January 11, 2019 08:26
President Donald Trump's former personal lawyer Michael Cohen will publicly testify before Congress next month. In what could be a dramatic and historic day, Cohen said in a statement Thursday he "looks 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."
Cohen pleaded guilty in August to federal charges of tax fraud, falsifying bank statements, and a payment he made to an adult film star to keep silent about an affair she allegedly had with Trump.
Cohen told the court that "Individual 1" directed him to make the $130,000 payment, which prosecutors say was an illegal campaign contribution that could influence the outcome of the 2016 election. "Individual 1" referred to Trump.
Cohen also pleaded guilty in November to federal charges of lying about the timeline of negotiations to build a Trump Tower complex in Moscow.
The talks were still going on during the time Trump was running for president.
Cohen has been talking to Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating Russian election meddling and allegations the Trump campaign colluded with the Russians. Mueller is also probing whether Trump tried to obstruct justice.
Trump has called his former lawyer a "weak person" and accused Cohen of lying to prosecutors to try to get a reduced prison sentence. Cohen is set to testify Feb. 7.
Congressman Elijah Cummings, the top Democrat on the House Oversight Committee, invited Cohen to testify.
"He can tell the American people exactly what he has been saying to Mueller and others without interfering in the Mueller investigation," Cummings told CNN last month, shortly after Democrats won control of the House from Republicans. "I think the American people just voted for transparency and integrity in our hearings. They want to hear from him."
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