The House Oversight Committee — and the American public — will hear all about the work President Donald Trump's former lawyer did when Michael Cohen testifies next month. Before he begins a three-year prison sentence in March, Cohen will appear before the committee on Feb. 7, and he is expected to describe in detail what he did for Trump, The New York Times reported on Thursday.
According to CNBC, Cohen's decision to testify was voluntary. He believes that appearing before the committee will give him the opportunity “to give a full and credible account of the events that have transpired," according to a statement he issued on Thursday.
“In furtherance of my commitment to cooperate and provide the American people with answers, I have accepted the invitation by Chairman Elijah Cummings to appear publicly on February 7,” Cohen said in his statement, per The New York Times.
Back in August, Cohen pleaded guilty to tax evasion, bank fraud, and campaign finance violations. According to NBC News, Cohen attributed these violations to alleged hush money payments that he made to two women on the president's behalf. He also told the court that he knew these payments had been illegal.
Then, in November, Cohen also pleaded guilty to lying to Congress about the time frame in which negotiations over a proposed Trump Tower in Moscow took place back in 2016. As a result of these guilty pleas, Cohen was sentenced to three years in federal prison. However, he will appear before the House Oversight Committee before he begins his prison term.
Shortly before Cohen was sentenced in December, special counsel Robert Mueller filed a memo stating that Cohen had gone to "significant lengths" to assist his ongoing Russia investigation. In response, Trump insisted that there had been "no collusion" between his 2016 presidential campaign and Russian officials, The Hill reported. Then, after Cohen was sentenced, Trump denied that he had ordered Cohen to break the law.
"He was a lawyer and he is supposed to know the law," Trump said on Twitter at the time. "It is called 'advice of counsel,' and a lawyer has great liability if a mistake is made. That is why they get paid."
Shortly after Cohen announced that he would be testifying before the House Oversight Committee, Trump reportedly told The Washington Post's Philip Rucker that he was not "worried about it at all." According to CNN, Cohen's decision to testify marks Democrats' first attempt to investigate the president since they regained control of the House during the 2018 midterm elections.
In 2017, Cohen told Vanity Fair that he would "never walk away" from Trump, and that he "would take a bullet for the president." Since then, however, Cohen has become a Trump critic and a legal threat to the president, and in December, he said that he would no longer "cover up his dirty deeds." Instead, he plans to divulge them under oath to the House Oversight Committee next month.
According to CNN, both the House and Senate Intelligence Committees have also expressed an interest in speaking to Cohen before he begins his prison sentence, though it is not yet clear if he will be speaking to them or to any other committees.