The collective disappointment heard ’round the world when Trump’s former personal attorney and “fixer,” Michael Cohen, announced that he will postpone his testimony in front of Congress due to threats against his family from Trump and Giuliani.
Congress, however, says this isn’t a choice he’ll be making.
Cummings and Schiff: “We understand that Mr. Cohen’s wife and other family members fear for their safety after these attacks… Nevertheless, when our Committees began discussions with Mr. Cohen’s attorney, not appearing before Congress was never an option."
— Sam Stein (@samstein) January 23, 2019
According to some Democratic members of Congress, including House Oversight Committee Chairman Rep. Elijah Cumming and senior member Rep. Stephen Lynch, as well as House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, Cohen’s withdrawal may prompt a subpoena. Cumming said that a “major announcement” regarding the matter would be released later on Wednesday.
Lanny Davis: "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."
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) January 23, 2019
Should Cohen be able to produce proof of threats by the president and his attorney, it would constitute witness tampering, a felony crime. While many believe that Trump’s tweets calling Cohen’s father-in-law a criminal, which could indicate that he’s prompting acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker to investigate him, is the source of Cohen’s assertions, it’s possible that there’s more information that hasn’t yet been made public.
Rep. Stephen Lynch, senior member of House Oversight, says of Cohen backing out of Feb hearing: “The overwhelming consensus is that we should move forward with a subpoena.”
— Mike Memoli (@mikememoli) January 23, 2019
At this point, it is still possible that Special Counsel Robert Mueller may insist that Cohen’s testimony not be made public while he continues to cooperate in the ongoing investigation into Russian collusion. That wouldn’t save Cohen from testifying, but it may save him from doing so in public.
Asked about Cohen's decision to postpone his testimony, and if he will compel Cohen to come testify, Chairman Cummings says that “we will release a major statement later today.” – @AlexNBCNews
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) January 23, 2019
Ahead of Cummings’ announcement, there’s no way to tell whether or not we’ll ever get to hear Cohen’s testimony in front of the Senate. Regardless, nothing he’s had to say thus far, whether in private or in public, has boded well for the president.
Cohen is delaying his testimony due to threats from Trump and Giuliani.
Here is 18 U.S.C. § 1512:
"Whoever knowingly uses intimidation, threatens … or attempts to do so … with intent to … influence, delay, or prevent the testimony of any person" is guilty of a felony. https://t.co/e6T7A67dct
— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) January 23, 2019
Featured image screenshot via YouTube