Cohen postpones testimony before Senate Intelligence Committee
By MATT ZAPOTOSKY | The Washington Post | Published: February 11, 2019
WASHINGTON — Michael Cohen will not testify as expected Tuesday before the Senate Intelligence Committee, his lawyer said — marking yet another delay in lawmakers’ bid to question President Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer about a range of potentially unflattering topics to the commander in chief.
At various points, Cohen was to testify before three congressional committees about his work for Trump — the Senate Intelligence Committee, the House Intelligence Committee and the House Oversight Committee. But in each instance, his scheduled appearance was canceled or postponed.
Lanny Davis, one of Cohen’s lawyers, cited a recent shoulder surgery as the reason Cohen would have to cancel the Senate Intelligence Committee appearance.
“The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence has accepted Mr. Cohen’s request for postponement of tomorrow’s hearing due to postsurgery medical needs,” he said. “A future date will be announced by the committee.”
Spokeswomen for the committee’s Republican and Democratic leadership did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Last week, the House Intelligence Committee cited “the investigation’s interest” in postponing its hearing, and Cohen’s lawyer had blamed alleged “threats” from Trump as the reason for canceling what would have been public testimony before the House Oversight Committee.
Cohen pleaded guilty last year to various federal crimes, including lying to Congress about a possible Trump Tower project in Moscow and arranging payments to buy the silence of women who alleged affairs with Trump several years ago. He was sentenced in December to three years in prison and is scheduled to report March 6.
Each postponement seems to make his testifying less likely, though some lawmakers have suggested Cohen could be compelled to testify even after he is behind bars. His House Intelligence Committee appearance is now scheduled for Feb. 28.
Cohen likely has no shortage of information that would be of interest to lawmakers; at his sentencing hearing, he talked of how it was once his job to cover up Trump’s “dirty deeds.”
While much of what he has to say already has been aired in court — federal prosecutors have said, for example, that it was at Trump’s direction that Cohen arranged the hush money payments, in violation of campaign finance laws — there are many questions he has not answered.
He could describe, for example, what role, if any, Trump played in shaping his false congressional testimony, and offer other behind-the-scenes details of his interactions with Trump about the hush money payments.