Michael Cohen, President Trump’s former personal lawyer who implicated him in a scheme to pay hush money to two women claiming to have had affairs with him will testify next month to a House committee and give “a full and credible account” of his work for Trump, the New York Times reports. Cohen’s decision to appear before the House Oversight and Reform Committee on Feb. 7 sets the stage for a blockbuster hearing that threatens to damage the president’s image further and could clarify the depth of his legal woes. Cohen, who worked for Trump when he was a real estate developer and presidential candidate as well as informally when he was president, was privy to the machinations of Trump’s inner circle and to key moments under scrutiny by both special counsel Robert Mueller and federal prosecutors in New York.
Committee chairman Elijah Cummings (D-MD) warned that Cohen most likely would be barred by Mueller from discussing matters related to Russia. In August, Cohen pleaded guilty to tax fraud, making false statements to a bank and a campaign finance violation. He said that violation was the result of payments he made at Trump’s behest to a woman who was prepared to go public during the 2016 campaign about an affair with Trump years earlier. Since then, Cohen has spent more than 70 hours with federal prosecutors in Manhattan as well as with Mueller, who is investigating Russian efforts to influence the 2016 election and Mr. Trump’s campaign. In November, Cohen admitted to an additional charge of lying to Congress about how long negotiations for a Trump Tower project in Moscow went on in 2016. Asked during a visit to the border in Texas whether he was concerned about Cohen’s plan to testify, Trump said, “I’m not worried about it at all.”