Michael Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer, to testify publicly before Congress

Michael Cohen agrees to testify before Congress after pleading guilty to fraud and deception

The president has denied the affairs but has deployed shifting explanations about when he learned about the payments to the women.

Federal prosecutors in the Southern District of NY have implicated, but not charged, the president in the deals reached in the closing weeks of the 2016 election, alleging in court filings that Cohen acted "in coordination with and at the direction of" Trump. He said, "To that end, we are in the process of consulting with Special Counsel Mueller's office".

Cohen cooperated with Mueller's investigation after his August guilty plea, and his congressional testimony could thrust some of those still-private details he provided into the public sphere. "The Committee will announce additional information in the coming weeks".

Cohen acknowledged the testimony in a separate statement: "I look forward to having the privilege of being afforded a platform with which to give a full and credible account of the events which have transpired".

Cohen said in a statement he had accepted an invitation by the panel's Democratic chairman, U.S. Representative Elijah Cummings, to appear publicly before the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

Democratic lawmakers have wanted to call Cohen back to Capitol Hill since the special counsel determined Cohen lied during his previous testimony - lies that formed at least part of the foundation of a controversial investigative report that House Intelligecne Committee Republicans released a year ago, determining that there was no evidence of links between Trump's campaign and Russian officials.

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Cohen had been a key figure in Trump's inner orbit for years - and played the role of attack dog in the press during the 2016 campaign - but has severed his relationship with his former boss and is cooperating in several investigations involving Trump.

Cohen said that he would bury the reporter under financial problems forever, saying "what I'm going to do to you is going to be f*cking disgusting", and adding that it wasn't possible by definition to rape one's spouse, a comment he was later compelled to apologize for making.

Individual 1 was a reference to Trump. It's unclear what Cohen will be allowed to talk about in the hearing and what Robert Mueller, or prosecutors in NY, will want him to keep to himself.

"COHEN asked Individual 1 about the possibility of Individual 1 traveling to Russian Federation in connection with the Moscow Project, and asked a senior campaign official about potential business travel to Russian Federation", the documents said. Specifically, he misled Congress on the work being done on a Trump Tower project in Moscow - work that continued well into 2016, even though Cohen, Trump and others had previously claimed the project was abandoned much earlier. The GOP-led committee later ended its investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, saying there was no evidence of collusion or conspiracy between Trump's campaign and Russia. "We don't want to do anything to interfere with the Mueller investigation, absolutely nothing, okay?" Rep. Adam Schiff, the chairman of the House intelligence committee, also said he would be seeking a closed door hearing with Cohen.

The public hearing is scheduled for February 7, 2019.

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