Four Things To Expect From Michael Cohen’s Congressional Testimony About Trump
Over the next three days, Michael Cohen will be providing testimony before congressional committees about his history with President Trump. His testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday and the House Intelligence Committee on Thursday will be closed to the public, but his appearance on Wednesday before the House Oversight Committee will be open and televised. According to previous disclosures and reports, here’s what to expect:
Cohen will claim Trump broke the law while president:
The most striking allegation Cohen is reportedly prepared to make is that he was reimbursed for his payments to porn star Stormy Daniels in 2017 - after Trump was inaugurated. Cohen’s guilty plea agreement last year stated that the payments to Daniels - which violated campaign finance laws - were made at Trump’s direction.
A person with knowledge of his plans told The New York Times that Cohen plans to reveal documents to back up his claims, including financial statements. Cohen will claim that part of his retainer agreement with Trump included a reimbursement for his payment to Daniels.
Another Russia issue for Trump?
Although Cohen was interviewed by the office of special counsel Robert Mueller - which referred what they found to federal prosecutors - Cohen himself has never been accused of facilitating foreign interference in the 2016 election. However, House Oversight Committee chairman Elijah Cummings revealed in a public memo to congressional colleagues that one of the many topics to be covered by the hearing includes “the President’s debts and payments relating to efforts to influence the 2016 election.”
Members of Congress are expected to ask why Cohen lied in a previous testimony about how long into 2016 discussions about a Trump Tower project in Moscow.
Prepare for Cohen to spill some tea:
In addition, according to both NBC and CNN, Cohen will also share details of Trump’s business practices, including while he was running for president. His testimony will reportedly also include accounts of Trump’s alleged racism, lying and illicit business practices.
Cohen will have to overcome some skepticism:
Republicans have made hay of the fact that Cohen pleaded guilty last year to lying to Congress, calling into question the veracity of his testimony this time. White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders pointed out to NBC that Cohen has already admitted lying to Congress before. “It’s laughable that anyone would take a convicted liar like Cohen at his word, and pathetic to see him given yet another opportunity to spread his lies,” she said.
Cohen’s lawyer, Lanny Davis, told the Times that his client would respond to such concerns by saying, “I take full responsibility, I lied in the past; now you have to decide if I’m telling the truth.”