Michael Cohen, former Trump lawyer, agrees to give open testimony in Congress

Michael Cohen agrees to testify before Congress after pleading guilty to fraud and deception

President Donald Trump's former lawyer Michael Cohen will testify before the House Oversight Committee, the first major move by House Democrats to haul in a member of Trump's team connected to special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, according to a schedule published by the committee.

He has pleaded guilty to campaign finance charges related to hush money payments he facilitated for women claiming to have slept with Trump, and to other financial crimes not related to the 2016 campaign.

"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", he added.

Cohen said Trump directed him to make the payments because of concern about how they might affect the election campaign, adding that, "nothing at the Trump Organization was ever done unless it was run through Mr. Trump". It's unclear what Cohen will be allowed to talk about in the hearing and what Robert Mueller, or prosecutors in NY, will want him to keep to himself.

The former Trump fixer agreed to testify voluntarily, Oversight Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-MD) said in a statement.

President Donald Trump speaks to the media after signing Anti-Human Trafficking Legislation in the Oval Office on January 9, 2019 in Washington.

When asked about Cohen's testimony on Thursday, Trump said: "I'm not anxious".

Cohen also lied about whether he and Trump, referred to as "Individual 1" in the November court documents, discussed planning a trip to Russian Federation during the campaign.


Mueller's scrutiny of Cohen has focused on the attorney's role in Trump's business dealings, particularly negotiations over a Trump Tower project in Moscow during the 2016 campaign.

On the issue of possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, Giuliani says, "Cohen doesn't know a damn thing about collusion".

Cohen has agreed to go before the House Oversight Committee on February 7.

"Recently, the president tweeted a statement calling me 'weak, ' and he was correct, but for a much different reason than he was implying", Cohen said at the time.

He promised to continue to cooperate with the special counsel's investigation of Trump's campaign.

Special Counsel spokesman Peter Carr declined to comment on Cohen's upcoming testimony before Congress, but Cummings told reporters outside an unrelated closed briefing on Thursday that his committee's questioning of Cohen will be limited to avoid publicly discussing sensitive portions of the Mueller probe. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said he welcomes Cohen's testimony before the oversight panel, but "it will be necessary, however, for Mr. Cohen to answer questions pertaining to the Russian Federation investigation, and we hope to schedule a closed session before our committee in the near future".

Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said Cohen "Cohen has had in his possession for months a request to return to the Senate Intelligence Committee for additional closed-door testimony, made all the more necessary by Mr. Cohen's indictment and guilty plea for making false statements to Committee investigators".

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