Chairman Schiff Statement on Release of Michael Cohen Testimony and Documents
Washington, May 20, 2019
Today, the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence voted to release Michael Cohen’s testimony and related exhibits to the public by a vote of 12 – 7.
Afterwards, Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) made the following statement:
“With the completion of Special Counsel Mueller’s work and the release of his report, it is critically important that the Committee, and the Congress, make public as much information as possible that bears on Mueller’s findings, explain the evidence he uncovered, and expose the obstructive actions taken by this President and those who surround him.
“It is in this light that the Committee today releases the transcripts of two days of interviews of Trump’s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen.
“Cohen’s February and March 2019 testimony corroborate information previously received by the Committee, including the Trump Tower Moscow deal under negotiation throughout the 2016 election season by then-candidate Donald Trump. Cohen also presented significant and troubling new detail regarding the false statement that he provided to our Committee in August 2017 and for which, in part, he is now in prison. Since Cohen’s testimony, the Committee has already begun to follow up on information that Cohen provided related to attorneys for others involved in a joint defense agreement – including Jared Kushner and Donald Jr. and Ivanka Trump – to determine whether they aided in Cohen’s obstruction of the Committee’s investigation.
“Cohen also testified that throughout the 2016 election, candidate Trump was actively kept apprised of a potential licensing agreement on a building to be erected in the heart of Moscow — a deal for which Mr. Trump and his family would have personally earned millions and would have required active participation by the Kremlin to get final approval. Cohen testified that while Trump continued to falsely claim that he had no business deals with Russia, Cohen was actively pursuing the deal through summer 2016.
“Trump and his associates sought to ensure that false narrative continued. Cohen testified Trump urged him to ‘stay on message, which is there’s no Russia, there’s no collusion, there’s no business deals.’ Cohen also said that the president’s personal attorney, Jay Sekulow, also directed him to ‘stay on message,’ in part by encouraging Mr. Cohen to falsely claim to Congress that the Trump Tower Moscow deal ended in January 2016, before the Iowa caucuses. According to Mr. Cohen, attorneys for Kushner, Trump Jr., Ivanka Trump, and the Trump Organization also reviewed the statement before it was provided to Congress and raised no concerns with its false content.
“The obstructive acts did not stop there. After the raid of Cohen’s hotel and office, Trump’s legal team, according to Cohen, again interjected – this time coaxing Cohen not to cooperate with authorities through implicit promises of a future pardon. Cohen testified that he had several conversations with Sekulow through July 2018 about pardons, and with an intermediary for the president’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani. When Cohen no longer chose to toe the party line on President Trump’s relationship with Russia, the president and his allies trained their fire on Cohen and his family through a campaign of public intimidation to silence his testimony before several congressional committees – quintessential witness intimidation.
“The public should judge for themselves both the evidence released today in conjunction with Cohen’s testimony related to Trump, his troubling relationship with Russia, and the efforts by Trump and those close to him to hide the relationship and potential business deals. The public also deserves the chance to judge Cohen’s credibility for themselves, including by examining some of the evidence he provided to the Committee.
“The Committee will continue its investigation, continue to pursue additional evidence related to Cohen’s testimony, and present to the American people what we find.
“But make no mistake, any attempt by the President, his associates or Administration to suborn perjury, obstruct our investigation or mislead the public will not be tolerated – and will be exposed.”