‘IT’S A LIE’: Cohen backs away from plea bargain claims

NEW YORK — Michael Cohen, who once served as President Donald Trump’s personal attorney, is walking back claims he made as part of his plea bargain according to a report published by the Wall Street Journal.

Cohen, who pled guilty to eight criminal charges, including campaign-finance violations regarding hush-money payments made to adult film star Stormy Daniels and Playboy Playmate Karen McDougal, now claims he did not commit tax evasion and that a criminal charge related to a home-equity line of credit was “a lie.”

“There is no tax evasion,” the Journal claims Cohen said during a secretly recorded phone call with former television star Tom Arnold, a vocal critic of the president. “And the Heloc? I have an 18% loan-to-value on my home. How could there be a Heloc issue? How? Right? . . . It’s a lie.”

During the call, Cohen, who is preparing to face a three-year prison sentence in exchange for testifying against the president, said he felt like a man “all alone.”

“You would think that you would have folks, you know, stepping up and saying, ‘You know what, this guy’s lost everything,'” Cohen said.

“My family’s happiness, and my law license. I lost my business . . . my insurance, my bank accounts, all for what? All for what? Because Trump, you know, had an affair with a porn star? That’s really what this is about.”

Cohen’s attorney, Lanny Davis, told CNN in response to the report that nothing Cohen said to Arnold during the course of the phone conversation “contradicts Mr. Cohen’s previous defense attorney, Guy Petrillo, in his sentencing memorandum to the presiding federal US District Court Judge William H. Pauley III back in December.”

“I would also add the important words used by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, and others, in describing Michael Cohen’s cooperation and testimony as ‘credible’ addressing the ‘core’ issues involved in his investigation,” Davis said.

According to the Journal report, Cohen told Arnold that he agreed to the plea deal in order to protect his wife.

“I love this woman,” Cohen said. “I am not going to let her get dragged into the mud of this crap, and I never thought the judge was going to throw a three-year fricking sentence.”

Cohen is scheduled to begin his prison sentence on May 6.

Trump and Cohen during a campaign stop at the New Spirit Revival Center church in Cleveland Heights, Ohio

WITCH HUNT: Records show Mueller targeted Cohen early on

NEW YORK (AP) — Hundreds of pages of court records made public Tuesday revealed that special counsel Robert Mueller quickly zeroed in on Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s former personal attorney and fixer, in the early stages of his Russia probe.

The heavily blacked-out records, released by a judge at the request of news organizations, show that Mueller was investigating Cohen by July 2017 — much earlier than previously known.

That was two months after Mueller was appointed to investigate Moscow’s election interference and practically a year before an FBI raid on Cohen’s home and office.

The full scope of Mueller’s interest in Cohen is not clear from the documents, which include search warrant applications and other records. More extensive files from the special counsel investigation remain under seal in Washington.

But the documents made public Tuesday show that Mueller’s investigators early on began looking into possible misrepresentations Cohen made to banks to shore up his financially troubled taxi business.

They were also initially interested in money that was flowing into Cohen’s bank accounts from consulting contracts he signed after Trump got elected. Prosecutors were looking into whether Cohen failed to register as a foreign agent.

Some of the payments he received were from companies with strong foreign ties, including a Korean aerospace company, a bank in Kazakhstan and an investment firm affiliated with a Russian billionaire.

By February 2018, though, the records show Mueller had handed off portions of his investigation to federal prosecutors in Manhattan. And by the spring of 2018, those prosecutors had expanded their investigation to include payments Cohen made to buy the silence of porn star Stormy Daniels and a Playboy centerfold, both of whom claimed to have had affairs with Trump.

The newly released documents indicate authorities continue to probe campaign violations connected to those hush money payments. Nearly 20 pages related to the matter were blacked out at the direction of a judge who said he wanted to protect an ongoing investigation by New York prosecutors.

Where that investigation is headed is unclear. But prosecutors have said Trump himself directed Cohen to arrange the hush money. The president has denied any wrongdoing.

Cohen ultimately pleaded guilty to campaign finance violations over those payments. He also pleaded guilty to tax evasion, making false statements to banks and lying to Congress about Trump’s plans to build a skyscraper in Moscow. He was not charged with failing to register as a foreign agent.

He is scheduled to begin serving a three-year prison sentence in May.

Lanny Davis, an attorney for Cohen, said Tuesday that the release of the search warrants “furthers his interest in continuing to cooperate and providing information and the truth about Donald Trump and the Trump Organization to law enforcement and Congress.”

The FBI raided Cohen’s Manhattan home and office last April — the first public sign of a criminal investigation that has proved an embarrassment for Trump.

The newly released records show that several months earlier, in July 2017, Mueller’s office got a judge to grant him authority to read 18 months’ worth of Cohen’s emails.

In their investigation, Mueller’s prosecutors also obtained Cohen’s telephone records and went so far as to use a high-tech tool known as a Stingray or Triggerfish to pinpoint the location of his cellphones.

FBI agents also scoured Cohen’s hotel room and safe deposit box and seized more than 4 million electronic and paper files, more than a dozen mobile devices and iPads, 20 external hard drives, flash drives and laptops.

Both Cohen and Trump cried foul at the time over the raids, with Cohen’s attorney calling them “completely inappropriate and unnecessary” and the president taking to Twitter to declare that “Attorney-client privilege is dead!”

A court-ordered review ultimately found only a fraction of the seized material to be privileged.

Tuesday’s release of documents came nearly six weeks after U.S. District Judge William H. Pauley III partially granted a request by several media organizations, including The Associated Press, that the search warrant be made public because of the high public interest in the case.

But he ordered certain material withheld, acknowledging prosecutors’ concerns that a wholesale release of the documents “would jeopardize an ongoing investigation and prejudice the privacy rights of uncharged third parties.”

“The unsealed records provide significant insight into the investigations of Michael Cohen and serve as an important safeguard for public accountability,” AP’s director of media relations, Lauren Easton, said Tuesday.

David E. McCraw, vice president and deputy general counsel for The New York Times, which initiated the request for the documents, said he is hopeful Pauley will approve the release of additional materials in May after the government updates the judge on its investigation.

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Jim Mustian and Larry Neumeister of the Associated Press contributed to the contents of this report.

 

Former Trump Lawyer Michael Cohen Attends His Sentencing Hearing
NEW YORK, NY – DECEMBER 12: Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s former personal attorney and fixer, exits federal court after his sentencing hearing, December 12, 2018 in New York City. Cohen was sentenced to 3 years in prison after pleading guilty in August to several charges, including multiple counts of tax evasion, a campaign finance violation and lying to Congress. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

TRUMP BETRAYED: Cohen turns over docs on Moscow to House panel

WASHINGTON (AP) — Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s former lawyer, turned over documents to lawmakers Wednesday as he tried to back up his claims that a false statement he delivered to Congress in 2017 was edited by the president’s attorneys, two people familiar with the case said.

It’s unclear who edited the documents or what exactly was changed.

But in public testimony last week on Capitol Hill, Cohen said Trump’s attorneys, including Jay Sekulow, had reviewed and edited the written statement he provided to Congress in 2017. Cohen acknowledged in a guilty plea last year that he misled lawmakers by saying he had abandoned the Trump Tower Moscow project in January 2016, when in fact he pursued it for months after that as Trump campaigned for the presidency.

At issue is whether Trump or his lawyers knew that Cohen’s statement to Congress would be false, and whether the attorneys had any direct role in crafting it. Cohen has said he believed the president wanted him to lie, but he also said Trump never directed him to do so. It’s also unclear whether any of the president’s lawyers knew the truth about when the Trump Tower negotiations had ended.

Sekulow has flatly denied ever editing any statement about the duration of the project.

“Testimony by Michael Cohen that attorneys for the President edited or changed his statement to Congress to alter the duration of the Trump Tower Moscow negotiations is completely false,” Sekulow said in a statement last week.

Cohen appeared behind closed doors Wednesday before the House intelligence committee, his fourth day of testimony on Capitol Hill as he prepares for a three-year prison sentence for lying to Congress and other charges.

Cohen has become a key figure in congressional investigations since turning on his former boss and cooperating with special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe. During last week’s public testimony, he called Trump a con man, a cheat and a racist. He was also interviewed privately by both the Senate and House intelligence committees last week.

“I will continue to cooperate to the fullest extent of my capabilities,” Cohen said in a short statement to reporters after he finished Wednesday’s testimony.

Among the issues discussed in Cohen’s closed-door interviews last week was a pardon, according to people familiar with those interviews. They spoke on condition of anonymity to reveal the confidential discussion.

Cohen told Congress last week that he had never asked for and would not accept a pardon from Trump. But that may not be the full story.

According to people with knowledge of the situation, a lawyer for Cohen expressed interest to the Trump legal team in a possible pardon for his client after a raid last April on Cohen’s hotel room, home and office. The people spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss it publicly.

The president’s attorneys were noncommittal during the conversation with Cohen’s lawyer, the people said. Cohen did not participate in the conversation.

No pardon was given, and Cohen ultimately pleaded guilty and is cooperating against the president in separate investigations by the special counsel and by federal prosecutors in New York.

Asked about the pardon issue Tuesday evening, another Cohen attorney, Lanny Davis, said his client was speaking carefully during his public testimony. He acknowledged on MSNBC that Cohen “was certainly looking at the option of a pardon” before he decided to come clean and turn on Trump.

But since then, Davis said, Cohen has been clear that he wouldn’t accept a pardon.

There is nothing inherently improper about a subject in a criminal investigation seeking a pardon from a president given the president’s wide latitude in granting them. But lawmakers have requested information about talks on possible pardons for Cohen and other defendants close to the president who have become entangled in Mueller’s investigation.

The intelligence committee investigation is one of several probes Democrats have launched in recent weeks as they delve deeper into Trump’s political and personal dealings.

On Monday, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., sent 81 letters to Trump’s family and associates seeking documents and information. Nadler said he would investigate possible obstruction of justice, corruption and abuse of power.

Cohen pleaded guilty to lying to Congress about the duration of negotiations over the Trump real estate project in Moscow. In addition, he pleaded guilty to campaign finance violations for his involvement in payments to two women who allege they had sex with Trump, which Trump denies.

Federal prosecutors in New York have said Trump directed Cohen to arrange the payments to buy the silence of porn actress Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal in the run-up to the 2016 campaign. Cohen told a judge that he agreed to cover up Trump’s “dirty deeds” out of “blind loyalty.”

Cohen said in his Oversight testimony that Trump directed him to arrange the hush-money payment to Daniels. He said the president arranged to reimburse Cohen, and Cohen took to the hearing a check that he said was proof of the transaction.

Trump has said Cohen “did bad things unrelated to Trump” and “is lying in order to reduce his prison time.”

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Mary Clare Jalonick and Eric Tucker of The Associated Press contributed to the contents of this report.

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BOMBSHELLS ON THE HILL: Cohen slams Trump during hearing as GOP attempts to assassinate his credibility

WASHINGTON (Fox News) — Michael Cohen, the former fixer about to begin a three-year prison term, completed his renunciation of President Trump during an explosive congressional hearing Wednesday that left no room for reconciliation – calling his former boss a racist, testifying he was aware of an adviser’s talks with WikiLeaks about stolen Democratic emails during the 2016 campaign and alleging he oversaw an array of illicit schemes during the 10 years they worked together.

“He is a racist. He is a conman. And he is a cheat,” Cohen testified, setting the tone for the hearing. After outlining numerous alleged misdeeds by Trump, Cohen expressed regret and repeated the refrain “yet I continued to work for him.”

Yet Cohen stopped short of saying he had evidence that Trump’s presidential campaign colluded with Russia in 2016, asserting he had only “suspicions.” And Republicans on the House Oversight Committee repeatedly struck at Cohen’s credibility, pointing out that he is a convicted liar and suggesting he only turned on Trump after not landing a White House job.

“You’re behaving just like everyone else who got fired or didn’t get the job they wanted,” Ohio GOP Rep. Jim Jordan, the ranking member on the committee, said. Cohen denied this to be the case.

The fiery testimony marked a remarkable turn for someone who once claimed he’d be willing to take a bullet for Trump.

Cohen came to the hearing with a slew of exhibits, including checks he says are proof for his previous claims that Trump organized hush-money payments to two women, including adult film star Stormy Daniels, who claimed affairs with Trump during the campaign. He accused Trump of being involved in a “criminal scheme to violate campaign finance laws.”

“I am going to jail in part because of my decision to help Mr. Trump hide that payment from the American people before they voted a few days later,” said Cohen, who worked as Trump’s personal lawyer.

He waded into the investigation over Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election, accusing Trump of knowing that an adviser, Roger Stone, was reaching out to WikiLeaks about the publication of stolen Democratic National Committee emails during the campaign. Trump has denied advance knowledge.

On Wednesday, Stone denied the claim, telling Fox News: “Mr. Cohen’s statement is not true.” WikiLeaks also released a statement saying, “WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange has never had a telephone call with Roger Stone.”

Cohen did not claim Trump directed those communications. He specifically asserted that he lacks direct evidence of improper collusion by the Trump campaign with Russia.

“Questions have been raised about whether I know of direct evidence that Mr. Trump or his campaign colluded with Russia,” Cohen testified. “I do not. I want to be clear. But, I have my suspicions.”

Still, Democrats pushed an unproven theory that Trump, along with his family, could be compromised by the Russians. “Is it possible the whole family is conflicted or compromised with a foreign adversary in the months before the election?” Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the former chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, asked Cohen. Wasserman led the committee when emails were hacked.

“Yes,” Cohen replied.

Under questioning from Illinois Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, Cohen suggested the Southern District of New York could be investigating the president for other crimes. “Is there any other wrongdoing or illegal act that you are aware of regarding Donald Trump that we haven’t yet discussed today?” Krishnamoorthi asked.

“Yes and again those are part of the investigation currently being looked at by the Southern District of New York,” Cohen said.

Cohen, under questioning from New York Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, claimed Trump reported inflated estimates of his assets to insurance companies.

Cohen said he began questioning his loyalty to Trump after the Trump-Putin summit in Helskini in 2018 and the white supremacist violence in Charlottesville in 2017.

The much-awaited hearing began with fireworks, as Republicans portrayed Cohen as a liar and unsuccessfully moved to postpone the hearing. In his opening statement, Democratic Chairman Elijah Cummings acknowledged that Cohen “repeatedly lied in the past,” calling it an “important factor we need to weigh.” He said if Cohen doesn’t tell the truth, he’ll refer him to the Justice Department for prosecution.

But Cummings said the hearing is important for understanding the president’s past actions, saying “the days of this committee protecting the president at all costs are over.”

Jordan, the ranking member on the committee, ripped Democrats for calling Cohen to testify, accusing Democrats of holding the hearing so they can later try to impeach the president.

“The first announced witness for the 116th Congress is a guy who is going to prison in two months for lying to Congress,” Jordan said.

Cohen admitted telling falsities in the past, but said he’s coming clean now: “I have lied, but I am not a liar. I have done bad things, but I am not a bad man.” He said he would not ask for or accept a pardon from Trump.

Among other claims, Cohen on Wednesday pointed to an “unusual” episode in Trump Tower in approximately June 2016, when Donald Trump, Jr. supposedly whispered about a “meeting” in Trump’s ear — followed allegedly by Trump’s reply, “Ok, good. Let me know.”

According to Cohen, “nothing went on in Trump world, especially the campaign, without Mr. Trump’s knowledge and approval.”

“So, I concluded that Don Jr. was referring to that June 2016 Trump Tower meeting about dirt on Hillary with the Russian representative when he walked behind his dad’s desk that day,” he said.

That meeting has long been a subject of contention, with participants supposedly promised dirt on Clinton, despite subsequent claims that the meeting dealt instead with other topics. Trump has maintained that he did not know in advance about the meeting — backing up Trump Jr., who told the Senate Judiciary Committee the same thing in September 2017 and would face potential criminal liability if he were lying.

Cohen outlined a slew of other alleged misdeeds by Trump, including lying about his total assets to reduce his taxes and even trying to strong-arm academic officials into keeping his SAT scores and grades secret. And he repeatedly accused Trump of racism.

“While we were once driving through a struggling neighborhood in Chicago, he commented that only black people could live that way,” Cohen said. “And, he told me that black people would never vote for him because they were too stupid. And yet I continued to work for him.”

Early Wednesday, Trump tweeted that Cohen was “lying in order to reduce his prison time,” and referred to published reports that Cohen had been disbarred by the New York State Supreme Court. The president was tweeting from Hanoi, Vietnam — where he is attending a summit meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

As the hearing began Wednesday, North Carolina Republican Rep. Mark Meadows interrupted to say Cohen’s prepared testimony was not received by the committee 24 hours in advance in violation of committee rules, calling for a postponement of the hearing.

“It was an intentional effort by this witness and his advisers to once again show his disdain for this body,” Meadows said. Cummings admitted the committee received the testimony “late last night.” The Democratic-controlled committee voted to reject the GOP call to postpone.

Cohen, under questioning from Republicans, admitted he spoke with Democratic leaders in Congress, including Cummings and Senate Intelligence Committee ranking member Adam Schiff, before his testimony.

As for his future, Cohen would not rule out making money on a book or movie deal or as a paid television commentator. He said he would not rule out running for office in New York one day.

Wednesday’s hearing is one of three congressional hearings this week where Cohen is expected to testify against his former boss. He testified Tuesday before the Senate Intelligence Committee, and on Thursday, Cohen appears before the House Intelligence Committee – though both are behind closed doors.

Trump’s presidential campaign blasted Cohen in a statement Wednesday afternoon.

“Michael Cohen is a felon, a disbarred lawyer, and a convicted perjurer, who lied to both Congress and the Special Counsel in a ‘deliberate and premeditated’ fashion according to the special counsel’s office,” press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said. “Now he offers what he says is evidence, but the only support for that is his own testimony, which has proven before to be worthless.”

Cohen was originally scheduled to report to jail on March 6 to begin serving a three-year sentence after he pleaded guilty to campaign finance and other violations last year. He is now scheduled to report to jail May 6.

In December, Cohen was sentenced to three years in prison after pleading guilty to campaign finance violations, tax evasion and lying to Congress. He agreed to cooperate with prosecutors as part of a deal. The charges against Cohen arose from two separate investigations – one by federal prosecutors in New York, and the other by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

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Fox News’ Lillian LeCroy, Gregg Re and The Associated Press contributed to the contents of this report.

 

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NAPOLITANO: Proceed with caution when it comes to believing Cohen

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump’s former attorney Michael Cohen’s upcoming testimony before key House committees shouldn’t be believed unless he’s able to substantiate his claims, Judge Andrew Napolitano said Tuesday.

“This dynamite piece that The Wall Street Journal says he is going to testify that President Trump committed crimes while in office,” Fox News’ judicial analyst told “Fox and Friends” on Tuesday Morning. “The source wouldn’t say exactly what these alleged crimes are, but no prosecutor would put Michael Cohen on the stand and assert that he is credible without a mountain of corroborating evidence to support him.”

That evidence will likely not appear, said Napolitano, citing the fact that Cohen will not be under oath

This is not a legal hearing,” said Napolitano. “This is not a courtroom where you put a witness on the stand and corroborate them. This is a political gathering. They don’t care about corroboration.”

Cohen, who is expected to make some of Trump’s private financial statements public and worked for Trump for more than 10 years, is scheduled to appear before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday and on Wednesday before the House Oversight Committee.

Cohen’s planned testimony comes more than 13 months after The Wall Street Journal reported that he paid $130,000 in “hush money” to former adult-film star Stormy Daniels to buy her silence after an alleged sexual encounter with Donald Trump prior to his presidency.

Cohen claims he made the payment to Daniels under the direct orders of then-presidential candidate Trump.

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REPORT: Cohen subpoenaed to testify before Senate Intel Committee

WASHINGTON (The Hill) — President Trump’s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen has been subpoenaed to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee, his spokesman and attorney Lanny Davis confirmed.

“This morning the Senate Intelligence Committee served Michael Cohen with a subpoena,” Davis, an opinion contributor to The Hill, said in a brief statement Thursday.

CNN was first to report the news, saying Cohen was subpoenaed to testify in mid-February before he reports to federal prison.

Cohen was interviewed by committee staff in fall 2017 as part of its ongoing investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Since then, he has pleaded guilty to lying to Congress about plans to build a Trump property in Moscow and agreed to cooperate in a separate federal probe run by special counsel Robert Mueller.

Committee Chairman Richard Burr (R-N.C.) has repeatedly signaled the committee would like to bring Cohen back for questioning, raising the possibility he could be subpoenaed if he did not agree to a return appearance. The committee has conducted most of its interviews behind closed doors.

A spokesman for the committee declined to comment.

The subpoena comes one day after Cohen postponed his scheduled testimony before the House Oversight and Reform Committee on Feb. 7, citing threats from Trump. That appearance was supposed to be in public.

It remains unclear whether Cohen plans to fight the subpoena to appear before the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Cohen has attracted massive attention since April, when a recommendation from Mueller triggered a federal raid of his office and hotel room.

In August, Cohen pleaded guilty to a slew of federal charges, including campaign finance violations stemming from a scheme to pay off women who alleged affairs with Trump before the 2016 election. Cohen implicated Trump in the payment schemes, but the president has denied any wrongdoing. Cohen later pleaded guilty in connection with the Mueller investigation and the special counsel has signaled he offered valuable information.

Trump has attacked his onetime confidant as a liar willing to peddle falsities to prosecutors in order to obtain a lighter prison sentence. In an interview with Fox News’s Jeanine Pirro earlier this month, Trump said Cohen should “give information maybe on his father-in-law, because that’s the one that people want to look at.” Democrats have suggested those comments amounted to witness tampering.

Davis said in a statement Wednesday that Cohen would postpone his testimony to the Oversight and Reform Committee “due to ongoing threats against his family” from Trump and Trump’s attorney Rudy Giuliani.

Cohen was sentenced to three years in federal prison in December for his crimes. He is due to report to jail in early March.

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IN HIDING: Ex-Trump lawyer Cohen delays testimony to Congress citing ‘threats’ from Trump, Giuliani

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer will postpone his public testimony to Congress says his attorney Lanny Davis.

Cohen, who last August pleaded guilty to lying to Congress about a proposed Trump project in Russia and to arranging “hush money” payments to two women who claimed to have had romantic relationships with Trump prior to his 2016 presidential campaign, was scheduled to appear before the House Oversight and Reform Committee on Feb. 7.

In a statement, Davis said Cohen’s delayed appearance is on the advice of his attorneys. Davis claimed his client has received “multiple threats” from both President Donald Trump and Trump’s attorney, Rudy Giuliani, since agreeing to appear before the panel as part of a plea bargain he struck with federal prosecutors. Davis did not elaborate as to what those threats entailed.

“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,” Davis said.

“This is a time where Mr. Cohen had to put his family and their safety first,” Davis said, adding that his client “looks forward to testifying at the appropriate time.”

During a press conference at the White House on Wednesday, Trump denied the allegations.

“He’s only been threatened by the truth,” the president told reporters.

Cohen’s planned testimony is expected to be centered around Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s ongoing investigation into alleged collusion between the Trump and Russia to influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.

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GINGRICH: Buzzfeed report alleging Trump ordered Cohen to lie an ‘absurdity’

WASHINGTON — Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich came out swinging in defense of President Donald Trump on Friday against allegations by Buzzfeed that Trump ordered one-time personal attorney Michael Cohen to lie to Congress on his behalf.

“This is an absurdity,” Gingrich said during an appearance on Fox News’ “Fox and Friends.” “The news media will take any possible negative about Trump and maximize it whether it’s true or not, because it fits their bias and the degree to which they dislike.”

Gingrich also said that only the “modern liberal” would be gullible enough to believe that a sitting president would instruct someone to lie during congressional testimony.

Gingrich, a fellow Republican, has been one of the president’s most staunch defenders in the ongoing investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller to determine whether or not Trump colluded with Russia to influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.

Gingrich also took the opportunity during this Fox appearance to bash a New York Times report which suggested that Trump was secretly a “Russian agent”.

“The New York Times had a story last week about Trump was a Russian agent as the huge headline,” said Gingrich. “You get to paragraph nine they say you know there’s actually no factual evidence of any kind…if The New York Times can take trivia and trash and turn it into a page one story why can’t BuzzFeed?”

During a federal court hearing in New York last August, Cohen testified that Trump had ordered him to arrange “hush money” payments during his 2016 election campaign to two women with whom he is alleged to have had extra-marital affairs, a violation of federal campaign laws. Cohen also pled guilty to lying to Congress about a proposed Trump project in Russia.

As part of a plea agreement with prosecutors, Cohen agreed to testify before Congress. He is scheduled to appear before a congressional panel sometime next month.

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REPORT: ‘Fear’ prompting Cohen to reconsider testimony before Congress

WASHINGTON — “Fear” is causing former Trump attorney Michael Cohen to reconsider his planned testimony before Congress next month, his advisor said on Thursday.

Lanny Davis, a lawyer who’s been serving as an advisor to Cohen on his public relations strategy, told MSNBC that some remarks made by the president about Cohen equated to witness tampering and that Trump should be criminally investigated.

“There is genuine fear and it has caused Michael Cohen to consider whether he should go forward or not, and he has not made a final decision,” Davis said.

Davis called the president out on a myriad of issues during the interview, but particularly on comments Trump made during a Fox News interview on Saturday in which he insinuated that he may have dirt on Cohen’s father-in-law.

“That’s the one that people want to look at,” Trump told Fox.

Trump’s remarks “could be obstruction of justice,” Davis said.

“There is no question that his threatening and calling out his father-in-law, who – quote – has all the money, is not only improper and unseemly for a bully using the bully pulpit of the presidency,” said Davis, “but the very definition of intimidation and witness tampering.”

During a federal court hearing in New York last August, Cohen testified that Trump had ordered him to arrange “hush money” payments during his 2016 election campaign to two women with whom he is alleged to have had extra-marital affairs, a violation of federal campaign laws. Cohen also pled guilty to lying to Congress about a proposed Trump project in Russia.

As part of a plea agreement with prosecutors, Cohen agreed to testify before Congress in regard to several ongoing investigations relating to whether or not the president or members of his former campaign team colluded with Russia to influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.

Trump has denied allegations of such collusion.

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DEMS MAKE THEIR MOVE: Trump says he’s ‘not worried at all’ by reports Cohen will testify

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Thursday said he’s “not worried about it at all” about news that former attorney Michael Cohen will testify before Congress.

Cohen, who was sentenced last month to three years in prison for crimes including orchestrating “hush money” payments to two of the president’s former lovers in violation of campaign finance laws, is scheduled to testify next month before a Democratic-led House Oversight and Reform Committee chaired by Rep. Elijah Cummings.

Cohen is expected to face tough questioning by Democrats about the payments he now says he arranged on Trump’s behalf to keep details about the president’s extramarital affair allegations from being revealed during the 2016 presidential election.

“I’m not worried about it at all,” Trump said when asked about Cohen’s planned testimony during a trip Thursday to visit border patrol agents in Texas.

Cohen’s agreement to testify against Trump was central to a plea deal he arranged with prosecutors last year.

In a statement released Thursday by his attorney Lanny Davis, Cohen said:

“In furtherance of my commitment to cooperate and provide the American people with answers, I have accepted the invitation by Chairman Elijah Cummings to appear publicly on February 7th before the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

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.”

Last week the House of Representatives and it’s related committees came under the control of the new Democratic majority, which has vowed to use its powers to investigate Donald Trump and his administration.

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