Michael Cohen will not testify as expected on Tuesday before the Senate Intelligence Committee, his lawyer said — marking yet another delay in lawmakers’ bid to question President Trump’s former personal lawyer about a range of potentially unflattering topics to the commander in chief.
At various points, Cohen was supposed to testify before three different congressional committees about his work for Trump — the Senate Intelligence Committee, the House Intelligence Committee and the House Oversight Committee. But in each instance, his scheduled appearance was canceled or postponed.
Lanny J. Davis, one of Cohen’s lawyers, cited a recent shoulder surgery as the reason Cohen would have to cancel the Senate panel appearance.
“The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence has accepted Mr. Cohen’s request for postponement of tomorrow’s hearing due to post-surgery medical needs,” he said. “A future date will be announced by the committee.”
Spokeswomen for the committee’s leadership did not comment.
Last week, the House Intelligence Committee cited “the investigation’s interest” in postponing its hearing, and Cohen’s lawyer had blamed alleged “threats” from Trump as the reason for canceling what would have been public testimony before the House Oversight Committee.
Cohen pleaded guilty last year to various federal crimes, including lying to Congress about a possible Trump Tower project in Moscow and arranging hush-money payments to buy the silence of women who alleged affairs with Trump several years ago. He was sentenced in December to three years in prison and is scheduled to report on March 6. At Cohen’s request, the judge who sentenced him has recommended the prison term be served at a federal facility in Otisville, N.Y. The Bureau of Prisons has not indicated publicly whether it will approve the request.
Each postponement seems to make his testifying less likely, though some lawmakers have suggested that Cohen could be compelled to testify even after he is incarcerated. His House Intelligence Committee appearance is now scheduled for Feb. 28.
Cohen probably has a lot of information that would interest lawmakers; at his sentencing hearing, he talked of how it was once his job to cover up Trump’s “dirty deeds.”
While much of what he has to say already has been aired in court — federal prosecutors have alleged, for example, that it was at Trump’s direction that Cohen arranged the hush-money payments, in violation of campaign finance laws — there are many questions he has not answered.
He could describe, for example, what role, if any, Trump played in shaping his false congressional testimony, and offer other behind-the-scenes details of his interactions with Trump about the hush money.