WASHINGTON – California Rep. Adam Schiff, the chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, said Wednesday that former Trump attorney Michael Cohen’s closed-door testimony has been postponed until Feb. 28.
Cohen was scheduled to appear before the committee on Friday to discuss his work for Donald Trump and any knowledge he might have about the Trump campaign’s contacts with Russians. But Schiff said that the interview is being postponed “in the interest of the investigation.”
Schiff did not specify which investigation he was referring to.
Cohen, 52, will head to prison in New York next month to begin serving a three year prison sentence on a variety of charges, including tax evasion, bank fraud, making illegal campaign contributions and lying to Congress.
Cohen pleaded guilty on Nov. 29 to lying to the House and Senate Intelligence Committees in 2017 about the extent of his work to build a Trump Tower in Moscow. Cohen claimed that negotiations on the project ended in January 2016, but Cohen continued his efforts to secure a deal through June 2016.
Cohen will likely be asked about his discussions with Trump about the project. Lawmakers will also want to know whether Trump instructed him to lie to Congress during his 2017 testimony.
BuzzFeed reported on Jan. 17 that Trump told Cohen to lie, and that he had confirmed as much to the special counsel’s office. The Special Counsel, in a rare move, refuted the BuzzFeed report, calling it “inaccurate.” BuzzFeed has said it stands by the story, but the outlet has not provided additional confirmation of the report.
Cohen is also likely to be asked about claims made about him in the infamous Steele dossier. The 35-page report, funded by Democrats, claims that Cohen met with Russians in Prague in August 2016 as part of a conspiracy to influence the election. Cohen has vehemently denied the claims.
In other committee news, Republicans called on Democrats to publish all of the unclassified transcripts of testimony given during the panel’s Russia investigation. Ranking Member Devin Nunes issued the statement in response to Democrats planning a vote to provide several transcripts to Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
Nunes noted that the committee voted last year, on Sept. 28, when it was still under Republican control, to provide the transcripts to the executive branch, and to the public.
But the transcripts are still under review in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.
“We hope the Democrats will now join us in further increasing transparency by voting to immediately publish all the unclassified transcripts that we previously sent to the executive branch,” Nunes said.