Dem calls for Cohen to testify before Senate panel over explosive report

Dem calls for Cohen to testify before Senate panel over explosive report
© Getty Images
Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) wants Michael Cohen to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee in the wake of a bombshell report that President TrumpDonald John TrumpGOP senators balk at lengthy impeachment trial Warren goes local in race to build 2020 movement 2020 Democrats make play for veterans' votes MORE told his former lawyer to lie to Congress about an effort to build a Trump Tower in Moscow.
Blumenthal sent a letter on Friday to Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamGOP senators balk at lengthy impeachment trial Graham: Senate trial 'must expose the whistleblower' Graham says Schiff should be a witness in Trump impeachment trial MORE (R-S.C.), the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, saying that Cohen must be asked to testify "immediately" and that the panel "must conduct a thorough investigation of the president’s involvement in these crimes and whether he obstructed justice to hide them."
"If these reports are true, the president is guilty of obstruction of justice, suborning perjury, and conspiracy to violate 18 U.S.C. § 1001, which prohibits making false statements to Congress," Blumenthal added.
BuzzFeed News, citing two federal law enforcement officials, reported Thursday that Cohen told special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerSpeier says impeachment inquiry shows 'very strong case of bribery' by Trump Gowdy: I '100 percent' still believe public congressional hearings are 'a circus' Comey: Mueller 'didn't succeed in his mission because there was inadequate transparency' MORE that Trump personally directed him to lie after his election about the timing of when the negotiations involving the project ended in an effort to obscure the president’s involvement.
Trump hit back at Cohen on Friday, accusing his former lawyer of “lying to reduce his jail time." But the explosive report immediately sparked calls from House and Senate Democrats to investigate the allegation. 
Cohen has already been scheduled to testify before the House Oversight and Reform Committee on Feb. 7.
Calls for the Judiciary Committee to ask Cohen to testify and investigate the matter come as previous attempts by the panel under then-Chairman Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleySpeaker Pelosi, it's time to throw American innovators a lifeline Barr: Inspector general's report on alleged FISA abuses 'imminent' Pelosi aide hopeful White House will support drug-pricing bill despite criticism MORE (R-Iowa) to investigate various threads of the 2016 election or the fallout from FBI Director James ComeyJames Brien ComeyThere are poor ideas, bad ones and Facebook's Libra Trump has considered firing official who reported whistleblower complaint to Congress: report Broadcast, cable news networks to preempt regular programming for Trump impeachment coverage MORE's firing quickly unraveled into partisan fighting on the committee. 
But Blumenthal, in his letter to Graham, argued that members have a "constitutional duty" to be a "check" on the president.
"The hour to put country before petty partisan differences has come. The American people are beginning to ask whether their president is a criminal, and Mr. Cohen’s testimony can help answer that question," Blumenthal added.