Michael Cohen to testify to Congress next month

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President Donald Trump's former lawyer Michael Cohen is set to testify publicly before the House Oversight Committee, Democrats announced on Thursday.

The campaign finance violations, which implicated the president in felony crimes, were for the hush-money payments to Stormy Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, and Karen McDougal over alleged extra-marital affairs Trump had years prior.

Federal prosecutors in the Southern District of NY have implicated, but not charged, the president in the deals reached in the closing weeks of the 2016 election, alleging in court filings that Cohen acted "in coordination with and at the direction of" Trump.

Trump Fixer Cohen Will Testify before Going to PrisonDonald Trump's former lawyer, Michael Cohen, will testify before Congress in February.

"I look forward to having the privilege of being afforded a platform with which to give a full and credible account of the events which have transpired", he said in a statement.

They now hold the chairmanship of committees with the power to hold hearings, inviting or forcing witnesses to testify in public.

Mr Cohen has made a few public comments since he was convicted of offences including tax fraud and a campaign finance violation.

Cohen had been a key figure in Trump's inner orbit for years - and played the role of attack dog in the press during the 2016 campaign - but has severed his relationship with his former boss and is cooperating in several investigations involving Trump. Trump told reporters in McAllen, Texas, on Thursday that he was "not worried" about Cohen's testimony "at all". In court filings, prosecutors have not named Trump, referring to a "candidate for federal office" and "Individual-1". Trump has denied that he directed Cohen to make the payments.

Mr Trump acted because he "was very concerned about how this would affect the election", Cohen said. He said he's speaking with Mueller's office to prevent that.

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Elijah Cummings, the committee's chair, said the panel would avoid interfering with Mueller's investigation.

In a December interview, Cummings, D-Md., said on CNN's "State of the Union" that he wanted Cohen to appear before Congress as soon as this month and signaled that he viewed it as a matter of extreme effect.

He pleaded guilty in August in return for a plea deal.

Cohen spoke in 2017 to the House and Senate Intelligence Committees - and later pleaded guilty to lying to them about the Trump Tower Moscow timeline - and both have indicated they want to speak to him again before he begins his jail sentence in March.

The Oversight Committee apparently isn't the Capitol Hill body with which Cohen is eager to speak.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, a Democrat from California, said he welcomes Cohen's testimony before the Oversight panel.

The oversight hearing may not be Cohen's only appearance.

He added, "As a lawyer, Mr. Cohen should have known better".

"Last November, the American people voted overwhelmingly for Congress to do two things - address the core issues that affect their daily lives, and fulfill our Constitutional responsibility to serve as an independent check and balance on the executive branch by restoring accountability and transparency", Mr Cummings said in a statement.