Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s former personal attorney, is putting off his planned congressional testimony, citing threats to him and his family by Trump and his current lawyer, Rudy Giuliani. Cohen was scheduled to testify publicly on February 7.
“By advice of counsel, Mr. Cohen’s appearance will be postponed to a later date,” Lanny Davis, Cohen’s lawyer, 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.”
“This is a time where Mr. Cohen had to put his family and their safety first,” Davis added.
Ever since Cohen agreed to cooperate with the special counsel’s investigation into the Trump campaign’s potential ties to Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, Trump has been attacking his former longtime fixer as a “rat” and claiming, without evidence, that Cohen had been lying to get a reduced prison sentence. The president has also appeared to threaten Cohen’s father-in-law.
Some observers pointed to the announcement Wednesday as evidence that the president was tampering with a witness.
Cohen’s prison sentence, for crimes that included lying to Congress about the hush money he paid to porn star Stormy Daniels and another woman on Trump’s behalf, is slated to begin on March 6, which leaves Cohen less than a month to reschedule his testimony.
“We understand that Mr. Cohen’s wife and other family members fear for their safety after these attacks, and we have repeatedly offered our assistance to work with law enforcement to enhance security measures for Mr. Cohen and his family,” Rep. Elijah Cummings, chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, and Rep. Adam Schiff, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said in a joint statement.
“This will not stop us from getting to the truth,” the statement continued. “We expect Mr. Cohen to appear before both Committees, and we remain engaged with his counsel about his upcoming appearances.”