When asked directly whether or not Michael Cohen’s claims that President Trump made threats against his family, Trump gave an indirect answer.
“I would say he’s been threatened by the truth,” Trump said Wednesday in response to a question about whether or not he or his lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, had threatened Cohen’s family. “He probably doesn’t want to do that for me other of his clients. He has other clients, I assume. He doesn’t want to tell the truth for me or other of his clients.”
President Trump on accusations that he and his lawyer has threatened Michael Cohen and his family: "I would say he's been threatened by the truth, he’s only been threatened by the truth … He doesn’t want to tell the truth for me.” pic.twitter.com/ColmFEoEYz
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) January 23, 2019
Cohen, who was President Trump’s longtime personal attorney and “fixer,” was initially scheduled to testify under oath before the House of Representatives on February 7 regarding his admission that he committed crimes on Trump’s behalf. However, Cohen announced that he was postponing his testimony due to threats from Trump and Giuliani “as recently as this weekend,” according to Politico.
Lawmakers likely would have questioned Cohen about his implication of Trump, and possibly members of Trump’s family, in the commission of several felonies. In his guilty plea, Cohen admitted to making illegal hush money payments to adult film actress Stephanie Clifford (also known as Stormy Daniels) and model Karen McDougal, in order to prevent them about speaking to the media about affairs they had with Trump in the lead-up to the 2016 election.
Additionally, Cohen would have almost certainly been asked to elaborate on claims made in a recent BuzzFeed report claiming that Trump instructed Cohen to lie to Congress in a previous testimony about the construction of a Trump Tower real estate project in Moscow, and that Trump instructed him to move forward with setting up a face-to-face meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The Office of Special Counsel Robert Mueller disputed the accuracy of certain characterizations of events in the report, but BuzzFeed editor-in-chief Ben Smith stood by the initial report.
In an official statement, both House Oversight Committee chairman Elijah Cummings (D-Maryland) and House Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff (D-California) described Trump’s alleged intimidation of Cohen and his family as “textbook mob tactics.” They added that they remained committed to having Cohen testify, saying that not having Cohen’s testimony was “never an option.”
Tom Cahill is a contributor for Grit Post who covers political and economic news. He lives in Bend, Oregon. Send him an email at tom DOT v DOT cahill AT gmail DOT com.