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- The House Intelligence Committee is investigating whether four lawyers connected to President Donald Trump’s family helped craft the false testimony Michael Cohen gave to Congress in 2017, The New York Times reported.
- As part of the special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, Cohen pleaded guilty last year to lying to Congress when testifying about the Trump Tower Moscow project.
- House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff sent lengthy document requests to the four lawyers – Jay Sekulow, Alan Futerfas, Alan Garten, and Abbe Lowell – on May 3.
- “Among other things, it appears that your clients may have reviewed, shaped and edited the false statement that Cohen submitted to the committee, including causing the omission of material facts,” Schiff wrote to the lawyers in a letter sent on May 3, according to The Times.
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The House Intelligence Committee is investigating whether lawyers connected to President Donald Trump and his family helped craft the false testimony that Michael Cohen gave to the panel in 2017, The New York Times reported.
Citing a series of undisclosed letters from House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, The Times reported that the committee sent document requests to four lawyers tied to Trump: Jay Sekulow, who represents Trump; Alan Futerfas, who represents Donald Trump Jr.; Alan Garten, the top lawyer at the Trump Organization; and Abbe Lowell, who represents Ivanka Trump and senior adviser Jared Kushner.
“Among other things, it appears that your clients may have reviewed, shaped and edited the false statement that Cohen submitted to the committee, including causing the omission of material facts,” Schiff wrote to the lawyers in a letter sent on May 3, according to The Times.
He continued: “In addition, certain of your clients may have engaged in discussions about potential pardons in an effort to deter one or more witnesses from cooperating with authorized investigations.”
Schiff’s document requests came after Cohen, who served as Trump’s longtime lawyer and fixer before pleading guilty to several felonies in 2018, told lawmakers earlier this year that the lawyers edited the false testimony he gave to Congress in 2017.
“Trump’s personal lawyers reviewed and edited my statement to Congress about the timing of the Moscow Tower negotiations before I gave it,” Cohen said in February.
Cohen’s 2017 testimony centered around the Trump Organization’s efforts to build a Trump Tower in Moscow at the height of the 2016 election.
In August 2017, Cohen falsely told the panel that the Trump Organization scrapped the Moscow project by January 2016, when in fact negotiations for the proposal continued through June of that year. He also testified that he had never discussed potentially traveling to Russia with Trump to push for the Trump Tower Moscow deal, and he downplayed Trump’s role in and knowledge of the negotiations.
In late 2018, as part of the special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, Cohen pleaded guilty to lying to Congress about the timeline of the proposal and the level of involvement in the project by the Trump family.
Cohen testified in detail to the House Oversight Committee in February about the Trump Tower Moscow proposal, the lies he claimed to have told on Trump’s behalf, and other potential criminal wrongdoing on the part of Trump and his family members. Among other things, Cohen told the panel Trump’s lawyers dangled a potential presidential pardon to secure his loyalty.
“If any individual is allowed to lie to our committee or encourage others to do so, hide behind inapplicable privileges, or otherwise fail to provide anything less than full cooperation, other witnesses will be emboldened to similarly obstruct, both now and in the future,” Schiff said in a statement.
Meanwhile, Patrick Strawbridge, a lawyer who represents Sekulow, told The Times in a statement on behalf of the group that Schiff was going after a “truly needless dispute – this one with private attorneys – that would force [the attorneys] to violate privileges and ethical rules.”
“As committed defense lawyers, we will respect the constitution and defend the attorney-client privilege – one of the oldest and most sacred privileges in the law,” Strawbridge continued.