March 6, 2019 / 8:47 PM / 18 days ago

Ex-Trump attorney Cohen hands over new documents to Congress

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen provided the U.S. House of Representatives Intelligence Committee with new documents and may hand over more, the panel’s chairman said after a day-long hearing behind closed doors.

Democratic Representative Adam Schiff told reporters that Cohen was cooperative and the eight-hour hearing was “very productive.” He did not say what the new documents related to and declined to comment on the substance of Cohen’s testimony.

“We had requested documents of Mr. Cohen. He has provided additional documents to the committee. There may be additional documents that he still has to offer and his cooperation with our committee continues,” Schiff said.

Cohen shared documents with lawmakers showing edits made to written testimony he provided to Congress in 2017, saying that an unsuccessful plan by Trump to build a tower in Moscow ended in January 2016, a congressional source said, confirming reports by CNN and the New York Times.

Cohen subsequently pleaded guilty to lying to Congress in the testimony. He has since said pursuit of the Moscow project continued until June 2016, after Trump had clinched the Republican presidential nomination.

During testimony last week, Cohen said Jay Sekulow, one of Trump’s lawyers, was among those who edited the 2017 document. Sekulow has called Cohen’s assertion “completely false.”

During the 2016 presidential campaign Trump denied he had any business dealings with Russia but has since defended the proposed tower project.

Cohen in public testimony last week before a different House committee, called Trump, his employer for more than 10 years, a “racist,” “conman” and “cheat.”

Cohen’s lawyer, Lanny Davis, said in a statement that Cohen has now spent 16 hours testifying before the intelligence committee.

“Mr. Cohen responded to all questions truthfully and has agreed at the request of chairman Schiff to provide additional information in the future, if needed. He also offered to answer additional questions from Republican members. He remains committed to telling the truth and cooperating with authorities,” Davis added.

Two congressional sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Cohen was also due to face questions from lawmakers on the issue of a pardon from his former boss. The sources added that Trump’s representatives maintain that Cohen’s team first raised the issue of receiving a pardon while the former lawyer’s representatives have said the opposite.

Intelligence panel members also were expected to question Cohen on Wednesday about Trump’s discussions with advisers in 2017 about how to respond when news reports first surfaced revealing that senior campaign figures including his son Donald Trump Jr., son-in-law Jared Kushner and campaign chairman Paul Manafort met in June 2016 with a Kremlin-linked Russian lawyer, one of the sources said.

Slideshow (7 Images)

Trump’s son arranged the meeting after being promised “dirt” on Trump’s Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton. When news of the meeting broke, Trump Jr. issued a statement saying it was set up to discuss adoption policy, not politics. He later admitted he had been expecting intelligence on Clinton.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller is completing an investigation into whether Trump’s campaign conspired with Russia and whether the president has unlawfully sought to obstruct the probe. Trump has denied collusion and obstruction, Russia has denied election interference.

Cohen is due to report to prison on May 6 to begin a three-year sentence after pleading guilty in a separate case last year to criminal charges including tax evasion, bank fraud and campaign finance violations.

Reporting by Mark Hosenball; editing by Kevin Drawbaugh, Lisa Shumaker and Alistair Bell

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