GOP lawmaker appears to threaten Cohen on eve of public hearing

Rep. Matt GaetzMatthew (Matt) GaetzGOP, Democrats battle over masks in House, Senate Tempers flare as some in GOP ignore new House mask mandate Five takeaways from a bracing day of Jan. 6 testimony MORE (R-Fla.) on Tuesday asked if President TrumpDonald TrumpFormer New York state Senate candidate charged in riot Trump called acting attorney general almost daily to push election voter fraud claim: report GOP senator clashes with radio caller who wants identity of cop who shot Babbitt MORE's former personal attorney Michael CohenMichael Dean CohenMichael Wolff and the art of monetizing gossip Why the Trump Organization indictment may be far less consequential than the media think Michael Cohen: Weisselberg indictment 'the tip of the iceberg' MORE’s wife knew about Cohen's infidelity.

The Trump loyalist directed the tweet at the president’s former personal attorney the day before Cohen is scheduled to testify publicly before the House Oversight and Reform Committee.

The Florida Republican also questioned whether Cohen's wife would stay faithful while Cohen is in prison.

“Hey @MichaelCohen212 - Do your wife & father-in-law know about your girlfriends?” the lawmaker tweeted. “Maybe tonight would be a good time for that chat. I wonder if she’ll remain faithful when you’re in prison.  She’s about to learn a lot…”

Cohen was sentenced late last year to serve three years in prison after he pleaded guilty to campaign finance law violations, bank fraud, tax fraud and lying to Congress about the timing of negotiations for a Trump Tower in Moscow. 


The Wall Street Journal reported in December that "prosecutors had evidence that also implicated Mr. Cohen’s wife in potential criminal activity, according to people familiar with the matter. His wife was never charged."

The president in December brought up Cohen’s wife in tweets accusing Cohen of lying to get a better sentence. 

“You mean he can do all of the TERRIBLE, unrelated to Trump, things having to do with fraud, big loans, Taxis, etc., and not serve a long prison term? He makes up stories to get a GREAT & ALREADY reduced deal for himself, and get...

"...his wife and father-in-law (who has the money?) off Scott Free,” the president tweeted. “He lied for this outcome and should, in my opinion, serve a full and complete sentence.”

Cohen attorney Lanny Davis said in a statement that Gaetz's "constituents will not appreciate that their congressman has set a new low" with the remarks.

"We will not respond to Mr. Gaetz’s despicable lies and personal smears, except to say we trust that his colleagues in the House, both Republicans and Democrats, will repudiate his words and his conduct," Davis said.

Cohen said in July that he had made a “declaration of independence” from Trump.

“My wife, my daughter and my son have my first loyalty and always will,” Cohen said at the time. “I put family and country first.”

Trump has decried his former employee as a “rat” and a “weak person.”

Cohen on Tuesday spoke privately with the Senate Intelligence Committee ahead of his public testimony on Wednesday, which coincides with the president's first day of meetings in Vietnam with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

The president’s former attorney and "fixer" will reportedly testify that Trump has a history of making racist comments and inflating or delating his net worth for business purposes such as avoiding taxes. 

Trump has tweeted several times about Cohen’s father-in-law, Fima Shusterman, leading up to Cohen's testimony. 

"Watch father-in-law!" Trump wrote last month. 

Democrats and Cohen's attorney have suggested Trump is trying to intimidate Cohen by suggesting investigators should look at alleged illegal activity by Cohen's father-in-law.

Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal attorney, said the president is “defending himself” by pointing fingers at Cohen’s family.  

"If the father-in-law is a criminal in the Southern District of New York," Giuliani said last month. "He may have ties to something called organized crime."

Shusterman in 1993 pleaded guilty to federal income tax fraud relating to his taxicab business in New York, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

Cohen got involved in the taxicab industry through Shusterman, according to The New York Times.

—Updated at 6:28 p.m.