Michael Cohen, the President’s former lawyer and long-time “fixer,” hired two new criminal defense lawyers after agreeing to testify before House Intelligence Committee on February 8 and the Senate Intelligence Committee a few days later.
The committee’s chairman, Representative Adam Schiff, announced Monday evening that Cohen would appear for “closed testimony” before the panel. President Donald Trump’s former lawyer has also been subpoenaed to appear before the Senate Intelligence Committee on February 12.
Schiff has shown interest in having Cohen appear behind closed doors as part of his committee’s own investigation into Russian election meddling and possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russians, The Hill reports.
Cohen previously volunteered to testify before the House Oversight and Reform Committee on February 7 but canceled that appearance due to threats from the President and his current lawyer Rudy Giuliani. Trump later said Cohen was only “threatened by the truth,” adding that he should instead “give information maybe on his father-in-law because that’s the one that people want to look at.”
On Monday, Schiff harshly criticized the President for his “improper” comments, which he said amounted to witness intimidation, tactics expected “from organized crime, not the White House.”
“Mr. Cohen has relayed to the committee his legitimate concerns for his own safety as well as that of his family, which have been fueled by improper comments made by the President and his lawyer.”
Cohen will, nonetheless, testify before the two congressional committees and has already started preparing for his appearance before them. The two new lawyers on his team, Michael Monico and Barry Spevack, “will represent Mr. Cohen going forward as he continues to cooperate with” special counsel Robert Mueller’s team, federal prosecutors in New York City, the New York state attorney general’s office, and congressional committees seeking his testimony, said Cohen’s legal advisor Lanny Davis.
Monico and Spevack said in a joint statement that they were looking forward to “helping Mr. Cohen fulfill what he has told us is his only mission – to tell the truth as he knows it and to turn the corner on his past life and taking ownership for his past mistakes by cooperating as best as he can with all governmental authorities in search of the truth.”