Michael Cohen To Testify Publicly Before Congress About Work As Trump's Lawyer

Michael Cohen President Trump's former lawyer departs United States Federal Court under heavy security after being sentenced to three years in prison in New York New York on Dec. 12 2018

President Donald Trump's former personal attorney Michael Cohen said on Thursday he had agreed to testify publicly before a congressional panel on February 7, as U.S. House of Representatives Democrats began kicking off numerous investigations of Trump, his business interests and his administration.

Cohen's testimony will come one month before the start of a three-year prison term, which he received for lying to Congress, tax crimes, and campaign finance violations resulting, he says, from his duty to cover up Trump's "dirty deeds".

In a statement to CNN, Cohen said he agreed to testify "in furtherance of my commitment to cooperate and provide the American people with answers".

Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump's former personal attorney and fixer, has accepted an invitation to testify in an open session before Congress next month. Trump has denied directing Cohen to pay women who alleged affairs with Trump. It's unclear what Cohen will be allowed to talk about in the hearing and what Robert Mueller, or prosecutors in NY, will want him to keep to himself.

At Cohen's sentencing hearing in December, a prosecutor in Mueller's office said Cohen "has provided consistent and credible information about core Russia-related issues under investigation" without elaborating.

When asked about Cohen's testimony on Thursday, Trump said: "I'm not anxious".

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It's unclear whether Cohen's testimony contains evidence that could lead to the impeachment of the USA president, but given the fact that Trump's casually-tweeted comments (such as criticisms of the Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell) have been correlated with major turbulence in the stock markets, the last thing the economy needs at the moment is another wild card.

Others in Trump's personal orbit are also facing scrutiny, and House Democrats, having retaken the majority earlier this month, now have subpoena power.

"I look forward to assisting Michael to state publicly all he knows about Mr. Trump - and that includes any appropriate congressional committee interested in the search for truth and the difference between facts and lies", Davis said in a statement at the time.

Trump was directly implicated by Cohen's campaign finance guilty plea, as Cohen and prosecutors have told the court that the payments were made in coordination with the then-candidate.

Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, who was made chairman of the committee after Democrats regained control of the House of Representatives, made the announcement Thursday. Cohen spoke in 2017 to the House and Senate Intelligence Committees - and later pleaded guilty to lying to them about the Trump Tower Moscow timeline - and both have indicated they want to speak to him again before he begins his jail sentence in March. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said he welcomes Cohen's testimony before the oversight panel, but "it will be necessary, however, for Mr. Cohen to answer questions pertaining to the Russian Federation investigation, and we hope to schedule a closed session before our committee in the near future". The GOP-led committee later ended its investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, saying there was no evidence of collusion or conspiracy between Trump's campaign and Russia.

"We hope to schedule a closed session before our committee in the near future", Schiff said.

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