Michael Cohen, former personal lawyer to U.S. President Donald Trump, arrives at federal court with his daughter Samantha Cohen, left, in New York on Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2018. MUST CREDIT: Bloomberg photo by Peter Foley

Michael Cohen, former personal lawyer to U.S. President Donald Trump, arrives at federal court with his daughter Samantha Cohen, left, in New York on Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2018. MUST CREDIT: Bloomberg photo by Peter Foley

Cohen expected to claim lying, racism and cheating by Trump

Trump’s former personal ‘fixer’ begins three days of congressional appearances on Tuesday

President Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, is expected to give a behind-the-scenes account of what he will claim is Trump’s lying, racism and cheating, and possibly even criminal conduct, when he testifies publicly before a House committee on Wednesday, according to a person with knowledge of the matter.

Cohen is expected to provide what he will claim is evidence, in the form of documents, of Trump’s conduct, said the person, who requested anonymity to discuss the confidential testimony.

Trump’s former personal “fixer” begins three days of congressional appearances on Tuesday in a closed-door interview with the Senate intelligence committee. The public won’t have a chance to hear from him until Wednesday, when he testifies before the House Oversight and Reform Committee. He will go behind closed doors again when he talks to the House intelligence committee on Thursday.

Lawmakers are alternately suspicious of Cohen, who is set to serve time in prison for lying to the House and Senate intelligence committees in 2017, and eager to hear what Cohen has to say after he turned on his longtime boss. Senators on the intelligence panel are expected to attend Tuesday’s meeting, a departure from the committee’s usual practice, where witness interviews are conducted by staff only.

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr told The Associated Press that senators will have staff ask questions but will be in the room to observe. He said no topics will be off limits and Cohen “should expect to get any question from anywhere about anything.”

Burr said committee members know a lot more than they did when they first interviewed Cohen, who later pleaded guilty to lying to the House and Senate intelligence committees about abandoning a proposal for a Trump Tower in Moscow in January 2016. Cohen has since acknowledged he continued pursuing the project for months after that.

Burr suggested that the committee will take steps to ensure Cohen is telling the truth.

“I’m sure there will be some questions we know the answers to, so we’ll test him to see whether in fact he’ll be truthful this time,” Burr said.

As a close confidant of Trump for many years, Cohen’s testimony is among the most anticipated since the House and Senate started investigating the Trump campaign’s Russia ties two years ago. In addition to lying to Congress, Cohen pleaded guilty last year to campaign finance violations for his involvement in payments to two women who allege they had affairs with Trump. He is set to begin a three-year prison sentence in May.

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.

Trump denies the allegations and says that Cohen lied to get a lighter sentence.

The person with knowledge of the matter said Cohen will provide information about Trump’s financial statements that he will claim shows Trump deflated assets to pay lower taxes on golf courses; will provide details of the Daniels payment and claim that Trump organized a coverup by pretending Cohen would be repaid; and claim that Trump talked to him and asked him questions about the Trump Moscow project throughout 2016.

He is also expected to discuss what he knows about a meeting between Trump campaign associates and a Russian lawyer in Trump Tower before the 2016 election, a matter that is of particular interest to special counsel Robert Mueller and congressional investigators.

Cohen is only expected to discuss matters related to Russia in the closed-door interviews with the intelligence committees, as House Oversight and Reform Chairman Elijah Cummings has said he doesn’t want to interfere with Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and links to Trump’s campaign.

Members of the Oversight panel are expected to ask questions about the campaign finance violations, Trump’s business practices and compliance with tax laws and “the accuracy of the president’s public statements,” according to a memo laying out the scope of that hearing. The hearing’s scope does not include Russia.

Cohen’s week of interviews come as House Democrats launch multiple investigations into Trump’s ties to Russia and conflict-of-interest issues within the administration. House Republicans in the last Congress investigated whether Trump’s campaign co-ordinated with Russia, but ended that probe over Democratic objections, saying that there was no evidence that they did so. The Senate’s Russia investigation is ongoing.

Cohen had been scheduled to speak to the three committees earlier this month, but rescheduled all of those appearances for different reasons. He said he needed to recover from surgery and also was concerned about what he considered to be threats to his family from Trump and the president’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff postponed Cohen’s appearance before that committee saying it was “in the interests of the investigation,” with no additional details.

Mary Clare Jalonick And Michael R. Sisak, The Associated Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Ed taking a break during the Christie Mountain Fire in the summer of 2020 to walk one of evacuated dogs (Photo contributed by ALERT).
ALERT spotlights two team members for National Volunteer Week

Animal Lifeline Emergency Response Team (ALERT) spotlights two volunteers for National Volunteer week

Windsurfers enjoying a windstorm on Skaha Lake in Penticton on March 28, 2021. (Sandy Steck Photography)
Wind warning issued for Okanagan Valley

Boaters are being warned of gusts up to 70 km/h by late afternoon on Sunday

A Kelowna Pride Festival 2019 participant holds up a flag. (Kelowna Pride Society)
Kelowna Pride, RCMP continue to work on ‘Safe Place Program’

A new committee has been formed to refine the ‘Safe Place Program’ created by the Kelowna RCMP

Ellison Elementary School in Kelowna. (Google Maps photo)
Two more Kelowna schools record COVID-19 exposures

Interior Health is confirming COVID-19 exposures at two schools in Kelowna

A strange odour at a West Kelowna apartment building prompted the evacuation of 150 residents on Sunday morning, April 18. (Aaron Hemens - Capital News)
Strange smell at West Kelowna apartment prompts evacuation of 150 residents, pets

150 residents ordered evacuated from a West Kelowna apartment building early Sunday morning

Flow Academy is located at 1511 Sutherland Avenue in Kelowna. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
Black Press Media Weekly Roundup: Top headlines this week

Here’s a quick roundup of the stories that made headlines across the Okanagan, from April 11 to 16

A North Okanagan man in his late 20s was flown to hospital by air ambulance Saturday, April 17, shortly after 6:30 p.m. after allegedly crashing on his longboard on a Spallumcheen roadway. (File photo)
Suspected longboard crash in Okanagan sends individual to hospital via air ambulance

Accident involved a North Okanagan man in his late 20s on Otter Lake Road in Spallumcheen

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during Question Period in the House of Commons Tuesday December 8, 2020 in Ottawa. The stage is set for arguably the most important federal budget in recent memory, as the Liberal government prepares to unveil its plan for Canada’s post-pandemic recovery even as a third wave of COVID-19 rages across the country. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Election reticence expected to temper political battle over federal budget

Opposition parties have laid out their own demands in the weeks leading up to the budget

Coldstream Fire Department crews stationed at Kal Lake Provincial Park parking lot on Cosens Bay Road on Sunday, April 18, after a car went over a cliff in the area. (Roger Knox - Morning Star)
Driver escapes after car goes over North Okanagan cliff

The driver has been transported to hospital with unspecified injuries

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Vernon Vipers goalie Roan Clarke celebrates his team’s 3-2 B.C. Hockey League pod play shootout win over the Salmon Arm Silverbacks Saturday, April 17, at Kal Tire Place. (Lisa Mazurek - Vernon Vipers Photography)
Vernon Vipers use shootout to subdue Salmon Arm

Snakes score 3-2 B.C. Hockey League pod play win at Kal Tire Place

This is what’s left of a truck that caught fire at Pyramid Provincial Park off Highway 97 near Summerland Saturday night. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Photo Gallery: Truck gutted by fire at popular Okanagan park, trees saved

Just a metal shell of what once was a pick up truck is left at the scene

A syringe is loaded with COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to open up COVID vaccine registration to all B.C. residents 18+ in April

Registration does not equate to being able to book an appointment

Most Read