Republican Matt Gaetz threatens Cohen over 'girlfriends' on eve of testimony

by Garry Watts February 27, 2019, 0:41
Republican Matt Gaetz threatens Cohen over 'girlfriends' on eve of testimony

Once Trump's right-hand man, Cohen has distanced himself from the president since pleading guilty to federal prosecutors a year ago for using campaign money to silence Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal, two women who said Trump had extramarital affairs with them.

Such testimony would mark the first time Cohen accused Trump of criminal conduct while serving as president.

Trump's former personal "fixer" arrived on Capitol Hill on Tuesday to begin three days of congressional appearances, starting with a closed-door interview with the Senate intelligence committee.

According to a memo released by the House Oversight Committee, Cohen is also expected to discuss Trump's finances and any possible conflicts of interests involving his family-run business, like the Trump Foundation and the Trump International Hotel.

The House Oversight Committee will steer clear of the intelligence committee's inquiry into Russia's role in the election and alleged links between Trump's campaign and Moscow.

Michael Cohen, Donald Trump's former lawyer, will for the first time publicly accuse the president of criminal conduct while in office related to a hush-money payment to a porn star, a person familiar with his planned testimony before Congress said....

The hearing, beginning at 10:00 am (15H00 GMT) Wednesday, is to start just hours before Trump is to sit down for talks in Hanoi with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un - a coincidence of timing sharply deplored by Republicans and Trump supporters.

Critics noted that the tweet sounded a lot like Trump's own threats to Cohen, which many argued were clear instances of witness intimidation - a federal crime.

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Sen. Richard Burr, chair of the Senate intelligence committee arrives for Cohen's testimony.

Cohen admitted to making "fraudulent" statements to Congress about a prospective Trump Tower deal in Moscow - which never got off the ground - by wrongly suggesting the project was shelved early in 2016, before primary voting began, according to court documents.

The press secretary's comments came as Cohen privately testified in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee Tuesday.

Cohen's testimony is among the most anticipated since the House and Senate started investigating the Trump campaign's Russian Federation ties two years ago.

Cohen, sentenced to three years, is expected to report to prison in May.

"It sure seems like you're threatening Michael Cohen that if he testifies before Congress you, or people aligned with you, will bring out embarrassing details about him", White wrote.

At his December sentencing Cohen, a former Trump loyalist, blamed his misdeeds on "a blind loyalty" to Mr Trump.

The House intelligence committee chairman, Adam Schiff, postponed Cohen's appearance before that committee, saying it was "in the interests of the investigation", with no additional details.

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