likely to be little holding him back when he appears before Congress.
He says that because of a “commitment to cooperate and provide the American people with answers”:
‘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.’
House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) said that his team is “in the process of consulting with Special Counsel Mueller’s office” in order to not step on the toes of their ongoing criminal investigation into the Russia scandal, which Cohen has been drawn into multiple times.
For instance, among the crimes Cohen recently pleaded guilty to was a lie to Congress that negotiations over a potential Trump Tower Moscow had stopped months before they really had. In reality, the negotiations — which included personal communication with high profile Russian officials — stretched well into the period when Trump clenched the Republican Party’s presidential nomination.
Cohen has also — more salaciously — been accused of cooperating in a secretive effort to directly collude with Russian efforts to tip the 2016 U.S. elections in Trump’s favor. He’s been alleged to have traveled to Europe for secret meetings on the subject, and although he’s previously denied the charges, there have been reports of evidence putting him in the alleged area (Prague) where the meetings took place when they supposedly transpired.
As part of his guilty pleas, Cohen has been cooperating with Special Counsel Robert Mueller, whose team has said he’s provided “useful information concerning certain discrete Russia-related matters core to its investigation.”
What that actually means could become more publicly understood come February 7. He will no doubt be far from the last current or former Trump associate to testify before the newly Democrat-controlled House.