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Cohen departs following the cancellation of his meeting with the Senate Intelligence panel on Capitol Hill. Photo: Andrew Harnik / AP

Michael Cohen, a close associate and former lawyer for President Trump's business, was set to appear before the Senate Intelligence Committee today as part of the probe into election interference by Russia. But the committee's staff canceled the meeting this morning, per The Washington Post.

What happened today: Cohen had arrived with his attorney for the interview but left after about an hour since committee staff had informed him they didn't want to interview him. Committee chairman Richard Burr and vice chairman Mark Warner said in a statement that the committee broke the meeting off because Cohen broke an agreement not to release a public statement before the meeting. Cohen will be rescheduled for an open hearing.

Context: Former MI6 agent Christopher Steele alleged in the unverified Trump dossier that Cohen helped the Russian efforts by meeting with Kremlin associates in Prague. Cohen also was involved in discussions for building a Trump Tower in Moscow, and turned over emails relating to the discussions last month.

Key points from his prepared statement, via CNN:

  • "I have never engaged with, been paid by, paid for, or conversed with any member of the Russian Federation or anyone else to hack anyone or any organization" including the "Democratic Party computers."
  • He denied helping create fake news stories to amp up Trump's campaign.
  • He said he never saw anything — "not a hint of anything" — that showed Trump was involved in Russian interference in the election or "any form of Russian collusion."
  • Cohen said the dossier was "riddled with total falsehoods and intentionally salacious accusations."
  • He said he has never been to Prague or the Czech Republic.
  • About the Moscow Trump Tower exploration: "This was solely a real estate deal and nothing more."

Kicker: "You can oppose the President's points of view and his policies, but not raise false issues about the validity of his victory."

Go deeper

Scramble over gas for EU as Russia threatens Ukraine

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Cracks in the NATO alliance regarding sanctions for Russia should President Vladimir Putin order troops into Ukraine are in large part based on energy supply concerns.

Why it matters: Russia holds tremendous leverage over some European countries because it provides roughly 40% of Europe's natural gas supply. In Germany, this figure is greater than 50%.

Why the Fed might want to jolt the markets

Fed chair Jerome Powell at a hearing earlier this month. Photo: Brendan Smialowski-Pool/Getty Images

So far, financial markets are cooperating nicely with the Federal Reserve's efforts to restrain inflation. They're doing the Fed's work for it by creating tighter financial conditions, in a distinctly non-panicky way.

  • But as the central bank's policymakers meet this week, an underlying question they face is whether the adjustment is happening too slowly.
Kate Marino, author of Markets
3 hours ago - Economy & Business

Omicron outbreaks were bad for business in January

Data: New York Federal Reserve Bank; Chart: Axios Visuals

Emerging anecdotal evidence shows just how hard the recent rise in COVID-19 cases hit businesses in early January — but that hasn't hurt some business leaders’ longer-term views of their companies' prospects.

Why it matters: Increasingly, the economic recovery has come in fits and starts that move in tandem with new peaks in cases. Look no further than the thousands of canceled flights and shuttered Broadway theaters in the wake of the Omicron variant's spread over the last few months.

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