Cohen to testify to House Intel behind closed doors

Cohen to testify to House Intel behind closed doors
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President TrumpDonald John TrumpWHCA calls on Trump to denounce video depicting him shooting media outlets Video of fake Trump shooting members of media shown at his Miami resort: report Trump hits Fox News's Chris Wallace over Ukraine coverage MORE's former personal attorney Michael Cohen has agreed to testify before the House Intelligence Committee behind closed doors in February, according to Chairman Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffTrump hits Fox News's Chris Wallace over Ukraine coverage Schiff: Whistleblower testimony might not be necessary A Republican Watergate veteran's perspective on a Trump impeachment MORE (D-Calif.).

Schiff announced Monday evening that Cohen, who has been cooperating in special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerFox News legal analyst says Trump call with Ukraine leader could be 'more serious' than what Mueller 'dragged up' Lewandowski says Mueller report was 'very clear' in proving 'there was no obstruction,' despite having 'never' read it Fox's Cavuto roasts Trump over criticism of network MORE’s Russia investigation, would appear for "closed testimony" before the committee on Feb. 8.

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Schiff has signaled an interest in bringing Cohen back before the committee as part of its own investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and potential coordination between the Trump campaign and Moscow.

The GOP-led panel shuttered its probe last year, but Schiff is reviving it now that Democrats have the majority in the lower chamber. 

The news comes days after Cohen postponed scheduled testimony before the House Oversight and Reform Committee, citing “ongoing threats” from Trump and his personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani. Trump had suggested in an earlier interview with Fox News that Cohen should “should give information maybe on his father-in-law, because that’s the one that people want to look at.” 

Some Democrats suggested the comments could amount to witness intimidation and warned Trump against interfering with congressional probes. 

"Mr. Cohen has relayed to the committee his legitimate concerns for his own safety as well as that of his family, which have been fueled by improper comments made by the President and his lawyer,” Schiff said in a statement Monday. 

“As I've previously stated with my colleagues, chairmen Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsCracks emerge in White House strategy as witness testifies Overnight Defense: Pentagon insists US hasn't abandoned Kurds | Trump expands sanctions authority against Turkey | Ex-Ukraine ambassador says Trump pushed for her ouster On The Money: Trump announces limited trade deal with China | Appeals court rules against Trump over financial records | Trump expands authority to sanction Turkey MORE and Jerrold Nadler, efforts to intimidate witnesses, scare their family members, or prevent them from testifying before Congress are tactics we expect from organized crime, not the White House,” Schiff said. 

Cohen has also been subpoenaed to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee next month as part of its own Russia investigation. His legal counsel and spokesman Lanny Davis said he would comply with the subpoena. (Davis is an opinion contributor for The Hill.)

Cohen attracted massive attention since last August, when he pleaded guilty to campaign finance violations stemming from a scheme to pay off women alleging affairs with Trump before the 2016 election. Cohen also implicated the president in the pay offs; Trump has denied wrongdoing and described his former attorney as a liar.

Separately, Cohen also pleaded guilty to lying to the House and Senate intelligence committees in 2017 about plans to build a Trump property in Moscow in connection with Mueller’s investigation. Cohen agreed to cooperate in the probe and Mueller has indicated he offered valuable information about his contacts with the White House and knowledge of matters within the Trump Organization.

Cohen has been sentenced to three years in federal prison for his crimes and is expected to report to jail in March.

Updated at 5:40 p.m.