Oversight Committee reschedules public Cohen testimony for next Wednesday

The House Oversight Committee has rescheduled former Trump attorney Michael Cohen’s public testimony for next Wednesday, the panel’s Democratic chairman announced.

“I am pleased to announce that Michael Cohen’s public testimony before the Oversight Committee is back on, despite efforts by some to intimidate his family members and prevent him from appearing,” Chairman Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsHouse Dems renew push for government contractor back pay Cummings demands ex-Fox News reporter share information on Stormy Daniels payments The Hill's Morning Report — Trump readies first veto after latest clash with Senate GOP MORE (D-Md.) said in a brief statement Wednesday evening. 

“Congress has an obligation under the Constitution to conduct independent and robust oversight of the Executive Branch, and this hearing is one step in that process,” Cummings said.

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Cohen was initially scheduled to appear publicly before the committee in early February, however he abruptly postponed that testimony, citing threats from President TrumpDonald John TrumpWarren: 'White supremacists pose a threat to the United States like any other terrorist group' National Enquirer paid 0,000 for Bezos texts: report Santorum: Trump should 'send emails to a therapist' instead of tweeting MORE and Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani. The postponement came after the president suggested in an interview with Fox News that he had knowledge of damaging information on Cohen’s father-in-law.

Cohen’s testimony before the Oversight Committee is expected to be limited; the committee said it would not include questions related to the House Intelligence Committee’s investigation into Russian election interference. Cohen is testifying behind closed doors on the matter the following day.

A memo released by Cummings along with Wednesday’s announcement states that the hearing will cover Trump’s debts and payments related to efforts to influence the 2016 election; his compliance with financial disclosure requirements, campaign finance laws and tax laws; the president’s conflicts of interest; his business practice; the “accuracy” of Trump’s public statements; and public efforts by the president to “intimate” Cohen and others not to testify. 

The memo says that the committee consulted with the Department of Justice in deciding the scope of the public hearing. 

Cohen has attracted massive attention since summer 2018 when he pled guilty to several federal charges, including campaign finance violations stemming from a scheme to pay off women who alleged affairs with Trump before the 2016 election. Cohen has implicated Trump in the effort, however the president has denied wrongdoing and described his one-time confidant and “fixer” as a liar.

Last November, Cohen also pled guilty to lying to Congress about discussions within the Trump Organization to build a property in Moscow in connection with special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE’s ongoing investigation. As part of his plea deal, Cohen agreed to cooperate in the probe. 

Cohen has been sentenced to three years in federal prison and is expected to testify before three congressional committees before he reports to jail.

On Wednesday, a federal judge in Manhattan granted his request to postpone the date he is scheduled to report to prison by 60 days, in order to accommodate his physical therapy following a recent shoulder surgery, as well as preparations for the congressional testimony. Cohen is now expected to report to prison on May 6. 

Cohen is scheduled to appear before the Oversight Committee on Feb. 27 at 10 a.m.