Michael Cohen testifies before Congress

By Meg Wagner, Veronica Rocha and Amanda Wills, CNN

Updated 6:55 p.m. ET, February 27, 2019
5 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
9:29 a.m. ET, February 27, 2019

The times when President Trump praised Michael Cohen on Twitter

From CNN's Paul P. Murphy

It had only been 12 days since the FBI raided the offices of Michael Cohen, President Trump's then-personal attorney, when he praised his fixer and confidant on Twitter.

In a series of tweets, the President called Cohen, "a fine person with a wonderful family...who I have always liked & respected."

The President's tweets came to an abrupt end on Aug. 22, 2018. Michael Cohen stood in court and pleaded guilty to eight counts of campaign finance violations, tax fraud and bank fraud.

Cohen implicated the President in his admission of guilt in court.

9:21 a.m. ET, February 27, 2019

Michael Cohen has arrived on Capitol Hill

President Trump's former attorney Michael Cohen just arrived on Capitol Hill ahead of his testimony in front of the House Oversight Committee. That's going to kick off at 10 a.m. ET.

 CNN's Manu Raju laid out what we're expecting:

  • Members of Congress should start arrive shortly. 
  • When the hearing begins, each member will have five minutes to ask questions. 
  • Democrats will likely try to get Cohen to lay out his story and detail allegations against President Trump.
  • Republicans are going to go after Cohen — and his credibility — aggressively. 

"Expect a lot of fireworks in the hearing that's going to take all day long," Raju said.

Watch the moment here:

8:57 a.m. ET, February 27, 2019

Here's what Cohen will say in his opening statement

Analysis from CNN's Stephen Collinson

President Trump's former fixer Michael Cohen, who is scheduled to testify before Congress at 10 a.m. ET today, will accuse Trump in a congressional hearing of being a racist and a conman in testimony that will offer a rare televised glimpse into the cloud of scandals that have haunted Trump's presidency.

According to testimony released ahead of his appearance, Cohen will say Trump knew that his former political adviser Roger Stone was aware of pending releases of stolen emails intended to damage Hillary Cinton's presidential campaign.

"Mr. Stone told Mr. Trump that he had just gotten off the phone with Julian Assange and that Mr. Assange told Mr. Stone that, within a couple of days, there would be a massive dump of emails that would damage Hillary Clinton's campaign," Cohen will say, according to his prepared testimony.

Trump responded, according to Cohen: "Wouldn't that be great."

The disclosure will revive speculation that the President colluded with representatives of Russia to interfere in the 2016 election, which evolved into an effort by Moscow to help Trump win in his duel against Clinton.

Why this matters: Cohen's allegations, if true, would amount to the first time anyone with direct knowledge of the situation has said the President had advance knowledge of the WikiLeaks dump of Clinton emails.

8:57 a.m. ET, February 27, 2019

Cohen says he's looking forward to the hearing

Michael Cohen, President Trump's former personal attorney, shared his enthusiasm about testifying ahead of today's hearing.

Last week, he tweeted:

8:54 a.m. ET, February 27, 2019

Trump's former fixer is testifying before Congress today

President Trump's former fixer Michael Cohen will testify publicly today before the House Oversight Committee.

House Oversight Chairman Elijah Cummings wrote a memo outlining the scope of Cohen's public testimony, including...

  • Trump's "debts and payments relating to efforts to influence the 2016 election"
  • Trump's compliance with financial disclosure requirements, campaign finance laws and tax laws
  • Trump's business practices.
  • The accuracy of Trump's public statements
  • "Potentially fraudulent or inappropriate practices by the Trump Foundation," which is the subject of an ongoing civil lawsuit brought by the New York Attorney General's Office
  • "Public efforts by the President and his attorney to intimidate Mr. Cohen or others not to testify"

Why this matters: Cohen's three-year prison sentence is set to start on May 6. Cohen was sentenced in December for tax crimes, campaign finance violations tied to hush money payments to women and lying to Congress during his 2017 testimony about how long negotiations for a Trump Tower Moscow extended into the 2016 campaign.

Cohen was initially scheduled to testify in front of the committee on Feb. 7, but that appearance was canceled by Cohen and his legal team, who cited "threats against his family" after Trump and his attorney, Rudy Giuliani, made public remarks concerning Cohen's father-in-law.