On January 23, President Trump’s former lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen announced plans to postpone his public congressional testimony.
Originally scheduled for February 7, Cohen was slated to appear voluntarily before the House Oversight Committee. His testimony has now been indefinitely postponed, however, as a result of the President’s ongoing verbal attacks against his family.
Both the President and his attorney Rudy Giuliani have consistently attacked Cohen in various statements to the media.
“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,” explained Cohen’s attorney Lanny Davis in a statement. “Mr. Cohen wishes to thank Chairman Cummings for allowing him to appear before the House Oversight Committee and looks forward to testifying at the appropriate time.”
Davis also added, “This is a time where Mr. Cohen had to put his family and their safety first.”
Several sources also claim that Cohen’s wife and her father have felt threatened by Trump and Giuliani’s comments.
Trump Weighs In
When asked about the situation on Wednesday, Trump denied intentionally threatening his former lawyer.
“Well I would say he’s been threatened by the truth,” said the President. “He’s only been threatened by the truth.”
House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings and House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff together issued a joint statement on the matter. In it, they slammed both the President and Giuliani for “efforts to intimidate witnesses, scare their family members, or prevent them from testifying before Congress.” They also strongly condemned these as “textbook mob tactics.”
“Our nation’s laws prohibit efforts to discourage, intimidate, or otherwise pressure a witness not to provide testimony to Congress,” the lawmakers added.
With Cohen heading to prison on March 6, doubts have arisen as to whether he will give public testimony. However, Democrats could issue a subpoena to compel Cohen’s testimony prior to that date.
“We understand that Mr. Cohen’s wife and other family members fear for their safety after these attacks, and we have repeatedly offered our assistance to work with law enforcement to enhance security measures for Mr. Cohen and his family,” said Cummings and Schiff’s joint statement.
However, while they’ve acknowledged Cohen’s “legitimate concerns” regarding his family’s safety, they do still fully expect him to testify. Additionally, should he choose not to testify voluntarily, there is a good likelihood Cohen will be subpoenaed to do so.
The Bottom Line
“When our Committees began discussions with Mr. Cohen’s attorney, not appearing before Congress was never an option,” explained the lawmakers. “We will not let the President’s tactics prevent Congress from fulfilling our constitutionally mandated oversight responsibilities.”