Michael Cohen, former personal lawyer to U.S. President Donald Trump, arrives at federal court with his daughter Samantha Cohen, left, in New York on Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2018. MUST CREDIT: Bloomberg photo by Peter Foley

Cohen expected to claim lying, racism and cheating by Trump

Trump’s former personal ‘fixer’ begins three days of congressional appearances on Tuesday

President Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, is expected to give a behind-the-scenes account of what he will claim is Trump’s lying, racism and cheating, and possibly even criminal conduct, when he testifies publicly before a House committee on Wednesday, according to a person with knowledge of the matter.

Cohen is expected to provide what he will claim is evidence, in the form of documents, of Trump’s conduct, said the person, who requested anonymity to discuss the confidential testimony.

Trump’s former personal “fixer” begins three days of congressional appearances on Tuesday in a closed-door interview with the Senate intelligence committee. The public won’t have a chance to hear from him until Wednesday, when he testifies before the House Oversight and Reform Committee. He will go behind closed doors again when he talks to the House intelligence committee on Thursday.

Lawmakers are alternately suspicious of Cohen, who is set to serve time in prison for lying to the House and Senate intelligence committees in 2017, and eager to hear what Cohen has to say after he turned on his longtime boss. Senators on the intelligence panel are expected to attend Tuesday’s meeting, a departure from the committee’s usual practice, where witness interviews are conducted by staff only.

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr told The Associated Press that senators will have staff ask questions but will be in the room to observe. He said no topics will be off limits and Cohen “should expect to get any question from anywhere about anything.”

Burr said committee members know a lot more than they did when they first interviewed Cohen, who later pleaded guilty to lying to the House and Senate intelligence committees about abandoning a proposal for a Trump Tower in Moscow in January 2016. Cohen has since acknowledged he continued pursuing the project for months after that.

Burr suggested that the committee will take steps to ensure Cohen is telling the truth.

“I’m sure there will be some questions we know the answers to, so we’ll test him to see whether in fact he’ll be truthful this time,” Burr said.

As a close confidant of Trump for many years, Cohen’s testimony is among the most anticipated since the House and Senate started investigating the Trump campaign’s Russia ties two years ago. In addition to lying to Congress, Cohen pleaded guilty last year to campaign finance violations for his involvement in payments to two women who allege they had affairs with Trump. He is set to begin a three-year prison sentence in May.

Federal prosecutors in New York have said Trump directed Cohen to arrange the payments to buy the silence of porn actress Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal in the run-up to the 2016 campaign.

Trump denies the allegations and says that Cohen lied to get a lighter sentence.

The person with knowledge of the matter said Cohen will provide information about Trump’s financial statements that he will claim shows Trump deflated assets to pay lower taxes on golf courses; will provide details of the Daniels payment and claim that Trump organized a coverup by pretending Cohen would be repaid; and claim that Trump talked to him and asked him questions about the Trump Moscow project throughout 2016.

He is also expected to discuss what he knows about a meeting between Trump campaign associates and a Russian lawyer in Trump Tower before the 2016 election, a matter that is of particular interest to special counsel Robert Mueller and congressional investigators.

Cohen is only expected to discuss matters related to Russia in the closed-door interviews with the intelligence committees, as House Oversight and Reform Chairman Elijah Cummings has said he doesn’t want to interfere with Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and links to Trump’s campaign.

Members of the Oversight panel are expected to ask questions about the campaign finance violations, Trump’s business practices and compliance with tax laws and “the accuracy of the president’s public statements,” according to a memo laying out the scope of that hearing. The hearing’s scope does not include Russia.

Cohen’s week of interviews come as House Democrats launch multiple investigations into Trump’s ties to Russia and conflict-of-interest issues within the administration. House Republicans in the last Congress investigated whether Trump’s campaign co-ordinated with Russia, but ended that probe over Democratic objections, saying that there was no evidence that they did so. The Senate’s Russia investigation is ongoing.

Cohen had been scheduled to speak to the three committees earlier this month, but rescheduled all of those appearances for different reasons. He said he needed to recover from surgery and also was concerned about what he considered to be threats to his family from Trump and the president’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani.

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.

Mary Clare Jalonick And Michael R. Sisak, The Associated Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Sooke cannabis report does little to answer production questions

Council is trying to get ahead of the issue

Crews respond to near drowning at Thetis Lake

Man taken to hospital after calls come in of drowning in progress

Greater Victoria records drop in building permit values

Values are up for British Columbia and Canada thanks to Vancouver

Rules grounding high flight crews for 28 days likely to be challenged

Lawyer says policy could compromise charter rights and personal liberties

Oak Bay Sausagefest 2019 to buoy Sea Rescue program

Firefighters’ June 22 charity event will support marine responders

Victoria Weekender: What’s happening this weekend, June 15-16

Car Free YYJ, a barber battle and an Outdoor Discovery Day

B.C. VIEWS: When farmland protection doesn’t protect farmers

Secondary residences aren’t mansions, families tell Lana Popham

Bombers down B.C. Lions 33-23 in season opener

Former Lion Andrew Harris leads Winnipeg with 148 rushing yards

Northern B.C. family remembers murdered Indigenous woman with memorial walk

Still no closure for Ramona Wilson’s family 25 years later

Monkey spotted on late-night jaunt in Campbell River

Conservation officers also apparently looking for cougar in the area

B.C. university to offer mentorship program for former youth in care

Students using the provincial tuition waiver program will soon be able to form a community at KPU

Cyclists competing in one of the toughest bike races on the planet pass through Fernie

Divide riders looking strong as they finish first leg of 4160 km race

You might not know these B.C. records are public

Hired a lawyer to file a civil claim? Those are published online

B.C. bus driver loses case to get job back after texting while driving full bus

An arbitator ruled that Tim Wesman’s phone usage was a “a reckless disregard for public safety”

Most Read