A new report claims Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer, met for more than 10 hours with the staff of a top House Democrat prior to last month’s public testimony.
Fox News is reporting that Cohen has said that he met with staff of Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, a California Democrat. Attributing the information to sources it did not name, Fox News said Schiff’s staff made at least four trips to New York City to meet with Schiff.
The Daily Beast later published a report saying that Lanny Davis, Cohen’s attorney, confirmed that there were four meetings.
Concerns over possible coaching of Cohen have led Ohio Republican Congressman Mike Turner to demand answers from Cohen’s legal team.
Today I requested that Michael Cohen publicly answer questions I believe will help the public more fully understand his recent congressional testimonies. In my opinion, the answers to these questions will be shocking to the American public. Read more here: https://t.co/QRHAbyDnFr pic.twitter.com/2gaRx9hp1h
— US Rep. Mike Turner (@RepMikeTurner) March 6, 2019
In a letter, Turner asked for the contacts Cohen had “with Democratic Members or Democratic staff of SSCI (Senate Select Committee on Intelligence), COR (House Committee on Oversight and Reform), or HPSCI (House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence) prior to his appearances before House and Senate committees last week.”
“Mr. Cohen, the answers to these questions are important for the public to understand whether or not they were watching witness testimony, a public hearing, or well-rehearsed theater. Obviously, the Senate would be very shocked to hear if the answers to these questions acknowledge extensive meetings, discussions, preparation, and/or coordination between you and Democratic Members and Democratic staff of the U.S. House of Representatives,” he wrote.
He said the answers could determine where charges could be filed.
“Clearly, there will be questions as to whether or not such contacts, if they occurred, constitute witness tampering, obstruction of justice, or collusion, collaboration, and cooperation between the House Democratic majority, their staff, and you,” Turner wrote.
The letter wanted to know who met with Cohen, where, and for how long.
“In my opinion, the answers to these questions will be shocking to the American public,” Turner wrote.
After learning of the report that Davis said there were meetings between staff and Cohen, Turner issued a statement.
“It appears that for every one hour of public questioning by Democrats, Democratic staff spent three hours privately with Cohen preparing him for that questioning,” Turner said.
“This further undermines the American public’s trust in Cohen’s credibility and increases skepticism to whether the Democrats will run a fair and fact-finding investigation.”
As reported by The Western Journal, Cohen testified last month during the hearing that he spoke with Schiff “about topics that were going to be raised at the upcoming hearing.”
A House Intelligence Committee spokesman said Schiff did nothing wrong.
“We are running a professional investigation in search of the facts, and we welcome the opportunity to meet with potential witnesses in advance of any testimony to determine relevant topics to cover in order to make productive use of their time before the Committee,” said spokesman Patrick Boland.
“Despite this professed outrage by Republicans, it’s completely appropriate to conduct proffer sessions and allow witnesses to review their prior testimony before the Committee interviews them — such sessions are a routine part of every serious investigation around the country, including congressional investigations,” Boland said.
Schiff has admitted to about seven contacts with Cohen, but did not differentiate between those he had with the attorney himself and those his staff had.
“The extent of my contact was just inviting him to testify and also trying to allay his concerns about the president’s threats against him and his family … but our staff certainly sat down to interview him, and that’s what you do in any credible investigation,” Schiff said, according to a transcript of an interview that aired Sunday on the CBS show “Face the Nation.”
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