Dem lawmaker references witness tampering after Cohen postpones testimony

Dem lawmaker references witness tampering after Cohen postpones testimony
© Greg Nash

Rep. Ted LieuTed W. LieuDemocratic lawmaker dismisses GOP lawsuit threat: 'Take your letter and shove it' Democratic lawmaker says Nunes threatened to sue him over criticism Paralysis of nations is empowering cities MORE (D-Calif.) on Wednesday suggested President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump says his advice to impeachment defense team is 'just be honest' Trump expands tariffs on steel and aluminum imports CNN's Axelrod says impeachment didn't come up until 80 minutes into focus group MORE may have engaged in witness tampering after former lawyer Michael Cohen postponed his congressional testimony due to “ongoing threats against his family.”

“Cohen is delaying his testimony due to threats from Trump and Giuliani,” Lieu said on Twitter, referring to one of the president's attorneys, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R).

He then cited a federal statute regarding witness tampering.

“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.”

Cohen’s attorney, Lanny Davis, announced earlier on Wednesday that Cohen would delay his scheduled appearance before the House Oversight and Reform Committee because of threats his family has received from Trump and Giuliani. The testimony had been set to take place Feb. 7.

“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,” Davis said in a statement. “This is a time where Mr. Cohen had to put his family and their safety first.”

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Cohen was sentenced late last year to three years in prison after he pleaded guilty to several federal charges, including bank and tax fraud and campaign finance violations. He also pleaded guilty to lying to Congress about the timing of negotiations surrounding a Trump Tower development in Moscow.

Cohen said last year in his guilty plea that Trump directed him to commit the campaign finance violations.

Democrats have the authority to subpoena Cohen. Committee Chairman Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsBaltimore unveils plaques for courthouse to be named after Elijah Cummings GOP leaders encourage retiring lawmakers to give up committee posts Pelosi taps Virginia Democrat for key post on economic panel MORE (D-Md.) has declined to comment on that possibility.

Trump has repeatedly criticized Cohen since his former "fixer" agreed to cooperate with investigators last year. He said earlier this month that Cohen had agreed to give congressional testimony in February in order "to get his sentence reduced."

Responding to Davis’s statement on Wednesday, Trump said Cohen has “only been threatened by the truth."

"He doesn’t want to tell the truth for me or other of his clients," the president said while speaking to reporters in the Roosevelt Room of the White House.