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 TrumpMnuchin knocks Greta Thunberg's activism: Study economics and then 'come back' to us The Hill's Morning Report - House prosecutes Trump as 'lawless,' 'corrupt' What to watch for on Day 3 of Senate impeachment trial 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 CummingsBaltimore unveils plaques for courthouse to be named after Elijah Cummings GOP leaders encourage retiring lawmakers to give up committee posts Pelosi taps Virginia Democrat for key post on economic panel MORE (Md.), Jerrold Nadler (N.Y.) and Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffThe Hill's Morning Report - House prosecutes Trump as 'lawless,' 'corrupt' What to watch for on Day 3 of Senate impeachment trial Democrats' impeachment case lands with a thud with GOP — but real audience is voters MORE (Calif.) warned in a statement.