Michael Cohen returns to Hill on day he was supposed to report to prison

Posted at 6:50 AM, Mar 06, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-06 06:52:46-05

(CNN) — Michael Cohen was supposed to report to prison Wednesday to begin serving a three-year sentence for tax crimes, tax evasion and lying to Congress. Instead, President Donald Trump’s former lawyer will be on Capitol Hill talking about the crimes he is now accusing Trump of committing.

Cohen, who is now slated to begin his prison term May 6, is back on Capitol Hill on Wednesday for his fourth appearance in the last eight days, concluding his closed-door testimony before the House Intelligence Committee that began last week.

His final day of Capitol Hill testimony, notably, comes in an even more heated environment than last week, after House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler announced Monday the start of a sweeping investigation into the President. House Oversight Chairman Elijah Cummings signaled after Cohen’s public testimony that he wanted to interview Trump’s eldest son Donald Trump Jr. and Trump Organization chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg, among others.

And the House Intelligence Committee has signaled interest in Weisselberg, while the panel’s chairman Adam Schiff said the committee would hold a public hearing next week with Felix Sater, the Russian-born Trump business associate who worked with Cohen on the Trump Tower Moscow project.

Trump has aggressively pushed back on the House investigations following Cohen’s testimony, charging that “the witch hunt continues” and Democrats have effectively “started the campaign.”

“The witch hunt continues. The fact is that — I guess we got 81 letters. There was no collusion. It’s a hoax,” Trump told reporters Tuesday when asked about the investigations.

In his public testimony last week, Cohen accused Trump of directing him to make hush-money payments to women alleging affairs, and then displayed a reimbursement check he was paid with Trump’s signature. He also accused Trump of telling him to publicly lie about Trump’s knowledge of the payments in February 2018, along with committing financial fraud.

He followed up that public House Oversight appearance with the first part of his closed-door House Intelligence interview the following day, where Schiff said the committee was able to “drill down” certain issues in even more detail.

“We are in communication with, obviously, Mr. Cohen and his counsel about further document requests following our interview today that we’ll be able to discuss at our next session,” Schiff said after Cohen had finished for the day. “We also went through documents in our possession, dozens of documents in our possession with Mr. Cohen, but we have additional document requests that we will be in discussion with him about.”

There are a host of topics that lawmakers are interested in hearing from Cohen about, including his public testimony about overhearing a conversation between Trump and longtime confidante Roger Stone involving a WikiLeaks’ email dump, presidential pardons, and Cohen’s public testimony that the Southern District of New York could be investigating his conversations with Trump.

The Wall Street Journal reported Monday that Cohen’s former lawyer, Stephen Ryan, discussed the possibility of a pardon for Cohen with Trump’s attorneys after the FBI’s raid on Cohen.

The House Judiciary Committee is also asking questions about pardons, as they asked a number of Trump officials related to possible pardons for Cohen, former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn.