Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, the Chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, has announced that the Committee has rescheduled its public hearing with President Donald Trump’s longtime personal attorney, Michael Cohen, for 10 a.m. on Wednesday, February 27, 2019.
“I am pleased to announce that Michael Cohen’s public testimony before the Oversight Committee is back on, despite efforts by some to intimidate his family members and prevent him from appearing. Congress has an obligation under the Constitution to conduct independent and robust oversight of the Executive Branch, and this hearing is one step in that process.”
“Michael Cohen will come before the Oversight and House Intelligence Committees next week. Congress has an independent duty under the Constitution to conduct oversight of the Executive Branch, and any efforts to intimidate family members or pressure witnesses will not be tolerated,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi warned Trump.
Cummings also released an official briefing memo outlining the scope of the hearing. The memo explains that after consulting with the Department of Justice and with Chairman Adam Schiff of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, Cummings set the scope for the hearing to address President Trump’s payoffs, financial disclosures, compliance with campaign finance laws, business practices, and other matters.
The next day, on February 28, Cohen will appear in closed session before the Intelligence Committee. The scope of the Oversight Committee’s open public hearing will not include questions relating to the Intelligence Committee’s investigation of efforts by Russia to influence the 2016 election that allegedly helped Trump win fraudulently.
As the President’s personal attorney and “fixer” for more than a decade, Cohen can provide the Committee and the American people with key testimony about why he went from one of the President’s staunchest defenders to one of his most vocal critics, as well as describe his concerns about the President’s actions since assuming office.
On January 8, 2019, Cummings sent letters to the White House and the Trump Organization renewing his previous requests from four months earlier for documents related to President Trump’s apparent failure to report debts and payments to Mr. Cohen to silence women alleging extramarital affairs before the election.
Last Friday, on February 15, Cummings sent new letters to the White House and the Trump Organization along with documents obtained from federal officials at the Office of Government Ethics—the office charged with overseeing the President’s financial disclosure forms—showing that lawyers representing President repeatedly provided false information to ethics officials, including “evolving stories” about whether payments were made to Cohen and the purposes of those payments.
The White House and the Trump Organization have until this Friday, February 22, to inform the Committee whether they intend to comply voluntarily with the Committee’s document requests “or whether the Committee should consider alternative means to obtain compliance.”
The hearing is open to the public and a live video stream will be broadcast here.
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