- Michael Cohen has been subpoenaed to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee next month, a source close to Cohen told CNN.
- News of the subpoena comes after Cohen indefinitely postponed his previously scheduled testimony before the House Oversight Committee, which was set to take place next month.
- In a statement, Cohen’s lawyer cited “ongoing threats” against Cohen’s family from President Donald Trump and his lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, as the reason for postponing his testimony.
- Cohen pleaded guilty to lying to Congress about the now defunct Trump Tower Moscow project in 2017 and has been cooperating with federal prosecutors and the special counsel Robert Mueller since last summer.
- Cohen has implicated Trump in a number of crimes so far.
Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s longtime former lawyer and fixer, has been subpoenaed to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee in mid-February, CNN reported, citing a source close to Cohen.
News of the subpoena comes after Cohen indefinitely postponed another testimony he was scheduled to give before the House Oversight Committee, citing “ongoing threats” against his family from Trump and his defence lawyer, Rudy Giuliani.
“Due to ongoing threats against his family from President Trump and Mr. Giuliani, as recently as this weekend, as well as Mr. Cohen’s continued cooperation with ongoing investigations, by advice of counsel, Mr. Cohen’s appearance will be postponed to a later date,” Cohen’s attorney Lanny Davis said in a statement released Wednesday.
The statement added that Cohen looks forward to testifying “at the appropriate time.”
“This is a time where Mr. Cohen had to put his family and their safety first,” Davis said in the statement.
Cohen pleaded guilty last year to one count of lying to Congress as part of the Russia investigation when he testified before the House Intelligence Committee in 2017. Last summer, he also pleaded guilty to tax evasion, bank fraud, and campaign finance violations in a separate investigation conducted by the Manhattan US attorney’s office.
Cohen has been cooperating with multiple investigations since last year. He has implicated Trump in a number of criminal acts, and he was expected to shed light on several of his allegations against the president in his testimony before the House Oversight Committee before he postponed it.
Reports of the subpoena to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee come on the heels of a bombshell story from BuzzFeed News last week that said Trump personally instructed Cohen to lie to Congress. The report said Mueller learned about Trump’s alleged instruction to Cohen through “multiple witnesses,” documents, internal emails, and text messages from members of the Trump Organisation, and then from Cohen.
Cohen’s team declined to comment for the story. But Mueller’s office took the unprecedented step of releasing a public statement disputing the story’s central claim: that the special counsel had evidence of Trump’s purported instructions to Cohen.
Giuliani, who has made headlines over the last year criticising Mueller’s integrity and the merits of the Russia probe, applauded the special counsel for disputing BuzzFeed’s story.
Shortly after, however, he went on a media blitz and implied, among other things, that Trump may have discussed Cohen’s congressional testimony with him, that he had heard “tapes” proving Trump did not instruct Cohen to lie, and that discussions to build a Trump Tower Moscow were ongoing from the day Trump announced his candidacy to the day he won the election in November 2016.
What is Rudy Giuliani thinking?
In a sentencing memorandumCohen’s lawyers filed on his behalf in December, they said he was in “close and regular contact” with White House staff and Trump’s lawyers as he was drafting his false congressional testimony in 2017. They added that he was “fully aware” of Trump’s repeated disavowals of ties to Russia, as well as his and his allies’ claims that any contacts with Russians by Trump, his campaign, or the Trump Organisation ended before February 2016.
One former senior Justice Department official who worked closely with Mueller at the FBI told INSIDER they were flummoxed by Giuliani’s media tour.
“There is no discernible legal strategy here,” they said. “What was the purpose of this interview? How did Rudy think him going on national television and saying all these things would benefit the president? This is a goldmine for prosecutors.”
The former official said on Thursday that Cohen will likely be asked about Giuliani’s claims if he testifies before the Senate panel in February.
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