Burr on Cohen guilty plea: ‘You cannot lie to Congress without consequences’

The Senate Intelligence Committee chairman on Thursday described Michael Cohen’s guilty plea as proof that “you cannot lie to Congress without consequences.” 

Sen. Richard BurrRichard Mauze BurrHillicon Valley: Senate panel subpoenas Roger Stone associate | Streaming giants hit with privacy complaints in Europe | FTC reportedly discussing record fine for Facebook | PayPal offering cash advances to unpaid federal workers Senate panel subpoenas Roger Stone associate Jerome Corsi Manafort developments trigger new ‘collusion’ debate MORE (R-N.C.) also said the panel had reached out to President TrumpDonald John TrumpCoast Guard chief: 'Unacceptable' that service members must rely on food pantries, donations amid shutdown Dem lawmaker apologizes after saying it's never been legal in US to force people to work for free Grassley to hold drug pricing hearing MORE’s former personal lawyer months ago about a return appearance.

Burr made the comments in a brief statement hours after Cohen pleaded guilty to lying to Congress about Trump’s Moscow property plans last year and agreed to cooperate in Special Counsel Mueller’s Russia investigation.

“Michael Cohen’s indictment and guilty plea is once again an example that you cannot lie to Congress without consequences,” Burr said. “It should be no surprise that Mr. Cohen has had in his possession for months a letter requesting return visits to the Committee.”

Newly-filed court documents show that Cohen lied to the House and Senate Intelligence Committees in their investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Prosecutors say that Cohen deliberately lied about his contacts with Russia about the property plans and the timeline of discussions about them in the Trump Organization.

He did so in order to “minimize links between the Moscow Project and Individual 1,” an apparent reference to Trump, according to the criminal information.

Cohen pleaded guilty to one count of making false statements during an appearance in federal court in New York on Thursday.

Cohen has attracted increased public scrutiny since he pleaded guilty to eight criminal charges in a separate federal case in August, implicating Trump in a scheme that involved paying off women to prevent negative information from emerging during the campaign. 

Senate Intelligence Committee leaders Burr and Sen. Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerHillicon Valley: Lawmakers worry as 'deepfakes' spread | New intel strategy sees threats from emerging tech | Google fined M under EU data rules | WhatsApp moves to curb misinformation On The Money: Shutdown Day 32 | Senate to vote on dueling funding measures | GOP looks to change narrative | Dems press Trump on recalled workers | Kudlow predicts economy will 'snap back' after shutdown Overnight Energy: Polls highlight growing worries about climate change | Watchdog asked to probe recall of furloughed Interior workers | Canada allows preliminary work on Keystone XL MORE (D-Va.) said then that they had “reengaged” Cohen to verify that he stood by his testimony before the committee, particularly his statement that he did not have advanced knowledge of the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting between Donald Trump Jr.Donald (Don) John TrumpPavlich: Mueller’s indictment of the media Dem senator: 'Putin had something on' Trump which may account for 'plainly false' statements Russian pop star linked to Trump Tower meeting cancels US tour MORE, Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortPavlich: Mueller’s indictment of the media Dem senator: 'Putin had something on' Trump which may account for 'plainly false' statements Debate builds over making Mueller report public MORE, Jared KushnerJared Corey KushnerDem senator: 'Putin had something on' Trump which may account for 'plainly false' statements Christie says Trump hired 'riffraff' in new book Trump pitches new plan to reopen government amid Dem pushback MORE and a Russian lawyer.

Press reports had suggested Cohen was telling people privately that Trump had advanced knowledge of the meeting, which also conflicted with his closed-door testimony before the panel.

At the time, Cohen’s lawyer said that he stood by his testimony. Still, some lawmakers signaled they wanted to bring Cohen back in for questioning, though Burr told The Hill in late August that it was “yet to be decided” whether the committee would call him back. 

Cohen’s criminal information does not include any information about his testimony about his knowledge of the Trump Tower meeting.

The Senate panel has been investigating Russian interference for nearly two years and is expected to interview more witnesses and release a series of reports before concluding the investigation. Burr signaled recently the investigation would extend into 2019.

Warner reacted to the plea earlier Thursday, describing it as “yet another example of the President's closest allies lying about their contacts with Russia.”

“With each indictment and each guilty plea, we learn more about the President’s connections to Russia in the midst of Russia’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 election,” Warner said. 

Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee abruptly moved to end their investigation earlier this year, though Democrats have signaled they will revive it when they take control of the House.