Thursday, 18 April, 2019

Michael Cohen committed perjury 'on a scale not seen before'

Christopher Steele and Michael Cohen Enlarge Image Christopher Steele and Michael Cohen Getty Images
Leonard Rios | 02 March, 2019, 05:15

The roughly five hours that Michael Cohen spent this week testifying before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform provided riveting viewing.

Adam Schiff, the chairman of the House intelligence committee, separately announced on Thursday that the former Trump associate Felix Sater will come before his panel on 14 March. For example, he was present when Roger Stone told him in advance about Hillary Clinton's hacked emails, so he knows Trump lied about that. What we do know is that the special counsel's office alleges that on "multiple occasions" Stone "told senior Trump Campaign officials about materials possessed by Organization 1 and the timing of future releases", as laid out in the indictment against Stone. "There were names that were mentioned, or records that were mentioned during the hearing", the Maryland Democrat said. Cohen also said Trump directed the plan to pay "hush money" ahead of the election to an adult movie actress who has said she had a sexual encounter with him. At the same time, he rebuffed some of the more explosive allegations about Trump's behaviour over the years, saying he had no knowledge of embarrassing videotapes or payoffs for a "love child" - and that he didn't believe either story. The Oversight Committee is also planning on calling additional witnesses after Mr Cohen's testimony.

While the president's dialogue in the discussion didn't include anything too eye-opening that we haven't heard in the past, it was Sean Hannity's words which may have actually sparked an invitation to sit before a House committee to testify in the Trump/Russia probe.

In addition to Special Counsel Robert Mueller and other federal prosecutors, several US congressional committees are pursuing investigations focusing on President Donald Trump, looking at questions regarding Russia's role in the 2016 presidential election as well as the Republican president's finances.

Cohen broke with Trump a year ago and pleaded guilty to charges including that he lied to Congress about a Trump real estate project in Russian Federation and made prohibited campaign contributions in the form of payments to two women who say they had affairs with Trump.

Cohen said Sater also talked with him about having Trump visit Russian Federation during the campaign.

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The proposal was pulled back after FBI agents raided Cohen's home and offices in April 2018 in an investigation probing the attorney's taxes and hush payments he arranged for women who claimed affairs with the president. Cohen brought copies of the reimbursement checks and Trump financial statements to bolster his account.

"This has obviously been an excruciating time for him", Schiff said.

Mr Cohen said he could not discuss that conversation, the last contact he said he has had with the president or anyone acting on his behalf, because it remained under investigation. Jim Jordan of OH and Mark Meadows of North Carolina, sent a referral to the Justice Department alleging Cohen lied in his testimony.

Cohen and Jordan had several clashes in the hearing. Testifying before the House Oversight Committee, Cohen levelled a broad attack against the president's character.

They cited Cohen's claim that he "never defrauded any bank" as one of the false statements he allegedly made before the committee, arguing that it contrasted with his plea agreement that referred to his crimes as "bank fraud". Cohen supposedly went to Prague to work out the details of the Trump campaign's collusion with the friends of Vladimir Putin. "They would have had more time, but having it during this very important summit is sort of incredible, and he lied a lot".

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