In what is being seen as “the first major move by House Democrats to haul in a member of Trump’s team connected to special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation,” on February 7th, a month before Michael Cohen is scheduled to begin his three-year prison sentence after pleading guilty in August in a Manhattan federal court to multiple charges, CNN reports he has agreed to testify publicly before the House Oversight Committee, “according to a schedule published by the committee.”
“I thank Michael Cohen for agreeing to testify before the Oversight Committee voluntarily,” said Oversight Chairman Elijah Cummings, a Democrat from Maryland, in a statement. “I want to make clear that we have no interest in inappropriately interfering with any ongoing criminal investigations, and to that end, we are in the process of consulting with Special Counsel Mueller’s office.”CNN
In a released statement from Cohen, further verifying the report, reads, “In furtherance of my commitment to cooperate and provide the America people with answers, I have accepted the invitation by Chairman Elijah Cummings to appear publicly on February 7th before the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. I look forward to having the privilege of being afforded a platform with which to give a full and credible account of the events which have transpired.”
The New York Times reminds readers that Cohen, after spending “more than 70 hours with federal prosecutors in the Manhattan [court] as well as with Mr. Mueller,” in November, “Mr. Cohen pleaded guilty to an additional charge – lying to Congress about how long negotiations for a Trump Tower project in Moscow went on in 2016.”
With that admittance, what will likely be at issue coming from Republican opposition, after being called, among other things, “a rat,” a “weak person,” and “a liar,” and accusing Cohen of “lying to try to get a reduced sentence” by President Trump, speculation is it will be Cohen’s credibility called into focus and questioned before this committee in a roll reversal with the Republicans now in the minority.
It is unknown if Cummings approached Cohen, or the other way, however, Cummings only said that “he had known Mr. Cohen would come for some time and had spoken to him briefly when arranging the hearing.”
“He’ll have a chance to tell his side of the story, and we’ll have a chance to question him. The American people deserve that.”