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

Dem calls for Cohen to testify before Senate panel over explosive report
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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 TrumpAverage tax refunds down double-digits, IRS data shows White House warns Maduro as Venezuela orders partial closure of border with Colombia Trump administration directs 1,000 more troops to Mexican border 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 GrahamTrump says he'll '100 percent' veto measure blocking emergency declaration Overnight Defense: Dems tee up Tuesday vote against Trump's emergency declaration | GOP expects few defections | Trump doubles number of troops staying in Syria to 400 On The Money: Dems set Tuesday vote on Trump's emergency declaration | Most Republicans expected to back Trump | Senate plots to avoid fall shutdown drama | Powell heading before Congress 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.
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BuzzFeed News, citing two federal law enforcement officials, reported Thursday that Cohen told special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe 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 GrassleyThe Hill's Morning Report - What to watch for as Mueller’s probe winds down Overnight Health Care — Presented by National Taxpayers Union — Drug pricing fight centers on insulin | Florida governor working with Trump to import cheaper drugs | Dems blast proposed ObamaCare changes Drug pricing fight centers on insulin MORE (R-Iowa) to investigate various threads of the 2016 election or the fallout from FBI Director James ComeyJames Brien ComeyRosenstein: My time at DOJ is 'coming to an end' Five takeaways from McCabe’s allegations against Trump FBI’s top lawyer believed Hillary Clinton should face charges, but was talked out of it 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.