Giuliani defends Trump going after Cohen's father-in-law

Giuliani defends Trump going after Cohen's father-in-law
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Rudy Giuliani on Sunday said President TrumpDonald John TrumpRosenstein expected to leave DOJ next month: reports Allies wary of Shanahan's assurances with looming presence of Trump States file lawsuit seeking to block Trump's national emergency declaration MORE is "defending" himself by pointing fingers at Michael Cohen's family, not trying to intimidate his former attorney ahead of scheduled congressional testimony.

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.

"No, it's defending yourself," Giuliani, Trump's personal attorney, said on CNN's "State of the Union."

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"Of course it is if the father-in-law is a criminal in the Southern District of New York," he charged. "He may have ties to something called organized crime."

In 1993, Cohen's father-in-law, Fima Shusterman, pleaded guilty to federal income-tax fraud relating to his taxicab business in New York, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. Shusterman also has ties to Chicago's taxi cab industry. Cohen got involved in the taxicab industry through Shusterman, according to The New York Times.

Trump has tweeted about Cohen's father-in-law several times, most recently on Friday when he suggested Cohen was "lying to reduce his jail time."

"Watch father-in-law!" Trump added.

Trump on Fox News earlier this month said he isn't worried about Cohen's upcoming testimony, but suggested "he should give information maybe on his father-in-law, because that’s the one that people want to look at."

He also said Cohen was in trouble on "loans and frauds and taxi cabs."

"Because where does that money — that’s the money in the family. And I guess he didn’t want to talk about his father-in-law — he’s trying to get his sentence reduced. So it’s pretty sad. It’s weak and it’s very sad to watch a thing like that. I couldn’t care less," Trump added.

Cohen is scheduled to give testimony next month before the House Oversight and Reform Committee.

But his attorney said he is "considering whether to go forward in light of the concerns about his family" following Trump's comments.

“There is genuine fear and it has caused Michael Cohen to consider whether he should go forward or not and he’s not yet made a final decision,” Davis said on MSNBC last week.

Top House Democrats also raised questions about whether Trump was trying to intimidate Cohen with his comments.

"Our nation’s laws prohibit efforts to discourage, intimidate, or otherwise pressure a witness not to provide testimony to Congress," Reps. Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsHouse chairman: Trump lawyers may have given false info about Cohen payments Overnight Health Care — Sponsored by America's 340B Hospitals — Dems blast rulemaking on family planning program | Facebook may remove anti-vaccine content | Medicare proposes coverage for new cancer treatment Rule change sharpens Dem investigations into Trump MORE (Md.), Jerrold Nadler (N.Y.) and Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffWhite House, GOP defend Trump emergency declaration Schiff: Evidence of collusion between Trump campaign, Russia 'pretty compelling' Schiff: 'Hard to imagine a poorer case' than Trump's on emergency declaration MORE (Calif.) warned in a statement.