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Finally united, House Republicans refer ex-Trump lawyer Michael Cohen for perjury prosecution

During the dark days of the early Russia collusion probe, House Republicans often were fractured on how to best defend Donald Trump or pursue evidence of FBI bias and abuses.

Key conservatives such as Reps. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) and Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) were often frustrated by then-Speaker Paul Ryan’s proceed-carefully approach.

What a difference two years makes!

{mosads}Ryan (R-Wis.) has left the House and, before he did, even he had come to the conclusion that the FBI probe of Trump likely involved abuses. Special counsel Robert Mueller has closed his investigation with the conclusion that there was no collusion between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin to swing the 2016 election. And new Attorney General William Barr is opening a wide-ranging investigation into the FBI’s conduct during the presidential election.

The result is that House Republicans — from the establishment wing to the sometimes rebellious Freedom Caucus — are now united.

The clearest sign emerged Wednesday morning when House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) put his personal weight behind an effort to force the Democratic-controlled House to refer former Trump attorney Michael Cohen for possible perjury prosecution for multiple statements Cohen made in February testimony that conflicts with other evidence in the public realm.

Together with his rank-and-file, McCarthy unveiled a resolution that was conceived by Jordan and Meadows and sponsored by Rep. Mark Green (R-Tenn.) that would require the House to send a copy of Cohen’s Feb. 27 testimony before the House Government Oversight and Reform Committee to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ).

“It is the judgment of the House of Representatives that providing a copy of the official transcript of the hearing of the Committee on Oversight and Reform on February 27, 2019, to the Department of Justice would aid the Attorney General’s consideration of investigation and potential prosecution of Michael Cohen’s criminal conduct,” the resolution declares.

On its face, the resolution is good politics, an effort to create a boomerang that wounds Democrats for making Cohen — already a convicted liar — their first major witness at the first major hearing on their new time in power.

Cohen’s most recent testimony, that he never wanted a pardon from Trump and never sought a White House job, was directly contradicted by other witnesses and documents, and it has caused Democrats some significant heartburn.

But the real headline of Wednesday’s event is that a House caucus, once divided on how and whether to defend Trump on Russia-collusion charges, has found common ground between leadership and rebel and is signaling an intention to go on offense for the rest of 2019.

John Solomon is an award-winning investigative journalist whose work over the years has exposed U.S. and FBI intelligence failures before the Sept. 11 attacks, federal scientists’ misuse of foster children and veterans in drug experiments, and numerous cases of political corruption. He serves as an investigative columnist and executive vice president for video at The Hill.

Tags Devin Nunes Donald Trump Jim Jordan Kevin McCarthy Mark Green Mark Meadows Michael Cohen Michael Cohen Paul Ryan Robert Mueller Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections Special Counsel investigation United States Department of Justice Vladimir Putin William Barr

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