Michael Cohen will be testifying before Congress in a televised hearing next month, and Donald Trump is reportedly not taking the news very well.
On Thursday, the president’s former personal lawyer agreed to testify before the House Oversight Committee in a February hearing, the first major investigative move by Democrats since taking control of the House of Representatives earlier this month. As CNN reported, the hearing will take place before Cohen is sent to prison for three years on a slew of charges, including a campaign finance felony in which he directly implicated Trump.
Cohen has admitted to making illegal payments to two women who claimed they had affairs with Donald Trump in an effort to keep them quiet, saying he did so at Trump’s order. Legal experts say Trump likely faces indictment for felony charges as well, though is protected by a Justice Department policy not to indict a sitting president.
The hearing will likely cover the Russia investigation as well.
“He is going to need to answer questions about it,” said House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff. “He hasn’t agreed but I think there’s a good likelihood. At the end of the day, there are questions he needs to answer.”
Donald Trump was reportedly outraged at the news of his former lawyer’s testimony. Jon Cooper, founder of the grassroots group The Democratic Coalition, reported that Trump had a violent outburst after learning that Cohen would be publicly testifying.
“According to one source, when Donald Trump was told Michael Cohen agreed to testify in public before Congress, he totally lost it,” Cooper reported. “Trump threw an object (a pen?) on the floor, stormed out of the room, and dropped the F-bomb (and other expletives) repeatedly before shocked aides.”
Cohen had been described as Trump’s “fixer,” overseeing a number of personal matters including spearheading hush money payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougal for their alleged affairs with Trump.
There are reports that others close to Trump will be called to testify as well, including son Donald Trump, Jr.
Michael Cohen could also hold key information about allegations that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia. Cohen admitted last year that he and Trump both lied about negotiations to build a Trump Tower in Moscow, saying that discussions stretched well into the 2016 presidential campaign. Trump had said repeatedly during the campaign that he had no contact with Russia and no business deals there.