Politics

Michael Cohen testimony: Live updates and live stream as President Trump’s former personal attorney testifies to the House Oversight committee today — live updates

President Trump’s former personal attorney and “fixer” Michael Cohen is testifying before lawmakers on Capitol Hill as Washington prepares for the final report from the special counsel’s nearly two-year investigation into possible ties between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.

According to his prepared remarks, provided to CBS by a congressional source, Cohen is expected to tell the committee that President Trump is a racist and a con man. He’ll testify about hush money payments and the Trump Tower Moscow project, and he has provided documents to back up his unflattering statements about his former boss.

Cohen can also expect to face intensive questioning by members of the House Oversight Committee about the lies he told to congressional investigators in 2017.

What has Cohen been charged with so far

  • Charged with making false statements to Congress (sentenced to two months in prison)
  • Charged with violating campaign finance law in a separate case involving the hush money payments paid to two women who claimed to have had affairs with Mr. Trump (Cohen was sentenced to three years in prison).

Follow along below for live updates on the hearing:


Cohen “looks forward” to telling the truth

“I really appreciate the opportunity that was given to me to clear the record and to tell the truth.

“And I look forward to tomorrow to being able to in my voice to tell the American people my story and I’m going to let the American people decide exactly who is telling the truth,” Cohen told reporters shortly after his closed-door Senate testimony wrapped up on Tuesday.

Trump claims Cohen did “bad things” unrelated to him

In an early morning tweet while overseas in Vietnam for his summit with Kim Jong Un, Mr. Trump attempted to distance himself from Cohen, tweeting that he was”one of many lawyers who represented me (unfortunately). He had other clients also.”

The president goes on reference Cohen’s disbarment from the New York State Bar, adding that he did “bad things unrelated to Trump.”

“He is lying in order to reduce his prison time. Using Crooked’s lawyer!” said Mr. Trump.

This comes after White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement that it was “laughable” anyone would take Cohen at his word. Sanders added that it was “pathetic to see him given yet another opportunity to spread his lies.”

What will Cohen say?

Cohen will publicly accuse the president of criminal conduct for the first time during his public hearing on Wednesday, CBS News has confirmed.

According to a source familiar with the matter, Cohen will provide documents, prepared by Mr. Trump’s accountant, that will show the president may have engaged in tax fraud, CBS News correspondent Paula Reid reports. In Cohen’s prepared testimony, he says that these documents are financial statements sent to Deutsche Bank between 2011 and 2013. This could be the basis for lawmakers or investigators to pursue Trump’s tax returns. The source confirms that Cohen will also accuse the president of using racist language. His comments are described as “chilling” – this language was allegedly used in a series of personal conversations between Mr. Trump and Cohen.

Cohen is set to serve time in prison for lying to the Senate and House Intelligence Committees in 2017. Some Republican lawmakers will likely use that fact to blunt the impact the allegations Cohen will be making against the president during Wednesday’s appearance before the House Oversight Committee.

What has Cohen been charged with?

In December, Cohen was given a 3-year sentence for violating campaign finance laws “in coordination with and at the direction” of the president by paying two women to remain silent during the 2016 campaign about their alleged affairs with Mr. Trump. The president has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.

In a separate case, Cohen was also sentenced to two months in prison after pleading guilty in November to lying to Congress about his involvement in an effort to build a “Trump Tower” in Moscow during the 2016 campaign.

In the plea agreement, Cohen admitted to lying to the Senate and House intelligence committees about the project and the extent to which then-candidate Trump and his family were involved.

Cohen’s appearance delayed after alleged threats

Cohen is appearing before the House Oversight Committee after delaying his initial testimony citing “threats” to his family by Mr. Trump and the president’s attorney.

Mr. Trump referred to Cohen’s family in a tweet in January, saying that Cohen was “lying to reduce his jail time” and ended the tweet with “watch father-in-law!” Cohen was sentenced in December to three years in federal prison, followed by three years of supervised release, stemming from his guilty plea to campaign finance violations related to payments to women who claimed to have had affairs with Mr. Trump.

House Intelligence Committee chair Adam Schiff, D-California, said in a statement that lawmakers would work with law enforcement to protect Cohen and his family from any potential threats.

“As I’ve previously stated with my colleagues, Chairmen Elijah Cummings and Jerrold Nadler, efforts to intimidate witnesses, scare their family members, or prevent them from testifying before Congress are tactics we expect from organized crime, not the White House. These attacks on Mr. Cohen’s family must stop. Federal law prohibits efforts to discourage, intimidate, or otherwise pressure a witness not to provide testimony to Congress,” said Schiff.

Trump weighs in on Cohen

Asked if he had any concerns about Cohen’s testimony before Congress, Mr. Trump told reporters “no,” suggesting he’d respect attorney-client confidentiality. “You know, he’s taking his own chances,” he said last week.

Cohen now cooperating with Manhattan prosecutors on alleged financial crimes and questions about the Trump inaugural committee.


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