President Donald Trump's former lawyer Michael Cohen will testify before the House Oversight Committee, the first major move by House Democrats to haul in a member of Trump's team connected to special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, according to a schedule published by the committee.
Cohen, who served as Trump's attorney and fixer for years, came under scrutiny from federal prosecutors in NY over hush money payments he orchestrated during the 2016 presidential campaign to silence Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal, two women who alleged having extramarital affairs with Trump.
Trump has dismissed Cohen as a liar who "became a 'Rat"' after the Federal Bureau of Investigation searched his office. The Maryland representative sent letters sent a pair of letters to both the White House and the Trump Organization earlier this week following an earlier request for documents pertaining to the president's alleged failure to report debts and payments to his personal attorney "to silence women alleging extramarital affairs with the president before the election".
At the time of Cohen's sentencing, federal authorities announced a deal not to prosecute American Media Inc.
In a statement, Chairman Elijah Cummings, who invited Cohen to testify, said his committee will avoid "inappropriately interfering with any ongoing criminal investigations".
At Cohen's sentencing hearing in December, a prosecutor in Mueller's office said Cohen "has provided consistent and credible information about core Russia-related issues under investigation" without elaborating. The investigation has clouded Trump's presidency.
"I look forward to assisting Michael to state publicly all he knows about Mr. Trump - and that includes any appropriate congressional committee interested in the search for truth and the difference between facts and lies", Davis said in a statement at the time.
Cohen will appear before the House Oversight and Reform Committee, a government release explained Thursday. Cohen initially lied and said the Trump Tower Moscow talks ended in January 2016, but he admitted last month those conversations extended through June 2016 when he pleaded guilty to lying to Congress about the project.
Trump was directly implicated by Cohen's campaign finance guilty plea, as Cohen and prosecutors have told the court that the payments were made in coordination with the then-candidate.
"COHEN asked Individual 1 about the possibility of Individual 1 traveling to Russian Federation in connection with the Moscow Project, and asked a senior campaign official about potential business travel to Russian Federation", the documents said.
He also denied that Trump had committed impeachment offenses of high crimes or misdemeanors.