Jan. 10 (UPI) — President Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, is scheduled to testify before the House oversight committee in connection to hush payments he made to an adult film star who said she had an affair with the president.
Cohen voluntarily agreed to appear before the panel Feb. 7, committee Chairman Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., said. It will be the committee’s first hearing since Democrats took over as majority in the House.
“Last November, the American people voted overwhelmingly for Congress to do two things — address the core issues that affect their daily lives, and fulfill our constitutional responsibility to serve as an independent check and balance on the executive branch by restoring accountability and transparency,” Cummings said in a statement announcing the committee’s upcoming schedule.
“This initial set of hearings will serve both goals by launching our broad review of the skyrocketing prices of prescription drugs, hearing directly from President Trump’s longtime personal attorney, and focusing on sweeping legislative reforms to strengthen our democracy in [anti-corruption legislation] H.R. 1.”
The oversight committee said Cummings re-sent letters to the White House and the Trump Organization seeking documents related to payments Cohen made to “silence women” who said they had affairs with Trump prior to the 2016 election.
“I look forward to having the privilege of being afforded a platform with which to give a full and credible account of the events which have transpired,” Cohen said in a statement issued to CNN.
On Dec. 12, a federal judge sentenced Cohen to three years in prison on nine counts, including tax evacuation, excessive campaign contribution, causing an unlawful corporate contribution and false statements to a bank for arranging to pay two women to keep silent about the affair allegations.
In the plea agreement, Cohen said he paid $130,000 to adult film star Stormy Daniels — also known as Stephanie Clifford — shortly before the 2016 presidential election for her to keep quiet about an affair she said she had with Trump after he married first lady Melania Trump. Cohen said he made the payment “at the direction of the candidate,” referring to Trump. Cohen said he also paid former Playboy Karen McDougal, who also said she had an affair with Trump.
Trump has denied both affairs.
Cohen also faced legal troubles related to special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 election and potential collusion by the Trump campaign. One of the counts for which he was sentenced in December — lying to Congress — stems from statements he made to lawmakers about how much Trump knew about plans to build a Trump Tower in Moscow during his campaign.
The Justice Department charged Cohen for telling House and Senate committees last year that a plan to build a Trump Tower in Moscow ended in January 2016. But prosecutors said development continued after that date.
Trump said multiple times he had no business dealings in Russia — and Cohen told lawmakers he never contacted anyone in Russia about the real estate project. The indictment said Cohen, in fact, spoke on the phone with a Russian intermediary for help with the development. Cohen also admitted to discussing the deal with Trump.