Michael Cohen, former Trump lawyer, agrees to give open testimony in Congress

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Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., who is the new chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, told NBC News it would also be essential that "Cohen to answer questions pertaining to the Russian Federation investigation, and we hope to schedule a closed session before our committee in the near future".

Cohen will be publicly testifying before the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, chaired by Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD).

Cohen is coming to Capitol Hill after he pleaded guilty and was sentenced in December to three years in prison on multiple charges, including two campaign finance crimes tied to illicit payments made to silence women during the presidential campaign - crimes that prosecutors say Trump directed Cohen to commit.

In a statement to CNN, Cohen said he agreed to testify "in furtherance of my commitment to cooperate and provide the American people with answers".

"I look 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 said.


After Cohen was sentenced, Lanny Davis, an attorney who has been advising him on his media strategy, said Cohen wanted to speak publicly about Trump. It is likely to pull back the curtain on key episodes involving Trump's personal life and business dealings, including hush-money payments to women and a proposed Moscow real estate deal, that federal prosecutors have been dissecting for months. But federal prosecutors recommended a "substantial term of imprisonment" for Cohen, saying he "repeatedly used his power and influence for deceptive ends" and claiming that his cooperation with Mueller was "overstated".

President Donald Trump speaks to the media after signing Anti-Human Trafficking Legislation in the Oval Office on January 9, 2019 in Washington.

Trump called Cohen "a weak person" and accused him of arranging payments of his own accord.

Cohen will appear before the House Oversight and Reform Committee, a government release explained Thursday.

Federal prosecutors in the Southern District of NY have implicated, but not charged, the president in the deals reached in the closing weeks of the 2016 election, alleging in court filings that Cohen acted "in coordination with and at the direction of" Trump. Trump has denied having the extramarital affairs.


Cohen has testified behind close doors to both the Senate and the House previously, some of which led to his conviction on lying to Congress.

Cummings said the committee has no intention of interfering in ongoing criminal probes.

The president has assailed the various investigations, while Russian Federation has denied trying to interfere in the 2016 election for the purposes of sowing discord and improving Trump's prospects. On the House Intelligence Committee, for instance, Chairman Adam Schiff of California has said he will issue a subpoena if necessary to obtain Donald Trump Jr.'s phone records to find out who Trump's son called when Trump Jr. called a number blocked in phone records while setting up the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting.

"We hope to schedule a closed session before our committee in the near future", Schiff said.


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