Columns

Cohen Returning to House Intel Committee After Full Day of Closed-Door Testimony

Michael Cohen leaves a closed-door interview with the House Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill on Feb. 28, 2019. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

WASHINGTON — Wrapping up his third day on Capitol Hill, former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen emerged from a closed-door House Intelligence Committee hearing to say he would be coming back to answer more questions March 6.

Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) also told reporters that Felix Sater, a Russian-born real-estate developer and longtime Trump associate, would be coming before the committee to testify in a public hearing on March 14.

“I think we all feel it was a very productive interview today where he was able to shed light on a lot of issues that are very core to our investigation and we were able to drill down in great detail,” Schiff said of today’s meeting with Cohen.

“I should tell you just to set your expectations, not every hearing is going to be like the open hearing with Michael Cohen. We’re going to try to do as much as we can in open session. Some we can and some we can’t,” he added of the upcoming Sater interview. “…We have to look at these on a case-by-case basis in terms of the investigative needs as well as equities of the Department of Justice, but we are going to try to do as much as we can in the open.”

Schiff wouldn’t comment on the content of Cohen’s testimony today but vowed the transcript would eventually be released to the public “at the appropriate point.”

“We’re not going to do that before his testimony is complete and we’re going to have to determine whether there are any investigative equities in terms of the timing after his second session with us. I can say that on a number of the topics that he testified about yesterday, we were able to go into great detail. But we also covered a number of items and issues important to us that were not the subject of the hearing yesterday,” he said, referring to Cohen’s Wednesday testimony before the House Oversight and Reform Committee.

Schiff said Cohen was “fully cooperative and answered all” of the committee’s questions.

Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.), a member of the committee, told CNN that Cohen revealed “very valuable new leads… and he’s been asked to bring back some documents to corroborate what he’s told us.”

Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas) similarly said, without elaborating, that “we learned a lot of new things.”

The Daily Beast reported today that the House Intelligence Committee also intends to call Trump Organization chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg, the money man frequently referenced in Cohen’s Oversight testimony. Last year it was reported that prosecutors with the Southern District of New York gave Weisselberg limited immunity for his cooperation in the Stormy Daniels hush money probe.

“They are doing exactly what they said before the election. That their whole goal is to try to impeach the president,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said at his weekly press conference. “It’s not about the challenge that we face as America. It’s not about the challenge that we face to make the next century ours. This is purely political.”