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Michael Cohen. Photo: Cheriss May/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The House Intelligence Committee is investigating whether 4 Trump family lawyers obstructed justice in the Russia investigation by helping Michael Cohen shape his false testimony to Congress and offering a potential pardon in exchange for his loyalty, according to letters obtained by the New York Times.

"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. 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."
— House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff

Details: The panel's investigation stems from claims Cohen made during his February testimony before the House Oversight Committee, including that Trump's personal lawyers edited his sworn statement before he sent it to Congress. Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) sent document requests to the following lawyers, who are part of a joint defense agreement with the president's allies, per the Times:

  • Jay Sekulow, who represents President Trump
  • Alan S. Futerfas, who represents Donald Trump Jr.
  • Alan Garten, who represents the Trump Organization
  • Abbe D. Lowell, who represents Ivanka Trump

In a statement on behalf of the group, an attorney for Sekulow said Schiff was pursuing "a truly needless dispute — this one with private attorneys — that would force them to violate privileges and ethical rules." Their attorneys also sought to cast doubt on the reliability of Cohen, who is currently serving a prison sentence for lying to investigators.

  • Cohen pleaded guilty to lying to the Senate Intelligence Committee in 2017 about the length and scope of his work on plans to build a Trump Tower in Moscow. In his testimony in February, Cohen said he briefed Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump on the project's progress about 10 times.

What's next: Schiff is prepared to issue a subpoena for the requested documents and testimony if the men do not cooperate, a senior committee aide told the Times.

The letters:

Go deeper

Biden to tap telecom trio for NTIA, FCC posts

Jessica Rosenworcel. Photo: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call

President Joe Biden on Tuesday is expected to name Alan Davidson as head of the telecom arm of the Commerce Department, Jessica Rosenworcel as chairwoman of the Federal Communications Commission and Gigi Sohn as a commissioner at the FCC, according to a person familiar with the process.

Why it matters: Internet availability and affordability has been a key policy priority for the White House, but the administration lagged in tapping people for the agency posts that oversee the issues.

24 mins ago - Technology

Facebook seeks fountain of youth

Data: Piper Sandler Taking Stock With Teens Study; Chart: Axios Visuals

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Monday said that the company is pivoting its strategy to focus on young adults, following reports that teens have fled its apps.

Why it matters: A series of stories based on leaked whistleblower documents suggest the company sees the aging of its user base as an existential threat to its business.

Too big to cover alone: Newsrooms team up

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

News outlets are increasingly willing to work together on big, multifaceted stories — including this week's reporting on leaked documents from a Facebook whistleblower.

Why it matters: Collaborative efforts help bring more resources to bear on complex stories, some of which require a global reporting effort. But they require high degrees of coordination, and competition can sometimes get in the way.