Trump's Lawyer Disobeys Senate Directive Moments Before Scheduled Hearing
Donald Trump's personal lawyer Michael Cohen made a severe misstep when he issued a public statement about his then-scheduled closed-door testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee.
That's because the committee had specifically told Cohen not to make any public comment on his testimony. After issuing a statement through his personal attorney, Cohen then discovered that this closed-door session had been scrapped in favor of a public session scheduled for October. For now, the panel has only issued an invitation for Cohen to testify, but the implicit message is that they will use a subpoena to compel his attendance should he choose to decline.
In a CNN interview, chairman Richard Burr (R-NC) said the message behind the move was clear.
"What we do is behind closed doors," Burr told CNN.
Burr then went on to elaborate about how testimony and public statements from the Jared Kushner camp earlier this year changed how the committee is going about its interviews with members of the Trump camp.
"We changed the agreement we had with people since Jared Kushner was in, and this is the model we'll follow," Burr said. "We don't expect individuals who come behind closed doors to publicly go out and tell (their side only)."
According to Cohen's attorney, Stephen Ryan, the committee was given "a copy of the short opening statement Mr. Cohen intended to present today to the media." He went on, "That statement was factual, accurate and respectful, and consistent with the information we had previously provided to the Committee. We stand by the statement."
And now it looks as though Cohen will be "standing by" his statement in open session rather than behind the friendly confines of closed-door testimony, making it the most anticipated event on the Hill in regards to the Russia probe since former FBI Director James Comey's testimony concerning his firing.