WASHINGTON– President Donald Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen announced he is postponing his public congressional testimony that was scheduled for February 7, citing “ongoing threats against his family from President Trump” and his attorney.
Democrats are considering whether to subpoena Cohen to force him to testify, and at least one senior Democrat on the House Oversight Committee said he expects Chairman Elijah Cummings of Maryland to issue such a subpoena.
“Due to ongoing threats against his family from President Trump and Mr. Giuliani, as recently as this weekend, as well as Mr. Cohen’s continued cooperation with ongoing investigations, by advice of counsel, Mr. Cohen’s appearance will be postponed to a later date,” Cohen’s attorney Lanny Davis said in a statement. “Mr. Cohen wishes to thank Chairman Cummings for allowing him to appear before the House Oversight Committee and looks forward to testifying at the appropriate time.”
Davis added, “This is a time where Mr. Cohen had to put his family and their safety first.”
A source told CNN on Wednesday that Cohen’s wife and father-in-law feel threatened by comments by the President and Giuliani, Trump’s attorney.
Cohen’s decision raises questions about whether he will ultimately testify publicly. He reports to prison for a three-year sentence on March 6.
Cummings declined to comment when asked by reporters on Capitol Hill.
Rep. Stephen Lynch, a senior member of the Oversight Committee, says he expects Cummings will issue a subpoena for Cohen’s testimony. Lynch, a Democrat from Massachusetts, said that he’s spoken with Cummings, and the “overwhelming consensus” among members of the committee is that Cohen should be subpoenaed. Lynch said that Cummings was still conferring with Democrats on his panel before making a final decision. He also said he didn’t believe Cohen’s concerns about security were valid.
Giuliani appeared on news shows over the weekend including CNN where he called Cohen “a serial liar.” On CNN’s “State of the Union,” host Jake Tapper asked Giuliani how Trump’s repeated calls for investigation into Cohen’s family members ahead of Cohen’s previously scheduled testimony did not amount to intimidating a witness or obstruction of Justice.
“We are so distorting the system of justice just to get Donald Trump, it’s going to hurt us so much,” Giuliani responded. When Tapper asked if it was OK to go after Cohen’s father-in-law, Giuliani responded, “it is, if the father-in-law is a criminal.”
Giuliani also said Sunday he did not know for sure if the President spoke with Cohen about his upcoming congressional testimony, but that it would not have been significant if Trump did.
“I don’t know if it happened or didn’t happen. It may be attorney-client privilege if it happened, where I can’t acknowledge it. But I have no knowledge that he spoke to him, but I’m telling you I wasn’t there then,” Giuliani said.
He continued, “So what if he talked to him about it?”
Giuliani said as far as he knew, Trump had not had discussions with Cohen where Trump “told him or counseled him to lie.”