Cohen Backs out of Public Testimony, Cites “Threats” From Trump and Giuliani

Cohen Backs out of Public Testimony, Cites “Threats” From Trump and Giuliani January 23, 2019

Typical thug behavior?

So politicos were looking forward to the congressional testimony of former Trump attorney and “fixer,” Michael Cohen, due to happen publicly on February 7, 2019.

As of today, it’s not happening.

Apparently, Cohen, at the advice of his counsel, has backed out of his agreement to testify before the House Oversight and Reform Committee, after an invitation from Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-Md.).

Cohen released a statement regarding his decision, through his counsel, earlier Wednesday.

“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,” Cohen’s legal adviser Lanny Davis said in a statement.

“Mr. Cohen wishes to thank Chairman Cummings for allowing him to appear before the House Oversight Committee and looks forward to testifying at the appropriate time. This is a time where Mr. Cohen had to put his family and their safety first.”

Indeed, President Trump tweeted out what could only be taken as a direct threat against Cohen’s father-in-law, as well as on a Fox News segment. The threat was quickly parroted by Rudy Giuliani in one of his spastic television appearances, as well.

The reference to Cohen’s father-in-law, Fima Schusterman may have to do with a guilty plea to tax fraud charges, involving his New York taxi cab business, back in the 1990s.

So is there still something there?

Trump has suggested there is, in a classic case of distraction.

Don’t look at what I’m involved in! Look over there!

In discussing Cohen’s planned appearance before Congress, Trump stated:

“Well, there is no information. But he should give information maybe on his father-in-law, because that’s the one that people want to look at,” Trump said on Fox News.

Trump also said Cohen was in trouble on “loans and frauds and taxi cabs.”

“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. It’s weak and it’s very sad to watch a thing like that. I couldn’t care less,” the president said.

If you couldn’t care less, I suspect you wouldn’t be talking about it, but you are.

Don’t be fooled. He cares.

To begin with, Cohen has received his sentence. He’s going away for three years, due to his part in a series of crimes, including campaign finance law violations, through his payoff of Donald Trump’s former mistresses, Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal, a month before the 2016 election. Everything coming at this point is just gravy.

Cummings, as well as House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Ca.) are in agreement that Cohen’s concerns are warranted.

Cohen’s planned testimony would have offered lawmakers from both parties an opportunity to question the president’s former personal attorney on a range of subjects. However, a letter released by two Republican lawmakers on Tuesday suggested Cohen planned to severely limit his testimony and refrain from answering questions about ongoing investigations involving Trump.

Separately, Schiff has been in discussions with Cohen’s attorneys about him potentially testifying before the Intelligence Committee behind closed doors as part of the panel’s revived probe into Russian interference.

I think the term everyone is grasping for is “witness intimidation.”

“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,” the lawmakers said.

“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,” they said.

All of this is coming on the heels of a Buzzfeed report that stated Donald Trump instructed Cohen to lie to Congress.

Special counsel’s office took the extraordinary step of issuing a statement later in the day, saying the report “mischaracterized” Cohen’s testimony and cooperation with their investigation.

Trump addressed the news of Cohen pulling out of his planned February testimony:

“I would say he’s been threatened by the truth,” Trump told reporters in the Roosevelt Room of the White House. “He’s only been threatened by the truth.”

“He doesn’t want to tell the truth for me or other of his clients,” the president added.

Well, to be fair, he only had several other clients, as best as anyone can tell. One was Trump pal, Elliott Broidy. He helped him pay off a Playboy mistress, as well.

The other turned out to be Fox News’ Sean Hannity. The contortions taken to keep that information hidden was amusing, actually.

Rudy Giuliani’s two cents worth was even more blatant, in regards to the threats against Cohen’s family.

Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer, has similarly attacked Cohen in the months since he pleaded guilty and began cooperating with prosecutors, blasting him as a “serial liar.” On Sunday, the former New York City mayor argued that Trump was justified in attacking Cohen’s father-in-law.

“It’s defending yourself,” Giuliani said on CNN, suggesting that Cohen’s father-in-law “may have ties to something called organized crime.”

It’s New York, back alley thuggery, and it should be looked at by authorities, closely.

Here’s the thing, guys: It doesn’t matter what Cohen’s father-in-law has done. It’s not relevant or connected to the Russia probe or Donald Trump. The only reason for Trump or his people to bring it up is for the purpose of intimidation.

I do suspect that special counsel is just filing this away in the case they’re building.

Keep talking, Mr. Trump. Keep talking.




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  • IllinoisPatriot

    “Witness intimidation” (aka “witness tampering”, aka “obstruction of justice”) direct from Trump’s twitter thumbs.

    …making it more difficult for investigators (including Congressional oversight) to obtain testimony from witnesses without the witness fearing harm or damage as retribution for the testimony he or she may give. I believe that was one of the original crimes Mueller was charged to investigate……

    Now, if only Mueller would release the questions and answers from Trump and his team of spin-doctors (lawyers), I think we’d see evidence of even more blatant lies and legal violations sworn to under oath that personally tie Trump into the activities of not just US organized crime but those of the Russian Mob and the Russian state as well. What has been released to date via court records is pretty convincing given the complete lack of credibility of Trump’s constant flip-flopping admissions on Twitter. I think it will be extremely interesting to see what evidence Mueller has been holding close to his chest. I suspect before it’s over, we may be into “treason territory”.

  • JASmius

    That presumes that Mueller’s report will ever be publicly released. Remember, under the Special Counsel regulations, his final report goes to the Attorney General. William Barr could easily take that report and feed it through a shredder. He doesn’t have to release it. And if House Democrats try to subpoena it, Barr can just ignore it. If they hold him in contempt of Congress, where would any criminal referral go? William Barr. End of story.

    Sound far-fetched? It’s basically what happened with Eric “The Red” Holder over the “Fast & Furious” fiasco seven years ago. We need to be prepared for that eventuality.

  • IllinoisPatriot

    I think there is enough public evidence in the court filings already public to make any attempt by Trump/Barr to suppress the Mueller report a non-starter. I further think that any attempt to do so would result in Mueller “escalating” the issue and sending a copy directly to the Congressional Oversight Committee that has responsibility for the oversight of the AG office. The GOP would then face mass defections of their non-Trumpian base and there are not enough red-cappers to re-elect Trump or to maintain electoral majorities on their own.

    Furthermore, I am convinced that Trump’s every action, association and possession would come under state legal scrutiny and public exposure. I suspect Trump could then say good-bye to his current US businesses aspirations. Trump’s family could also find their business endeavors scrutinized by the (Democrat-controlled) NY State prosecutors, etc.

    Ultimately, it may come down to the US military refusing to follow illegal orders that would be sure to follow — possibly including removing the command-in-chief from office by force.

    We are already seeing defections within the Senate and the HOR of Republicans that have become disenchanted with Trump’s antics. We know the Intelligence Community is suspicious and very likely preparing super-top-secret dossiers on Trump and Trump’s “new best friends”. Trump’s job performance continues to slide in the polls.

    That Trump may drive the entirety of Congress and the voting public back into Democrat hands for another 40 years is the price the Republicans and alt-right will have paid for supporting a would-be dictator while ignoring all the signs of impending tyranny and for abrogating their responsibilities to this country in favor of purely personal pursuits of wealth and power.

    Update / afterthought:
    It as occurred to me that IF Trump / Barr were to even try to bury (or shred) the eventual Mueller report covering his investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election and Trump’s possible obstruction of justice, that the attempt (whether successful or not) would be proof positive of Trump’s obstruction of justice and would be grounds for immediate impeachment articles from the Democrats as well as a major feeding frenzy by the Media. If for no other reason than that it would mean political suicide for the GOP and (likely) economic suicide for the entire Trump family because of State & local investigations that would be focused on his new status as ‘felon’, I believe Barr will publish SOMETHING. But if Barr attempts to redact or edit the full report, I think THAT TOO would be considered ‘obstruction of justice’ by Congress with the same general results: I think Congressional Democrats would step in and demand, then release the full report (possibly as part of their articles of impeachment).

    I think Barr is walking a very thin like right now between not angering Trump while insuring that he does nothing illegal, unethical or with even the appearance of illegality or lack of ethics because any such action will result in Congress holding not just public hearings, but also very likely articles of impeachment that name not just Trump, but Barr himself in legal accusations of ‘obstruction of justice’ up to perhaps ‘conspiracy to commit treason’ if Barr is implicated in Trump’s cover-up attempt at suppressing the Mueller results.

  • Stephen

    I think the same. Barr could easily get caught up in the illegality of Trump and find himself in legal jeopardy . Could wind up in jail. Most people are too smart to get attached to Trump which is why he cannot find help. Why is Barr seeking this potential disaster for himself?

  • Stephen

    Hope not but if I was force to bet I would go with Treason.

  • Ellen Elmore

    Does anyone really believe Trump will be held accountable for his actions? I believe Trump is as untouchable as Hillary.

  • Ronald Langdon

    You all talk the same disillusioned desire to see something that will never happen LOL. Susan believes cohen was threatened–what a joke!! Trump derangement syndrome will require lots of psychiatrists when most of these traitors are found guilty for their attempt to destroy a democratically elected President . Like I said before hatred will not allow you to see the truth or allow you to be objective about the facts. SAD

  • Barros Serrano

    No, sorry, but appointed officials do not have an infinite ability to withhold information, especially when it is clearly information regarding treason by the President.

    Eric Holder? lol… That is dust in the wind compared to the malfeasance of Trumpolini & Co.

    Calling everyone to the Left of Francisco Franco “red” or “communist” reveals that you are a fascist, therefore treasonous yourself.

  • Barros Serrano

    You Trumpoids are not sane.

    We have a traitor in the White House doing the bidding of Putin, and we’re “deranged” for noticing this? We’re “deranged” for objecting to Trumpolini’s blatant misogyny and racism?

    It is you white-right suffering derangement. You’re deeply psychotic.

  • Barros Serrano

    Except that Hillary did what? Virtually nothing. Endless investigations of her produced nothing, yet you brainwashed Faux-News-bubble-dwelling halfwits continue to harp about her.

    Trumpolini, on the other hand, is stacking up felonies and acts of treason at a fevered pace.

  • John225

    Wha’ d yah expect. Cohen ratted out the Don to the feds. Of course, these gangsters and racketeers want to put him on ice.

  • IllinoisPatriot

    That depends on how partisan DC ultimately gets before the people say “ENOUGH!”.

    So far, the Democrats have demonstrated how to appoint and ram through legal “shields” for their presidents (Holder / Lynch / etc) while playing the media “blame game” (victimology) that Trump plays via Twitter.

    I think the difference is that Trump plays the game so poorly with such OBVIOUS indicators of his guilt that people are starting to make correlations back to Obama and Clinton era abuses and not liking what they see.

    I think Trump was not tricked into hiring Sessions as he claims, but that the few remaining Republicans with any interest in law-and-order and seeing Justice done for hte people supported Sessions to get him into that position.

    Since then Trump and McConnell have purged the ranks of the GOP of anyone that his not hyper-partisan and that puts the “R” above anything else in the country in the same way the Democrats refuse to back any nominee that is not openly for abortion and the gay agenda / social engineering.

    I believe 2020 will be the first election between two hyper-partisan, revenge-driven parties with the bulk of voters having no one to vote FOR and either sitting it out or voting 3rd party. The way the GOP is shaping up in 2020, is much like the Democrat top-down-driven party decisions where the outcome is pre-decided and the rules are set to enforce the desired nominee (in this case Trump). I just don’t see people turning out in droves to support Trump by 2020.