Democrats in U.S. Congress take aim at Trump with multiple probes

Democrats in U.S. Congress take aim at Trump with multiple probes

Kerry Wise
March 2, 2019

Democrats on the House Oversight and Reform Committee made it clear in grilling Cohen Wednesday, as they have before, that they intend to drill down into Mr. Trump's finances.

Cohen appears to believe that his compulsive lies - which earned him a three-year prison sentence - don't really make him a liar, and that President Trump is actually the one responsible for Cohen's misdeeds. Trump said in morning tweets, in which he accused Cohen of committing perjury during a congressional hearing and called on Congress to demand the book manuscript, which Trump claimed was recently finished.

House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff said the panel also is scheduling a March 14 public hearing with Felix Sater, an associate of Trump involved in negotiating a possible business deal in Moscow.

U.S. President Donald Trump's former lawyer Michael Cohen was "fully cooperative" during closed-door testimony before a congressional committee investigating Russia's interference in the 2016 U.S. election, the panel's chairman said Thursday.

Lawmakers said that Cohen's seven-hour private interview with the Intelligence Committee on Thursday went even deeper into aspects of his testimony. He suggested Cohen had grown bitter because Trump didn't give him a White House job after the election, an assertion Cohen denied.

Cohen told lawmakers Wednesday that some of Trump's lawyers, including Jay Sekulow, edited those statements before he delivered them to Congress, changing details about the timeline of Trump's efforts to build a tower in Moscow. But on Wednesday, Mr Cohen described a third such incident - involving a third portrait of Mr Trump.

"What they're doing is affecting the public, so it should be out in front of everyone so everyone knows what's going on", said Mike McQuerry, a senior aide for Oversight Committee Rep.

The best example of that is Cohen saying he has no direct knowledge of collusion with the Russian government, but that he had his suspicions.

Weisselberg has served the Trump family for more than 40 years. He recounted how Trump made racist remarks, claiming he said African-Americans were "too stupid" to vote for him. Testifying before the House Oversight Committee, Cohen levelled a broad attack against the president's character.

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That would be a big turnaround from three months ago, when prosecutors told a judge that President Donald Trump's estranged ex-lawyer deserved hardly any credit for the information he had given law enforcement.

"Everything he wanted to say about Trump was positive", one executive who discussed the deal with Cohen told The Daily Mail, which obtained the pitch's text exclusively.

On the House Financial Services committee, which oversees banking, representative Brad Sherman said Democrats would follow up on allegations by Mr Cohen that Mr Trump exaggerated his wealth to receive bank loans and lower his insurance premiums.

Wrote Jordan and Meadows, "this is demonstrably, materially, and intentionally false" because it contradicts the sentencing memo from federal prosecutors in NY, which said Cohen "told friends and colleagues, including in seized text messages, that he expected to be given a prominent role and title in the new administration".

"Would you go?" Cuomo asked Cohen.

Cohen eventually pleaded guilty to felony charges of misuse of campaign funds in the hush payment, tax evasion and lying to Congress. They claimed the testimony included "intentionally false statements created to make himself look better on a national stage", adding: "Mr. Cohen's prior conviction for lying to Congress merits a heightened suspicion that he has yet again testified falsely before Congress".

The letter said, in part, that Cohen's testimony "was a spectacular and brazen attempt to knowing and willfully testify falsely and fictitiously to numerous material facts".

He seized on Cohen's concession that he had no direct evidence that Trump or his aides colluded with Russian Federation to get him elected, the primary question of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation. Asked who else knows Trump did this, Cohen said: "Allen Weisselberg, Ron Lieberman and Matthew Calamari".