Republicans are questioning whether meetings between disgraced former Trump personal attorney Michael Cohen amounted to coaching a witness, according to a Fox News report.
According to the report, which follows revelations this week that Cohen likely lied to the House Oversight Committee about his pursuit of a presidential pardon, Congressional Republicans were not convinced by Cohen’s testimony claiming that his meetings with members of Adam Schiff’s staff in the days before the hearing constituted routine prep, or preparations for “well-rehearsed theater.”
Ohio Rep. Mike Turner sent a letter to Cohen’s team demanding more details about with whom their client met and the length of the meetings and their locations.
But, Republicans have signaled they're not convinced, with Ohio Rep. Mike Turner sending a letter to Cohen's team on Wednesday demanding answers. Turner specifically asked for confirmation of Cohen’s contacts, if any, "with Democratic Members or Democratic staff of SSCI [Senate Select Committee on Intelligence], COR [House Committee on Oversight and Reform], or HPSCI [House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence] prior to his appearances before House and Senate committees last week" - as well as the lengths of such contacts, their locations and who exactly was involved. "These questions are important for the public to understand whether or not they were watching witness testimony, a public hearing, or well-rehearsed theater," he wrote. During last month’s seven-hour public hearing before the House Oversight Committee, Cohen hesitantly acknowledged, under questioning from Ohio GOP Rep. Jim Jordan, that he had spoken with Schiff "about topics that were going to be raised at the upcoming hearing."
In a statement, Schiff’s staff replied that it was “completely appropriate” to carry out “proffer sessions” and give witnesses an opportunity to review their testimony ahead of these meetings.
Asked about the revelations by email, a House Intelligence Committee spokesman defended the Schiff staff's pre-hearing discussions with Cohen. "We are running a professional investigation in search of the facts, and we welcome the opportunity to meet with potential witnesses in advance of any testimony to determine relevant topics to cover in order to make productive use of their time before the Committee," spokesman Patrick Boland told Fox News. "Despite this professed outrage by Republicans, it’s completely appropriate to conduct proffer sessions and allow witnesses to review their prior testimony before the Committee interviews them - such sessions are a routine part of every serious investigation around the country, including congressional investigations."
However, sources told Fox News that Cohen’s meetings lasted longer than 10 hours, while the hearing itself lasted seven, and that they were more involved than Cohen let on during his testimony. The sources said the sessions covered a range of topics, including the National Enquirer’s “Catch and Kill” policy and Cohen’s allegations about Trump undervaluing his assets.
During last month’s seven-hour public hearing before the House Oversight Committee, Cohen hesitantly acknowledged, under questioning from Ohio GOP Rep. Jim Jordan, that he had spoken with Schiff "about topics that were going to be raised at the upcoming hearing." But, he did not elaborate on the discussions, which Fox News is told extended significantly longer than the seven hours that the public hearing itself lasted. One by one, during the dramatic hearing, Cohen fielded questions on precisely the same topics that the sources told Fox News he discussed with Schiff’s staff during the sit-downs in New York. For example, in response to questioning from Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., Cohen discussed the purported practice of paying for the rights to news stories harmful to Trump, only to bury them. "I was involved in several of these catch-and-kill episodes," Cohen told Maloney, "but these catch-and-kill scenarios existed between David Pecker and Mr. Trump long before I started working in 2007."
Cohen and Schiff seem to have provided conflicting versions of discussions they had in advance of Cohen’s congressional testimony… either Cohen lied again during his testimony or Schiff is lying…again. https://t.co/K1LcqKtpXE pic.twitter.com/rQW60zBWIL
— Nick Short (@PoliticalShort) March 8, 2019
If Republicans are right, and Democrats did coach Cohen, they clearly didn’t do a very good job, as more of Cohen’s multiple prevarications are exposed.
And now that Schiff has been drawn into it, they are probably regretting the fact they clearly didn’t take the time to get their stories straight.
Jim Jordan talking about how Cohen/Schiff failed to get their story straight…
“Those are two different stories, and someone isn’t being straight with us…I think the average person would say wait a minute, something else is going on here.” pic.twitter.com/WqsCZRA5X9
— M3thods (@M2Madness) March 8, 2019
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