WASHINGTON — Michael Cohen, Donald Trump’s former attorney, is postponing his planned appearance before a congressional committee on Feb. 7, as Cohen’s attorney cited “threats against his family” from the President and Rudy Giuliani.
Lanny Davis, one of Cohen’s attorneys, said in a statement that “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.”
The House Oversight Committee, chaired by Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), has set a hearing for Feb. 7, in what was expected to be a dramatic, must-see TV moment. Democrats were expected to seek further details from Cohen on his dealings with Trump, while Republicans were likely to try to discredit him. Giuliani, who is representing Trump, has repeatedly called Cohen a “liar.”
Trump tweeted about Cohen on Jan. 18, writing, “Lying to reduce his jail time! Watch father-in-law!” That was a reference to the business dealings of Fima Shusterman. Giuliani on Sunday also made a reference to Cohen’s father-in-law on an appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union,” but denied that Trump and his lawyers were trying to intimidate Cohen.
Responding to Davis’s statement, Trump told reporters on Wednesday that Cohen “has been threatened by the truth. He’s always been threatened by the truth and he doesn’t want to do that probably for me or other of his clients. He has other clients also, I assume, and he doesn’t want to tell the truth for me or other of his clients.”
Cohen was sentenced to three years in prison last month after pleading guilty in September to a series of charges, including campaign finance violations. When he was sentenced, he told the judge that when he served as Trump’s personal lawyer, it was “my duty to cover up his dirty deeds.” He implicated Trump in an effort to pay hush money to two women, Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal. The women claimed to have had sexual relations with Trump.
Cohen also pled guilty in November to lying to Congress over the timeline of when he had discussed the development of a Trump Tower in Russia with officials linked to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Initially, Cohen had said those talks ended before 2016, when in fact they extended well into 2016, as Trump secured the Republican nomination.
Cohen is due to start serving his sentence in March.
Cummings and Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, issued a statement that said that “when our Committees began discussions with Mr. Cohen’s attorney, not appearing before Congress was never an option.
“We will not let the President’s tactics prevent Congress from fulfilling our constitutionally mandated oversight responsibilities. This will not stop us from getting to the truth. We expect Mr. Cohen to appear before both Committees, and we remain engaged with his counsel about his upcoming appearances.”