World / Crime & Legal

Closed-door congressional testimony of Trump ex-lawyer Michael Cohen postponed

AFP-JIJI

Closed-door congressional testimony planned this week by President Donald Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen will be postponed until Feb. 28, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff said on Wednesday.

Cohen was expected to provide details of his work for Trump — including crimes that Cohen has been convicted for — to the committee on Friday.

But Schiff said in a statement that the testimony has been put off “in the interest of the investigation.”

It was not clear which investigation his comment referred to. Special counsel Robert Mueller is examining Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, and whether the Trump campaign colluded with Moscow, a probe that increasingly menaces the White House.

The House Intelligence Committee is conducting its own examination of Trump’s links to Russia.

Cohen, the president’s former right-hand man and “fixer” at the Trump Organization, the Trump umbrella company, pleaded guilty in December to multiple charges related to work he performed for the president, and pledged to cooperate with investigators.

He was sentenced on charges of fraud, tax evasion, illegal campaign contributions, and lying to Congress in previous testimony.

Cohen told prosecutors that Trump directed him to arrange illegal hush payments to two alleged former lovers ahead of the 2016 election.

He also admitted lying to Congress over pursuing a Moscow real estate deal in Trump’s name during the election, even after Trump secured the Republican nomination.

Democrats in Congress want him to testify before he reports to prison on March 6.

Cohen has already put off planned open-door testimony this week to the House Oversight Committee after what he alleged were public threats against him and his family from Trump and Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani.

Cohen has also been subpoenaed by the Senate Intelligence Committee, which means a likely second February appearance on Capitol Hill.