- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Former Trump attorney Michael Cohen will refuse to answer questions about ongoing investigations but is willing to tell anecdotes about working for President Trump when he appears on Capitol Hill, two Republican lawmakers said on Tuesday.

Rep. Mark Meadows of North Carolina and Rep Jim Jordan of Ohio said their staff discussed Mr. Cohen’s planned testimony in February with his lawyer and spokesman, Lanny Davis, a longtime Bill and Hillary Clinton loyalist.

The two said Mr. Davis was evasive when asked if Mr. Cohen is paying him. They wondered whether the entire plan is a “media stunt initiated, produced and financed by career Democrat political operatives as a way of scoring political points against the president.”

The two said Mr. Davis successfully convinced Elijah E. Rep. Cummings, Maryland Democrat and chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, to hold a public hearing––with lots of strings attached.

“According to Davis, the sole purpose of Cohen’s appearance before the committee is to allow Cohen to share his personal anecdotes about his time working for the then-private citizen Donald J. Trump and his experience after Mr. Trump became President,” the two said in a letter to Guy Petrillo, Mr. Cohen’s lead defense attorney.

“Davis conceded Cohen did not want to testify––and in fact cannot testify about much due to the far-flung criminal investigations of which he is a target, subject or defendant––and Cohen is fearful for his family,” the letter said. “Davis acknowledged ‘I pushed him to do this,’ explaining ‘this was my idea; nobody’s else’s’”

Mr. Cohen has emerged as perhaps the pivotal player in whether Mr. Trump survives the long investigations by Special Counsel Robert Mueller and the U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan. 

The former Trump confidant has pleaded guilty to violating campaign laws by funneling hush payments to two women who said they had sexual relations with Mr. Trump. Mr. Cohen said he made the payments at Mr. Trump’s direction.

In the Mueller probe, he pleaded guilty to lying to Congress when he testified that discussions with Moscow to build a Trump hotel ended in January 2016 but in fact lingered into the campaign.

BuzzFeed reported Mr. Trump directed him to lie. Mr. Mueller’s office said the story was “not accurate.”

There has been much anticipation since last week’s BuzzFeed story that Mr. Cohen would disclose his conversations with Mr. Trump on the failed hotel deal.

 

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