Senate investigators postpone interview with Trump's lawyer

Senate investigators postpone interview with Trump's lawyer
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The Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday postponed a hotly anticipated interview with President Trump's personal lawyer, Michael Cohen.

The leaders of the committee said they were calling off the session because Cohen ignored their request that he avoid speaking with the press about his testimony. 

“We were disappointed that Mr. Cohen decided to pre-empt today’s interview by releasing a public statement prior to his engagement with Committee staff, in spite of the Committee’s requests that he refrain from public comment," Chairman Richard BurrRichard Mauze BurrSessions argued presidents can obstruct justice in Clinton impeachment trial Trump Jr. to meet with Senate panel amid Russia probe Trump’s Russian winter grows colder with Flynn plea deal MORE (R-N.C.) and Vice Chairman Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerSenate panel moves forward with bill to roll back Dodd-Frank Comey back in the spotlight after Flynn makes a deal Warner: Every week another shoe drops in Russia investigation MORE (D-Va.) said in a statement. 

"As a result, we declined to move forward with today’s interview."

The committee will seek to reschedule Cohen's appearance in an open setting "in the near future," they said. Tuesday's original interview, with staff, was slated to be behind closed doors. 

Cohen on Tuesday morning released a statement and some associated documents on his website. The documents included a blanket denial of any collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. 

Steve Ryan, an attorney for Cohen, told reporters that the statement was "factual," "accurate" and "respectful" and that Cohen stands behind it. 

"Last week, the fact that we would be here today and you would be visiting to us was leaked to the press," Ryan said, referring to press reports revealing the closed-door testimony.  

"So everyone knew that we would be here today. Accordingly, we provided the short four-page opening statement that Mr Cohen intended deliver to the press at 10 o'clock this morning."

The Intelligence Committee has struggled to keep secret its investigation into Russian meddling in the presidential election, with press reports revealing testimony from witnesses scheduled to appear in private session.

Cohen had already been inside the committee's closed staff spaces for close to two hours when he emerged to announce the postponement of the interview. He arrived at the committee's offices shortly after 9 a.m. 

He did not answer shouted questions about what he was doing in the committee space for close to two hours.

Ryan said that Cohen will return for a voluntary interview "whenever we can to meet with them."

This story was updated at 12:37 p.m.