It has been more than 100 days since former Trump attorney Michael Cohen testified before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI), and some House Republicans want to know why he hasn’t been held accountable for perjury.
Reps. Jim Jordan (R-OH) and Mark Meadows (R-NC) wrote a letter to Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), who chairs the House Oversight and Reform Committee, on the 100-day anniversary of Cohen’s testimony. The letter acknowledges Cummings’ past defense of his decision not to hold Cohen accountable, and lays out several ways in which Cohen lied before congress.
Your exoneration of Cohen narrowly focuses on only one of Cohen’s lies: “I have never asked for, nor would I accept, a pardon from President Trump.” However, a straightforward reading of the sources cited in your May 22 letter – Cohen’s attorneys’ statements; Cohen’s February 28 and March 6 HPSCI testimony; and Special Counsel Robert Mueller III’s report – actually contradict your conclusion. These sources provide ample support that Cohen directed his attorneys to seek a pardon from the President, contrary to his sworn statement.
In all three sources Cohen admitted that he spoke, or directed his attorneys to speak, with the President’s representatives about a pardon. The Special Counsel’s report notes that “Cohen …recalled speaking with the President’s personal counsel about pardons after the searches of his home and office had occurred …” In his testimony before HPSCI on March 6, Cohen admitted that he directed his then-attorney to discuss a pardon with President Trump’s representatives and that he would have accepted it if offered.
Jordan and Meadows pointed out other lies in Cohen’s testimony, including:
- Cohen’s repeated denials of wanting a job in the White House, which is contrary to court documents submitted by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York;
- Cohen’s assertion that he “never defrauded any bank,” despite pleading guilty to bank fraud; and
- Cohen’s denial of originating the twitter account @WomenForCohen, which contrary to the assertion of the owner of an IT firm who recounted that Cohen directed him to create the account.
Jordan and Meadows accused Cummings of refusing to even address these and other lies from Cohen for political reasons.
“Finally, we learned through the release of these HPSCI transcripts that Cohen engaged in extensive and exclusive strategy sessions with Oversight Committee Democrats before his testimony to our Committee to preemptively address Cohen’s credibility problems,” the congressmen wrote. “This information just reinforces our longstanding concerns that Cohen’s testimony was not legitimate oversight but merely an episode of political theater proposed and produced by a prominent Democrat operative.”
The letter will not likely sway Cummings, given its confrontational nature, but it is useful in pointing out Cummings’ hypocrisy. Before Cohen testified, he had said that he would “be the first one to refer that – those untruthful statements to [the Department of Justice]” if the former Trump “fixer” lied. Now it appears Cummings was only interested in Cohen’s testimony for its harm to President Donald Trump.
“You may consider this matter ‘closed’ because you want it to go away,” Jordan and Meadows concluded. “But respectfully, you invited Michael Cohen before the Committee and you must live with the consequences. We warned you about the dangers of showcasing the testimony of a convicted liar. The stain of Cohen’s testimony will continue to tarnish the Committee’s reputation and that of your chairmanship until you accept the overwhelming evidence that he lied and act to hold him accountable."