Dem lawmaker references witness tampering after Cohen postpones testimony

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

Rep. Ted LieuTed W. LieuLawmakers urge DNC to name Asian American debate moderator Cities are the future: We need to coordinate their international diplomacy George Conway opposes #unfollowTrump movement MORE (D-Calif.) on Wednesday suggested President TrumpDonald John TrumpSarah Huckabee Sanders becomes Fox News contributor The US-Iranian scuffle over a ship is a sideshow to events in the Gulf South Korea: US, North Korea to resume nuclear talks 'soon' 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 CummingsNikki Haley voices 'complete support' for Pence House committee heads demand Coast Guard Academy explain handling of harassment allegations Can the Democrats unseat Trump? 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.