During a closed-door hearing with the House Intelligence Committee on Wednesday, Michael Cohen, the former personal attorney and fixer to President Donald Trump, shared documents and emails with committee members showing what he said were edits to the false statement he provided to Congress in 2017, in an effort to bolster his public testimony last week, according to two sources familiar with the matter.
Testifying publicly before the House Oversight Committee last week, Cohen said Trump’s current personal lawyer Jay Sekulow changed the former Trump loyalist’s statement to the House and Senate Intelligence Committees regarding the duration of discussions about the Trump Tower Moscow project before he submitted it to Capitol Hill.
Last week Sekulow denied the claims in a statement to ABC News.
“Today’s testimony by Michael Cohen that attorneys for the President edited or changed his statement to Congress to alter the duration of the Trump Tower Moscow negotiations is completely false."
Cohen emerged from Wednesday's hearing after more than eight hours behind closed doors with House lawmakers, telling reporters gathered that he believes the committee has what they need from him.
“I believe that all of the members were satisfied with the statements and the responses that I gave to them," Cohen said.
His attorney Lanny Davis, in a statement, said Cohen would "provide additional information in the future, if needed."
The committee’s chairman, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., described Cohen as fully cooperative during his session with lawmakers – noting that he did provide the committee with additional documents – but did not rule out asking Cohen for more information in the future.
“There may be additional documents he has to offer,” Schiff said.
Cohen’s return on Wednesday marked his fourth appearance before Congress since last week, the highlight of which came during an open hearing before the House Oversight Committee. Cohen publicly described his decade working alongside the president, painting a damning picture of his former boss and accusing him of being a “liar,” “conman,” and “racist.”
On Monday, the House Judiciary Committee announced a wide-ranging probe into corruption and obstruction of justice, sending requests for documents to 81 people and entities associated with the president. The chairman of the House Oversight on Tuesday said he’s planning his next steps after the White House failed to comply with the panel’s deadline to submit documents related to “security clearance abuses.”
Meanwhile, Democrats on the House Ways and Means Committee are laying the groundwork for a fight over President Trump's tax returns, and the House Intelligence Committee, with whom Cohen is meeting Wednesday, announced earlier this week that it hired a former federal prosecutor with experience investigating Russian organized crime to lead their sprawling probe into the president’s alleged ties to Russia.
Pressure from Democrats sparked a vitriolic response from the president, who has sought to diminish the investigations as a “fishing expedition” that amounts to little more than “presidential harassment.”
But as these congressional probes are heating up, another marquee investigation appears to be winding down.
Special counsel Robert Mueller is reportedly approaching the conclusion of his nearly two-year investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
Cohen’s testimony Wednesday comes two months before he is scheduled to report to prison. A federal judge sentenced him to serve a three-year term for crimes to which he pleaded guilty, including tax and bank fraud, campaign finance violations and lying to Congress.