Former Trump attorney Michael Cohen might back out of a congressional hearing scheduled for February, the former Trump lawyer’s adviser said Thursday.
In an appearance on MSNBC, Lanny Davis said Cohen is reconsidering whether to testify before Congress because of comments from President Donald Trump about Cohen’s father-in-law.
“There is genuine fear and it causes Michael Cohen to consider whether he should go forward or not. And he’s not yet made a final decision,” Davis told MSNBC’s Ari Melber.
Trump took aim at Cohen’s father-in-law during an interview Saturday with Fox’s Jeanine Pirro.
“[Cohen] should give information maybe on his father-in-law, because that’s the one that people want to look at,” Trump said.
“Because where does that money — that’s the money in the family. And I guess he didn’t want to talk about his father-in-law — he’s trying to get his sentence reduced.”
“So it’s pretty sad,” Trump continued. “It’s weak and it’s very sad to watch a thing like that.”
Trump’s remarks garnered an immediate rebuke from Democrats who accused the Republican of witness intimidation and tampering.
Cohen agreed earlier in January to testify before the House Oversight and Reform Committee on Feb. 7 about his years of work for Trump. Cohen was sentenced Dec. 12 to three years in prison for a slew of crimes, including tax evasion and bank fraud. He also pleaded guilty to illegal campaign contributions for payments to porn star Stormy Daniels. Cohen said Trump directed him to pay Daniels $130,000 in October 2016.
Cohen also pleaded guilty in the special counsel’s investigation to lying to Congress about the extent of his negotiations to build a Trump Tower in Moscow.
The former Trump fixer is expected to discuss his dealings with Trump in his congressional testimony, should it go forward.
But Davis, a close friend of the Clintons, said Trump’s remarks had a negative impact on Cohen.
“He is very concerned, as is his family, that a bully in the bully pulpit named Donald Trump calls out a member of his family, and he’s also called out other members of his family, using the White House platform on a national television show.”
Davis also said he agreed with Democrats that Trump’s remarks constituted witness intimidation and tampering.
“There’s no question that his threatening and calling out his father-in-law who, quote, has all of the money, is not only improper and unseemly for a bully using the bully pulpit of the presidency, but the very definition of intimidation and witness tampering,” Davis said.
“Especially a witness about to appear before a congressional committee to tell the truth about what he knows about Donald Trump? By definition that deserves a criminal investigation.”
Davis told Melber on Jan. 11 he hopes Cohen’s congressional appearance will help him get a reduced prison sentence.