National Security

House Intel panel postpones Cohen testimony

The House Intelligence Committee on Wednesday abruptly postponed the closed-door testimony of President Trump‘s former personal attorney Michael Cohen until later this month.

“In the interests of the investigation, Michael Cohen’s testimony has been postponed until February 28th,” House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) said in a brief statement Wednesday morning.

{mosads}Cohen had been scheduled to testify before the committee on Friday as part of its newly revived probe into Russia’s election interference.

When asked to elaborate on the decision to postpone the testimony, Schiff on Wednesday offered no further details to reporters, saying only that Cohen had been “fully cooperative.”

“I can’t comment any further than our statement on that, but we look forward to his testimony on Feb. 28th,” Schiff said. “Mr. Cohen has been fully cooperative with us, and we hope and expect that will continue, but we felt it was in the investigation’s interest that we postpone to that day.”

Schiff initially announced in late January that Cohen would testify before the committee behind closed doors on Feb. 8, about a month before he is slated to report to federal prison to serve three years for a series of offenses he pleaded guilty to last year.

Cohen has attracted the attention of several congressional committees, particularly among House Democrats looking to leverage their new oversight powers to investigate the president and his administration.

He also has been subpoenaed by the Senate Intelligence Committee to testify in a closed-door session next week as part of that panel’s Russia probe. Cohen’s legal representative and spokesman Lanny Davis has said his client plans to comply with the subpoena.

The president’s former “fixer” has admitted to lying in previous testimony before both the House and Senate Intelligence committees about plans to build a Trump property in Moscow.

He was slated to appear publicly before the House Oversight and Reform Committee this Thursday, but he postponed that appearance last month, citing what he said were threats from Trump and the president’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani. The committee and Cohen’s representatives have been trying to work out a compromise for his appearance, but no details have been announced.

Lawmakers on the committee signaled his public testimony was expected to be severely limited so as not to interfere with special counsel Robert Mueller’s ongoing investigation, in which Cohen is cooperating, and other probes involving Trump.

Cohen pleaded guilty to a slew of federal offenses in August, including campaign finance violations tied to a scheme to pay off women who alleged affairs with Trump in order to suppress information about them before the 2016 election. He implicated Trump in the scheme; the president has denied any wrongdoing.

In November, Cohen pleaded guilty to lying about discussions within the Trump Organization about developing a property in Moscow and agreed to cooperate with federal investigators. Cohen admitted that the talks extended into June 2016 — several months longer than he previously stated — at which point Trump was the presumptive nominee for president.

Olivia Beavers contributed.

Updated at 11:53 a.m.

Tags Adam Schiff Cohen testimony Donald Trump House Intelligence Committee Robert Mueller

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