WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen was “fully cooperative” throughout closed-door testimony earlier than a congressional committee investigating Russia’s interference in the 2016 U.S election, the panel’s chairman mentioned on Thursday.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, a Democrat, mentioned Cohen would return for additional questioning on March 6 to offer lawmakers one other likelihood to observe up on allegations of wrongdoing that Cohen leveled at his former boss this week.
“I think we all feel it was a very productive interview today where he was able to shed light on a lot of issues that are very important to our investigation. We were able to drill down in great detail,” Schiff advised reporters.
Schiff mentioned the panel additionally will discuss to Felix Sater, a Russian-born property developer and former enterprise affiliate of Trump, in a public session on March 14 to speak about efforts to construct a Trump tower in Moscow.
Sater, who labored with Cohen on the mission whereas Trump was operating for president, has mentioned he and Cohen at one level talked about giving a $50 million penthouse to Russian President Vladimir Putin as a method to justify elevating the costs of different models in the envisioned tower.
Cohen pleaded responsible final yr to mendacity to Congress concerning the Moscow mission, however Schiff mentioned he answered all of the panel’s questions. The testimony will ultimately be made public, he mentioned.
Cohen spoke earlier than three congressional panels this week which can be analyzing Russian election meddling and any collusion with the Trump marketing campaign.
In dramatic public testimony on Wednesday earlier than the House Oversight Committee, Trump’s one-time “fixer” accused the president of breaking the regulation whereas in workplace and mentioned for the primary time that Trump knew in advance a few WikiLeaks dump of stolen emails that damage his 2016 election opponent Hillary Clinton.
Committee chairman Elijah Cummings, a Democrat, mentioned his panel would additional examine points raised by Cohen’s testimony and should attempt to get the president’s son, Donald Trump Jr., and his former accountant, Allen Weisselberg, to testify.
‘A LOT MORE EFFICIENT’ WITHOUT CAMERAS
Other Democrats mentioned they might attempt to confirm whether or not Trump manipulated monetary statements to cut back taxes and safe financial institution loans, as Cohen alleged.
Democratic Representative Jim Himes mentioned Thursday’s closed-door format allowed lawmakers to discover in depth some of the problems Cohen raised on Wednesday, in addition to different topics.
“We covered a bunch of topics that didn’t get covered yesterday, so I think today’s hearing was complimentary and a lot more efficient because there weren’t cameras in the room,” Himes mentioned.
Two of Cohen’s most outstanding antagonists in the Wednesday listening to, Republicans Jim Jordan and Mark Meadows, requested the Justice Department to analyze Cohen for perjury, saying he lied throughout his look about his efforts to land a White House job and his work for international corporations, amongst different subjects.
Cohen’s lawyer, Lanny Davis, referred to as the Republicans’ request baseless and a “sad misuse of the criminal justice system.”
Cohen is because of start serving a three-year jail sentence for mendacity to Congress concerning the Moscow tower mission, together with different prices. He submitted a press release in 2017 saying efforts to construct the tower had ceased by January 2016, when these talks in reality continued till June of that yr, after Trump had clinched the Republican presidential nomination.
At Wednesday’s listening to, Cohen mentioned Trump by no means explicitly advised him to mislead Congress concerning the Moscow skyscraper negotiations. But Cohen mentioned he believed he was following implicit instructions to attenuate their efforts on the tower.
Cohen mentioned he had no direct proof that Trump or his marketing campaign colluded with Moscow throughout the election marketing campaign, however that he had suspicions that one thing untoward had occurred.
Cohen additionally testified privately earlier than the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday.
Possible collusion is a key theme of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, which has dogged the president throughout his first two years in workplace. Trump has repeatedly denied the allegation, as has the Kremlin.
Additional reporting by Karen Freifeld, David Morgan, Makini Brice and Eric Beech; Editing by Lisa Shumaker, Alistair Bell, James Dalgleish and Bill Berkrot