House Democrats plan to publicly question Michael Cohen, President Trump’s former personal attorney, on issues including Trump’s business interests and compliance with tax laws, as well as hush-money payments to women during the 2016 election.
The scope of the widely anticipated hearing planned for Wednesday by the House Oversight Committee was laid out in a two-page memo distributed Sunday by the panel’s staff to its members.
Cohen will not be questioned about Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and possible coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia, according to the memo.
But the document lists an array of other possible areas of questioning, including Trump’s “debts and payments relating to efforts to influence the 2016 election” and his “compliance with campaign finance laws.”
Those are a reference to payments Cohen says he was asked to facilitate during the 2016 election to silence two women who claimed affairs with Trump.
The scope of hearing will also include Trump’s business practices, including his ownership of the Trump International Hotel in Washington, as well as his stewardship of the now-defunct Trump Foundation, according to the memo.
And, according to the memo, lawmakers also plan to pose questions about “the accuracy of the President’s public statements”and “public efforts by the President and his attorney to intimidate Mr. Cohen or others not to testify.”
Cohen had originally been scheduled to testify before the committee on Feb. 7. But that appearance was postponed, with Cohen’s attorney, Lanny J. Davis, citing unspecified “threats” against Cohen from the president and his attorney, Rudolph W. Giuliani.
Cohen is set to make two other appearances on Capitol Hill this week, before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday and the House Intelligence Committee on Thursday. Those are both scheduled to be closed sessions.
The memo says that the scope of the House Oversight Committee was set by Chairman Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.) after consultation with the Justice Department and Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.), the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.
Trump will be out of the country as Cohen delivers his testimony. The president is scheduled to depart Monday for a summit in Vietnam with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
Cohen pleaded guilty last year to multiple crimes, including lying to Congress and arranging the hush-money payments. His three-year prison term had been expected to begin on March 6, but a judge recently approved Cohen’s request for a two-month delay because of shoulder surgery and his preparations for his testimony before Congress.
Felicia Sonmez contributed to this report.