Jan 23, 2019

Michael Cohen postpones House testimony, blames Trump "threats"

Michael Cohen. Photo: Eduardo Munoz Alvarez via Getty Images

President Trump's former lawyer Michael Cohen said that he will postpone his scheduled Feb. 7 testimony before the House Oversight Committee due to "threats against his family from President Trump and Mr. Giuliani," as well as his cooperation in ongoing investigations, his lawyer said Wednesday.

The big picture: House Oversight chair Elijah Cummings and House Intelligence chair Adam Schiff issued a statement Wednesday saying that while they understand Cohen's concerns, "not appearing before Congress was never an option ... We will not let the President's tactics prevent Congress from fulfilling our constitutionally mandated oversight responsibilities." President Trump, on hearing the news that Cohen was postponing his testimony over threats to his family, told reporters that Cohen is being "threatened by the truth."

  • House Democrats issued a statement on Jan. 13 warning Trump about obstructing congressional investigators and potential witness intimidation, following the president's tweets and comments about Cohen's father-in-law, Fima Shusterman.
  • Shusterman pleaded guilty in 1993 to federal income tax fraud related to his taxicab business in New York, and loaned at least $20 million to a major Chicago cab operator mentioned in the FBI warrants used to raid Cohen’s home, office and hotel room last April.
  • Cohen has been ordered to report to prison on March 6, leaving him less than 4 weeks to reschedule his testimony.

The full statement from Cohen's lawyer:

"Mr. Cohen volunteered to testify before the House Oversight Committee on February 7th. Due to ongoing threats against his family from President Trump and Mr. Giuliani, as recently as this weekend, as well as Mr. Cohen's continued cooperation with ongoing investigations, by advice of counsel, Mr. Cohen's appearance will be postponed to a later date. Mr. Cohen wishes to thank Chairman Cummings for allowing him to appear before the House Oversight Committee and looks forward to testifying at the appropriate time. This is a time where Mr. Cohen had to put his family and their safety first."

Go deeper: Michael Cohen sentenced to 3 years in prison

Go deeper

World coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

There are no COVID-19 patients in hospital in New Zealand, which reported just 21 active cases after days of zero new infections. A top NZ health official said Tuesday he's "confident we have broken the chain of domestic transmission."

By the numbers: Almost 5.5 million people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus as of Tuesday, and more than 2.2 million have recovered. The U.S. has reported the most cases in the world (over 1.6 million from 14.9 million tests).

U.S. coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios. This graphic includes "probable deaths" that New York City began reporting on April 14.

Coronavirus antibody tests are still relatively unreliable, and it's unclear if people who get the virus are immune to getting it again, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cautioned on Tuesday.

By the numbers: More than 98,900 people have died from COVID-19 and over 1.6 million have tested positive in the U.S. Over 384,900 Americans have recovered and more than 14.9 million tests have been conducted.

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9:30 p.m. ET: 5,588,299 — Total deaths: 350,417 — Total recoveries — 2,286,827Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9:30 p.m. ET: 1,680,625 — Total deaths: 98,902 — Total recoveries: 384,902 — Total tested: 14,907,041Map.
  3. Federal response: DOJ investigates meatpacking industry over soaring beef pricesMike Pence's press secretary returns to work.
  4. Congress: House Republicans to sue Nancy Pelosi in effort to block proxy voting.
  5. Business: How the new workplace could leave parents behind.
  6. Tech: Twitter fact-checks Trump's tweets about mail-in voting for first timeGoogle to open offices July 6 for 10% of workers.
  7. Public health: Coronavirus antibodies could give "short-term immunity," CDC says, but more data is neededCDC releases guidance on when you can be around others after contracting the virus.
  8. What should I do? When you can be around others after contracting the coronavirus — Traveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  9. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

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Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy