WASHINGTON – GOP California Rep. Devin Nunes, the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, called Monday for the public release of a transcript of former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen’s closed-door testimony, in which Nunes claims the former Trump lawyer dispelled several allegations of Trump-Russia collusion.
“Well, we should see it immediately,” Nunes said in an interview with Fox News about Cohen’s testimony to the Intelligence panel last Thursday. “This guy doesn’t have anything that’s classified. I can’t control that any longer. But right now it’s being hid behind closed doors and we’re going to interview him again this week.”
Nunes suggested that Cohen, who was under oath, denied all allegations made about him by Christopher Steele, the former British spy who authored a dossier accusing Trump associates of conspiring with the Kremlin to influence the 2016 election.
Nunes said that Texas Rep. John Ratcliffe, a Republican on the Intelligence Committee, went “point by point through the dossier to ensure that Cohen’s testimony was still the same from a year and a half ago, when he first testified.”
“Was it?” Fox News host Bill Hemmer asked Nunes.
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“It was, yes,” Nunes said.
The dossier makes 14 separate allegations about Cohen, including that he visited Prague in August 2016 to meet with Kremlin officials to arrange secret payments to hackers. Steele’s 35-page report is considered the source document for the widespread allegations that the Trump campaign conspired with Russia and that Donald Trump himself is being blackmailed by Vladimir Putin.
Though none of Steele’s main allegations have been verified (and many have now been disputed under oath), the FBI relied heavily on the dossier to obtain surveillance warrants against Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.
As The Daily Caller News Foundation reported last week, one of Steele’s sources for claims about Cohen also provided information about Page, an energy consultant who joined the Trump campaign in March 2016.
Cohen addressed the Prague allegation during a public congressional hearing held last Wednesday. But the former Trump fixer, who will begin a three-year prison sentence on May 6, was not asked about other more specific claims made by Steele.
Nunes suggested that Ratcliffe went through all of the allegations made by Steele.
“We wanted to make sure that everything we verified and hadn’t changed his story about the involvement in the dossier. Anything that’s in the dossier, he has said that that’s not true. There was no truth to the dossier, and that was our main objective,” he said.
Democratic California Rep. Adam Schiff, the chairman of the House Intelligence panel, said last week that he hopes to make Cohen’s testimony public. He did not set a date for release of a transcript and said that Cohen will appear for another closed-door session this Wednesday.
Cohen, 52, pleaded guilty on Nov. 29 in the special counsel’s probe of lying to the House and Senate Intelligence Committees during testimony in 2017 about the extent of his negotiations to build a Trump Tower in Moscow.