Former Trump lawyer says he accepted invitation from top Democrat and will offer ‘full and credible account of events’
Ben Jacobs in Washington and agencies
Donald Trump’s longtime lawyer and aide Michael Cohen says he has accepted an invitation from a top House Democrat to testify publicly before Congress next month.
His testimony before the House oversight and reform committee on 7 February will be the first major public oversight hearing for Democrats, who have promised greater scrutiny of Trump after winning control of the House in the 2018 midterm elections.
Cohen said in a statement: “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.”
The New Yorker, who is to begin a three-year prison sentence in March, is a pivotal figure in investigations by the special counsel Robert Mueller into potential collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign, and by federal prosecutors in New York into campaign finance violations related to hush-money payments to two women who say they had sex with Trump.
Elijah Cummings, the committee’s chair, said the panel would avoid interfering with Mueller’s investigation. “We have no interest in inappropriately interfering with any ongoing criminal investigations, and to that end, we are in the process of consulting with Special Counsel Mueller’s office,” Cummings said in a statement.
Cohen’s 2017 congressional testimony before the Senate and House intelligence committees led to a guilty plea in November 2018 for lying under oath about Trump’s business dealings in Russia. In the plea, Cohen said: “I made these misstatements to be consistent with Individual 1’s political messaging and out of loyalty to Individual 1.”
Individual 1 was a reference to Trump. Cohen also pleaded guilty in August 2018 to several counts of fraud and campaign finance violations.
When asked about Cohen’s testimony on Thursday, Trump said: “I’m not worried.” Trump has previously attacked Cohen as “a rat” and “a liar” on Twitter.