Michael Cohen, Donald Trump's former lawyer, has agreed to testify publicly before the House Oversight Committee. According to CNN, this marks a major triumph for House Democrats, who have been attempting to get a member of Trump's inner circle to speak about the assorted allegations against the president.
Cohen, who worked closely with Donald Trump during his campaign, pleaded guilty in December to a variety of different charges. These included two campaign finance crimes surrounding illicit payments he made to several women during Trump's presidential run. The women and Cohen allege that the money was promised so long as the women kept quiet about their extramarital affairs with Trump -- and Cohen insists this was done on Trump's direct orders.
Special counsel Robert Mueller and his team ended up with a surprisingly useful resource in Cohen, who has cooperated with the investigation since he pleaded guilty in August. He's supplied them with a wealth of information on Trump's alleged actions during the 2016 presidential election, and officials are hoping he has more to tell come the hearings.
Speaking with CNN, Cohen explained he had agreed to speak with Congress "in furtherance of my commitment to cooperate and provide the American people with answers.
"I look forward to having the privilege of being afforded a platform with which to give a full and credible account of the events which have transpired," Cohen added.Trump has repeatedly and vehemently denied any involvement with Cohen's activities, going so far as to make public attacks on Cohen's character and credibility. Cohen as admitted he was misled during his time working with Trump and regrets his actions and their fallout.
"Recently, the President tweeted a statement calling me 'weak,' and he was correct, but for a much different reason than he was implying," Cohen said in an interview. "It was because time and time again I felt it was my duty to cover up his dirty deeds rather than to listen to my own inner voice and my moral compass."
As of this writing, there is no word on whether Cohen will speak to any other commissions regarding Trump and his activities during the 2016 campaign. Experts believe that much of Cohen's testimony will center around the hush money payments he made to adult film star Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal, as well as a high-profile meeting at Trump Tower in June 0f 2016 that involved Cohen, senior members of the Trump campaign, and a Russian lawyer regarding the timeline for the Trump Tower Moscow project. Cohen had previously admitted to lying to Congress about the dates surrounding the project.
Michael Cohen's hearing is scheduled for February 7.