Michael Cohen to testify publicly before Congress in February

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Michael Cohen to testify publicly before Congress in February

They now hold the chairmanship of committees with the power to hold hearings, inviting or forcing witnesses to testify in public.

President Donald Trump's former lawyer Michael Cohen said on Thursday he has agreed to testify publicly before a US House of Representatives committee on February 7.

That means that he wants to talk.

Cohen said Thursday in a statement that he looks forward to having a platform to give a "full and credible account of the events which have transpired".

Prosecutors from the Southern District of NY, in addition to Cohen's own admissions, said both of the payments were made "at the direction of" then-candidate Trump leading up to the 2016 election to surpress possible damning information from becoming public.

Cohen cooperated with Mueller's investigation after his August guilty plea, and his congressional testimony could thrust some of those still-private details he provided into the public sphere.

At his sentencing last month, Cohen said that he had felt a "blind loyalty" to Trump that compelled him to cover up the president's "dirty deeds", and that he was sorry to have done it.

And what stories he could tell.

Cohen was sentenced to three years in prison.

"Recently, the President tweeted a statement calling me 'weak, ' and he was correct, but for a much different reason than he was implying", Cohen said at the time.

Russian Federation has denied US intelligence agencies' findings that it meddled in the 2016 campaign, while Trump has denied any collusion with Moscow and called Mueller's probe a "witch hunt".

Michael Cohen's decision to appear before the House Oversight and Reform Committee on February 7 sets the stage for a blockbuster public hearing that threatens to further damage the president's image and could clarify the depth of his legal woes.

Elijah Cummings, the committee's chair, said the panel would avoid interfering with Mueller's investigation.

Cohen, in a statement, said he agreed to testify in "furtherance of my commitment to cooperate and provide the American people with answers".

Cohen was sentenced to three years in prison December 12 by U.S. District Judge William H. Pauley III.

The campaign finance violations, which implicated the president in felony crimes, were for the hush-money payments to Stormy Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, and Karen McDougal over alleged extra-marital affairs Trump had years prior.

Special counsel Robert Mueller is also investigating "any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated" with the Trump campaign. Trump has denied the trysts.

Given Cohen's prolonged time spent in proximity to Trump, his family and the Trump Organization, some insiders consider his cooperation with authorities to be one of most serious potential legal threats to confront the president. Those payments were at the center of Cohen's plea to federal campaign finance charges previous year.

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