WASHINGTON – Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer and longtime fixer, announced through a spokesman Wednesday that he wouldn’t testify before Congress on Feb. 7 because of “threats” from the president.
“Due to ongoing threats against his family from President Trump and Mr. Giuliani, as recently as this weekend, as well as Mr. Cohen’s continued cooperation with ongoing investigations, by advice of counsel, Mr. Cohen’s appearance will be postponed to a later date,” said Lanny Davis, a Cohen spokesman. “This is a time when Mr. Cohen had to put his family and their safety first.”
Commentary by The Secular Jurist: Two weeks ago, I wrote the following regarding Michael Cohen’s scheduled congressional testimony:
Knowing Trump as Americans do now after two tumultuous years in office, it is conceivable that the president will attempt to divert attention away from Cohen’s televised testimony through some contrived wag-the-dog maneuver. Such a ploy opens up a wide array of possibilities – any one of which could present disturbing or even frightening consequences. I’m not trying to scare anyone, but I am convinced that Trump won’t sit idly by without taking preemptive or peremptory action.
Here’s the statement just released by House Democrats, from: Cummings and Schiff Statement on Intimidation of Michael Cohen
Washington, D.C. (Jan. 23, 2019)—Today, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, the Chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, and Rep. Adam Schiff, the Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, issued the following statement in response to a request received by Michael Cohen to postpone his upcoming testimony before Congress:
“We have received Mr. Cohen’s notice postponing his voluntary appearance in an open hearing before the Committee on Oversight and Reform. We certainly understand the completely legitimate concerns for the safety and security of Mr. Cohen and his family members in light of the attacks last week by President Trump and again this past weekend by his attorney, Rudy Giuliani.
“As we stated previously with our colleague, Chairman Jerry Nadler of the Judiciary Committee, efforts to intimidate witnesses, scare their family members, or prevent them from testifying before Congress are textbook mob tactics that we condemn in the strongest terms. Our nation’s laws prohibit efforts to discourage, intimidate, or otherwise pressure a witness not to provide testimony to Congress. The President should make no statement or take any action to obstruct Congress’ independent oversight and investigative efforts, including by seeking to discourage any witness from testifying in response to a duly authorized request from Congress.
“We understand that Mr. Cohen’s wife and other family members fear for their safety after these attacks, and we have repeatedly offered our assistance to work with law enforcement to enhance security measures for Mr. Cohen and his family.
“Nevertheless, when our Committees began discussions with Mr. Cohen’s attorney, not appearing before Congress was never an option. We will not let the President’s tactics prevent Congress from fulfilling our constitutionally mandated oversight responsibilities. This will not stop us from getting to the truth. We expect Mr. Cohen to appear before both Committees, and we remain engaged with his counsel about his upcoming appearances.”