The Senate Intelligence Committee has asked President Donald Trump’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen, to provide information about his contacts with Russian officials as part of its probe into Russia’s election interference and whether any Trump associates colluded with Moscow.
Cohen told ABC on Tuesday that he “declined the invitation to participate as the request was poorly phrased, overly broad and not capable of being answered.” He did not respond to request for additional comment from Business Insider.
Cohen’s refusal to cooperate with the committee comes one week after former national security adviser Michael Flynn said through his lawyer that he would invoke his Fifth Amendment right and decline a subpoena issued by the Senate for documents related to his interactions with Russian officials from June 2015 to January 2017.
Carter Page, an early foreign policy adviser to Trump’s campaign team, has also declined to provide the committee with similar documents.
The Senate Intelligence Committee voted last week to give the committee’s chairman and ranking member, Sens. Richard Burr and Mark Warner, blanket authority to issue subpoenas where they deem necessary. It is unclear whether the committee plans to subpoena Cohen, and Page told Business Insider last week that he has not yet been subpoenaed.
Spokespeople for Burr and Warner did not immediately respond to request for comment. NBC later confirmed that both the House and Senate Intelligence Committees are seeking information from Cohen about his Russia ties.
Cohen was at the center of a bombshell New York Times report published earlier this year that said he hand-delivered a “peace plan for Russia and Ukraine” to Flynn before the latter was asked to resign as national security adviser in February.
The plan — originally drafted by Ukrainian lawmaker Andrii Artemenko — outlined lifting sanctions on Russia in return for Moscow withdrawing its support for pro-Russia separatists in eastern Ukraine, according to the report. It would also allow Russia to maintain control over Crimea, the peninsula it annexed in 2014.
Cohen has denied having hand-delivered the plan to Flynn, but Artemenko told Business Insider earlier this year that he “got confirmation” that Cohen brought the document to the White House.
Cohen was also named as a middleman for Trump and Russia in the dossier compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele. The dossier, which contained many unverified claims but which investigators have used as a “roadmap” in their probe, alleged that the Trump campaign and Moscow conspired to undermine Hillary Clinton during the election.
In January, Cohen told ABC that the allegations in the dossier were “laughably false.” The dossier says Cohen met with Russian officials in Prague last August, but Cohen said he was in California visiting colleges with his son.
The Senate Intelligence Committee has also asked Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, and one of his longtime confidants, Roger Stone, for information about their contacts with Russians during the election. Both Stone and Manafort have agreed to be interviewed by the committee.
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