Michael Cohen’s name has been all over the headlines since the announcement that he would be testifying before the House Oversight Committee on Wednesday, February 27. However, it was reported on Monday, February 25, that Cohen would begin his week by testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee in a closed-door session to discuss his involvement in the Trump-Russia investigation. Furthermore, it was also reported that Cohen would participate in an additional closed-door hearing on Thursday, February 28, with the House Intelligence Committee.
So why, then, is the world buzzing about Cohen’s appearance before the House Oversight Committee? It is because this will be the first time that Cohen speaks about his experiences working for President Donald Trump since pleading guilty to multiple charges in August of 2018. Those charges include campaign finance violations, tax fraud, and lying to Congress. Cohen was also recently sentenced to three years in prison, which he is set to begin serving in May of 2019.
The campaign finance violations are particularly notable because they involved hush money payments made to two women who claimed to have had affairs with Trump. Cohen pleaded guilty to using $130,000 of his own money to pay porn actress Stormy Daniels and $150,000 to Karen McDougal, a former Playboy model. The payments were made in the weeks leading up to the 2016 presidential election, in an attempt to keep the affairs from becoming public knowledge. Cohen has since admitted that then-candidate Trump directed him to make the payments.
These revelations are particularly significant because they may indicate that the President committed a crime by violating campaign finance laws. Legal experts have debated whether or not a sitting president can be indicted for a crime, so if these allegations are true, there could be grounds for impeachment proceedings.
Cohen’s upcoming testimony before the House Oversight Committee has been hotly anticipated for several reasons. For one thing, Cohen has already admitted to lying to Congress about the extent of discussions he had with Russian officials regarding the construction of a Trump Tower in Moscow. This admission drew the attention of both the House and Senate Intelligence Committees, who are investigating possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 election.
Additionally, Cohen’s testimony may provide insight into other potentially illegal actions committed by the Trump administration. For example, it has been reported that Cohen was involved in efforts to silence negative press about Trump by purchasing the rights to damaging stories and then burying them. He also allegedly helped coordinate a meeting between Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, and a Russian oligarch with ties to the Kremlin.
Despite this mounting evidence against the President and his associates, Trump himself has vehemently denied any wrongdoing. He has called the investigations a “witch hunt” and a “hoax” perpetuated by Democrats seeking to undermine his presidency. He has also criticized Cohen for cooperating with prosecutors and has suggested that he is acting out of self-interest rather than a sense of legal obligation.
Despite Trump’s protestations, Cohen’s testimony before the House Oversight Committee will be a major moment in the ongoing investigation into his presidency. It is entirely possible that Cohen’s revelations will lead to criminal charges against the President, or at the very least, to more pressure to initiate impeachment proceedings. Whatever happens, the American public will be watching with rapt attention as one of Trump’s closest allies turns on him and speaks out against his actions.
In conclusion, Michael Cohen’s appearance before the House Oversight Committee on Wednesday, February 27 has been hotly anticipated for months. His testimony may provide insight into a range of potentially illegal actions committed by the Trump administration and could ultimately have far-reaching consequences for the President himself. Regardless of the outcome, the pending testimony is a clear indication that the investigations into Trump’s presidency are far from over and that the American public will continue to demand transparency and accountability from their highest elected officials.