House

Republicans call for ex-Trump lawyer Cohen to be referred to DOJ

Greg Nash

House Republicans are demanding that a transcript of former Trump personal attorney Michael Cohen’s testimony before lawmakers be sent to the Department of Justice (DOJ) for a potential perjury investigation.

Rep. Mark Green (R-Tenn.) introduced the privileged resolution on Wednesday. It directs Oversight and Reform Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) to send a copy of the Cohen transcript to the DOJ for review.

{mosads}Supporters of the measure argue Cummings failed to live up to his promise to hold Cohen accountable after they accused him of lying under oath, arguing the former lawyer to President Trump misled the panel at least seven times while testifying in February.

“We’re making a simple request today that Democrats protect the integrity of the House of Representatives and refer Michael Cohen to the Department of Justice for perjury. Why is this controversial?” Green, who was joined by a group of House Oversight Republicans, told reporters at a press conference.

“Michael Cohen swore under oath to tell the truth before the House Oversight Committee, but he lied and multiple times. Ranking Member [Jim] Jordan [R-Ohio] and the rest of us warned the Democrats that we couldn’t trust a man who was going to jail for lying to Congress — that’s just common sense,” he said.

Jordan, the top Republican on the Oversight panel, told reporters he doesn’t believe there is any disagreement between parties over whether Cohen lied to Congress, adding, “I just think they’re not willing to do what they said they were going to do.”

Cohen, who was the first witness called before the committee after Democrats took control of the panel this year, repeatedly told lawmakers that he “never” asked for a pardon before backtracking on his remarks.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) blasted Democrats on the committee for failing to act swiftly to refer Cohen to the DOJ, adding they should have been wary of bringing a witness in who was slated to go to prison for lying under oath.

“If you [Cummings] were not willing to stand up to someone who lied before your committee, you should not have told the American public that,” he said.

“Jim Jordan has been patient, Jim Jordan has worked with this chairman. Forty-two days is patient enough,” McCarthy said.

Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), the chairman of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, said it’s critical to get members on the record on the issue. He argued lawmakers need to hold witnesses accountable to uphold the integrity of the panel.

“Hopefully, we will see the Democrats have come together in a bipartisan way to say that we will not allow a witness to come in here and lie and lie and admit, even by his own attorney’s admission, that perhaps the testimony he gave was not exactly the truth,” he said.

“And and so we have this particular resolution that in two weeks will be having a vote on. And it will be up to Speaker [Nancy] Pelosi [D-Calif.] to decide on whether that’s going to be a bipartisan vote, standing up for this institution, or whether it will be exercised in a privileged manner to make sure that everyone goes on record,” Meadows said.

Cohen is scheduled to report to prison on May 6 after pleading guilty last year to a series of crimes while working for Trump. He was sentenced in December to 36 months in jail and used his congressional testimony earlier this year to further implicate Trump in a hush money scheme before the 2016 election.

Tags Donald Trump Elijah Cummings Jim Jordan Kevin McCarthy Mark Green Mark Meadows Michael Cohen
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