Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen was supposed to testify in a closed session before the Senate Intel Committee Tuesday. But he blew it. So now he will be forced to testify under oath publicly.
Michael Cohen was scheduled to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday. But the committee abruptly cancelled his appearance after Cohen blatantly ignored their warnings about making public statements ahead of his testimony.
Before he showed up to testify, Cohen put out a statement to the committee that was widely distributed to the press declaring his innocence. Cohen said, “I emphatically state that I had nothing to do with any Russian involvement in our electoral process.”
“Given my own proximity to the President of the United States as a candidate let me also say that I never saw anything- not a hint of anything- that demonstrates his involvement in Russian interference in our election or any form of Russian collusion.”
The committee was furious. So now, instead of being able to testify behind closed doors without being under oath, the committee is issuing a formal subpoena that will force Cohen to appear in a public session to answer questions about Trump and Russia under oath.
In a joint statement, Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr (R-NC) and Vice Chairman Mark Warner (D-VA) said they were “disappointed that Mr. Cohen decided to pre-empt today’s interview.”
“As a result,” they added, “we declined to move forward with today’s interview and will reschedule Mr. Cohen’s appearance before the Committee in open session at a date in the near future. The Committee expects witnesses in this investigation to work in good faith with the Senate.”
The committee was so irritated with Cohen that when he showed up with his lawyers Tuesday for his testimony, the Senators left him in a room to stew for 90 minutes before they informed him that his testimony was being postponed.
Based on Cohen’s statement today, it is doubtful that he will intentionally say anything that could get Trump into trouble. It looks like he will defend Trump at all cost. But the Senators should also have plenty of questions for him personally.
Cohen is mentioned several times in the now infamous Christopher Steele dossier. And while some of the dossier has not yet been verified, many parts of it already have been. One of the accusations about Cohen in the dossier is that he was sent to Prague to meet with the Russians. That will likely be something he is asked about.
Cohen may continue to protect Trump and deny everything when he comes back to testify. But lying to the Senate Intel Committee is a crime, whether he’s under oath or not. And now he’s pissed them off. Today’s little stunt did absolutely nothing to help Trump, or himself for that matter.