Cohen Subpoenaed by Senate After Reneging on Appearance

Michael Cohen, left, walks out of federal court with his attorney, Guy Petrillo on Nov. 29, 2018, in New York. The former attorney to President Donald Trump pleaded guilty that morning to lying to Congress about work he did on an aborted project to build a Trump Tower in Russia. He told the judge he lied about the timing of the negotiations and other details to be consistent with Trump’s “political message.” (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

WASHINGTON (CN) – The Senate Intelligence Committee subpoenaed Michael Cohen on Thursday, a rep for the former Trump lawyer said, one day after Cohen said he did not want to testify because of intimidation from the president.

“We will comply and hope to agree upon reasonable terms, ground rules and a date,” Cohen’s representative Lanny Davis said this afternoon.

A day earlier, Davis had pointed to threats by President Donald Trump and lawyer Rudy Giuliani in a bid to cancel what was scheduled to be Cohen’s Feb. 7 appearance before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

Offering little hope of rescheduling, Davis said only that Cohen “looks forward to testifying at the appropriate time.”

Cohen had accepted the invitation to testify earlier this month after admitting in federal court to obstruction charges.

Though Cohen swore to the Senate and House intelligence committees in 2017 that a plan for Trump skyscrapers in Moscow was abandoned in January 2016, he now concedes that the talks extended through June 2016. Trump formally accepted the Republican presidential nomination one month later, and Cohen has attributed his deception to misplaced loyalty to the mogul.

Further complicating this matter, however, is a report that emerged this month suggesting that Cohen lied to Congress at Trump’s direction.

Cohen is set to report to Otisville prison on March 6 for a three-year term.

Despite pleading guilty to several charges of tax-evasion, campaign-finance violations, and false statements to financial institutions and to Congress, Cohen never entered a formal cooperation agreement with the government.

Senate Intelligence Chairman Richard Burr anticipated last year that Cohen would want another chance to set the story straight.

“Michael Cohen’s indictment and guilty plea is once again an example that you cannot lie to Congress without consequences,” Burr said in a statement. “It should be no surprise that Mr. Cohen has had in his possession for months a letter requesting return visits to the Committee.”

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff meanwhile indicated as early as Sunday that he planned to subpoena Cohen.

“What we do know from the special counsel is that Michael Cohen has shared information about core matters of the Russian investigation that he learned from people associated with the Trump Organization, the business organization,” Schiff told CBS’s “Face the Nation.” “We also know from the special counsel that he has shared information about his communications with people associated with the White House during 2017 and 2018.”

The Senate committee has not yet confirmed the subpoena, nor is it clear when Cohen is expected to meet with it. Russia-related hearings are usually held in private. 

Rep. Elijah Cummings, who chairs the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, is expected to fight for Cohen’s testimony as well, even if it means bringing Cohen from prison.

“We will get his testimony,” Cummings said.

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