Testimony of Trump ex-lawyer Michael Cohen postponed

Testimony by US President Donald Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen before the House Intelligence Committee has been postponed until later this month, the panel said on Wednesday, the latest snag over an appearance by Trump’s one-time “fixer”.

Cohen was scheduled to speak with the committee on Thursday. California Congressman Adam Schiff said in a statement that the interview has been rescheduled for February 28 “in the interests of the investigation”.

He did not say which investigation he was referring to. 

Trump’s former fixer is a central figure in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible coordination between Russia and Trump’s presidential campaign. Trump has called the probe a “witch-hunt” and denied any collusion. 

Cohen begins a three-year prison sentence in March after pleading guilty to campaign finance violations and lying to Congress.

Cohen was also scheduled to speak to the House Oversight and Reform Committee this week but pulled out, citing threats from Trump and the president’s attorney-spokesman, Rudy Giuliani.

He has also been subpoenaed by the Senate Intelligence Committee to appear in mid-February.

2016 election influence investigation

The House Intelligence Committee is set to pursue a wide investigation into attempts to influence the 2016 US presidential election, including a look at Trump’s financial transactions. 

A day after the Republican president warned Democrats against “ridiculous partisan investigations” in his annual State of the Union address, Schiff said they would not be intimidated.

“We’re going to do our proper oversight,” Schiff told reporters after the intelligence panel’s first meeting, which was closed.

Schiff has said that an area of particular interest related to investigations of Trump are allegations that Russians might possess financial leverage over him.

“Our job involves making sure that the policy of the United States is being driven by the national interest – not by any financial entanglement, financial leverage or other form of compromise,” he said told reporters on Wednesday.

Schiff said the panel would release transcripts of all interviews after Roger Stone, a longtime ally of Trump, was charged with lying to Congress.

In a statement last month, Cohen said he looked forward to being afforded a platform to give his full account of events. 

Cohen was sentenced in December to a total of three years in prison for his role in making illegal hush-money payments to women to help Trump’s 2016 election campaign and lying to Congress about a proposed Trump Tower project in Russia.

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