White House press secretary Sarah Sanders on Tuesday questioned why lawmakers would call on Michael Cohen to testify, considering he’s an admitted liar.
President Donald Trump has been at the center of a special counsel investigation since May of 2017. Cohen drew the attention of investigators on a few fronts, as he had previously worked as an attorney for the president.
Cohen has been cooperating with federal investigators and admitted to many of the allegations since turning himself in last summer, in August 2018.
“Disgraced felon Michael Cohen is going to prison for lying to Congress and making other false statements,” Sanders said in a statement.
“Sadly, he will go before Congress this week and we can expect more of the same. It’s laughable that anyone would take a convicted liar like Cohen at his word, and pathetic to see him given yet another opportunity to spread his lies,” she added.
Cohen is appearing for three days of hearings starting on Tuesday. The Senate Intelligence Committee has the opportunity to question him first during a closed-door hearing.
He will then appear the next day for a public hearing hosted by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
Cohen pleaded guilty to multiple crimes, including two campaign finance violations related to the presidential election in August 2018. He then pleaded guilty to one count of lying to Congress in November 2018.
He was later sentenced to three years in prison on December 12. He is scheduled to begin serving his sentence on May 6.
Cohen reportedly will detail crimes he claims the president committed while in office and before, sources told NBC News. Those accusations will include ways in which the president has lied, been racist, or cheated as a private businessman. Cohen also reportedly plans to give lawmakers information about the president’s financial statements.
House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) has been trying to get Cohen to testify as part of newly launched congressional investigations against the president. Cohen has said he is willing to cooperate but asked to postpone the original hearing on February 7. He claimed the president was threatening his family.
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Special counsel Robert Mueller and his team have been looking into possible crimes committed by the president or his associates, with a particular focus on whether they colluded with Russian interests during the presidential election of 2016.
Cohen was investigated over accusations such as paying off porn actress Stormy Daniels as part of a hush-money agreement. She claimed to have had an affair with the president, which the president denied.
Cohen also admitted to lying to lawmakers in federal court about how much he discussed his proposed business project in Moscow with the president as part of a plea deal.
The special counsel team suggested Cohen receive a tough but fair sentence in a court filing on December 7.
The filing suggested it should reflect his lies but also his efforts to remediate his misconduct.
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U.S. District Judge William H. Pauley III sentenced Cohen to three years in prison for tax evasion, lying to lawmakers and breaking campaign finance law on December 12.
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