WASHINGTON, DC – Today, 100 days since Micheal Cohen testified before the Committee on Oversight and Reform, Congressman Jim Jordan (R-OH), Ranking Member of the Committee, and Congressman Mark Meadows (R-NC), Ranking Member of the Committee’s Government Operations Subcommittee, sent a letter to Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-MD) urging him to uphold the integrity of the Committee and hold Michael Cohen accountable for his perjury-laden testimony. By letter dated May 22, 2019, Chairman Cummings informed Ranking Member Jordan that the Chairman did not believe Cohen lied and considered the matter “closed.”
Excerpts from the letter:
“Cohen was the first announced witness of your chairmanship, who you invited to testify during a made-for-cable-news hearing to attack President Trump for political gain. While your defense of Cohen’s testimony is perhaps unsurprising, it ignores information that does not support your analysis and fails to address the totality of lies that Cohen uttered under oath.”
“Today marks 100 days since Cohen’s testimony. We are deeply disappointed that you have declined to hold Cohen accountable, despite your forceful promises to do so and contrary to Vice Chair Katie Hill’s expectation that you would. We can only assume that you worry that acknowledging Cohen’s lies would undermine the investigations on which they are based and ultimately undercut your partisan attacks upon the President. We hope that you will reconsider your decision, put the institutional interests of the Committee ahead of your political goals, and do what you promised to do.”
“Your entire course of conduct with respect to Michael Cohen has been deeply troubling. You allowed a prominent Democrat operative to use the Committee for an orchestrated partisan attack on the President. You declined to follow up on your promises to hold Cohen accountable for his lies to the Committee. You declined to hold a Committee vote on Cohen’s lies. You deferred action on Cohen’s lies until you reviewed his HPSCI testimony, but you never requested access to HPSCI’s transcripts. You admitted to considering writing a letter of commendation on behalf of Cohen to reduce his prison sentence. You admitted to speaking on the phone with Cohen before he began his prison sentence, but you have not informed the Committee about the substance of your phone call.”
“You may consider this matter ‘closed’ because you want it to go away. But respectfully, you invited Michael Cohen before the Committee and you must live with the consequences. We warned you about the dangers of showcasing the testimony of a convicted liar. The stain of Cohen’s testimony will continue to tarnish the Committee’s reputation and that of your chairmanship until you accept the overwhelming evidence that he lied and act to hold him accountable.”
Full text of the letter can be found here.
Timeline of Events:
- On January 10, 2019, Chairman Cummings announced that Michael Cohen “agreed to testify” before the Committee.
- On January 11, 2019, Ranking Member Jordan sent a letter to Chairman Cummings requesting additional documents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Department of Justice, as well as a transcribed interview with Cohen to ensure a fact-based hearing.
- On January 18, 2019, Republican Oversight staff met with Cohen lawyer and media advisor, Lanny Davis, who was unable to answer several questions about to Cohen’s appearance. Subsequently, Ranking Member Jordan and Rep. Meadows sent a letter to Cohen’s criminal defense attorney, requesting additional documents and information.
- On February 19, 2019, Ranking Member Jordan and Rep. Meadows sent a letter to Chairman Cummings requesting additional information and material in advance of Cohen’s scheduled appearance on February 27th.
- On February 21, 2019, Ranking Member Jordan and Rep. Meadows sent a letter to Cohen’s lawyer and media advisor, Lanny Davis, requesting more information on the strategic consulting, lobbying, and foreign agent work that Cohen sought to undertake after he was denied a staff position at the White House.
- On February 27, 2019, Cohen appeared before the full committee to testify publicly – he lied at least seven times.
- During the hearing on February 27, 2019, Chairman Cummings warned him “if he [Cohen] came in here and lied I would nail him to the cross.”
- On February 28, 2019, Ranking Member Jordan and Rep. Meadows sent a letter to Attorney General William Barr referring Michael Cohen to the U.S. Department of Justice for perjury and knowingly making false statements before the Committee.
- On March 7, 2019, during a full committee hearing, Chairman Cummings reiterated that he would “nail [Cohen] to the cross” if Cohen lied.
- On March 13, 2019, Ranking Member Jordan and Rep. Meadows sent a letter to Chairman Cummings requesting that he join their criminal referral to the Department of Justice. Chairman Cummings issued a press release stating he would review the transcript of Cohen’s interview before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) when it becomes available and “determine whether any additional steps are required.”
- On March 26, 2019, Chairman Cummings reiterated his need to review HPSCI transcripts at a full committee business meeting.
- On April 2, 2019, Ranking Member Jordan and Rep. Meadows sent a letter to HPSCI Chairman Schiff and Ranking Member Nunes requesting Cohen’s HPSCI interview transcripts be made available to Chairman Cummings and the Committee.
- On April 4, 2019, Cohen lawyer and media advisor, Lanny Davis, sent a letter to four House Democratic chairmen requesting to have Cohen’s prison sentence reduced in exchange for cooperating with Congress.
- On April 9, 2019, Chairman Cummings told a reporter that he was undecided on whether to help reduce Cohen’s prison sentence.
- On April 10, 2019, Oversight Republicans introducedHouse Resolution 304, a privileged resolution that would force House Democrats to hold convicted liar Michael Cohen accountable for his lies to the Committee.
- On May 1, 2019, House Democrats voted to tableHouse Resolution 304, preventing the House from considering the resolution.
- On May 6, 2019, Cohen began his three year prison sentence.
- On May 7, 2019, Chairman Cummings told a reporter that he had a phone call with Cohen.
- On May 20, 2019, HPSCI released both Cohen interview transcripts.
- On May 22, 2019, Chairman Cummings sent a letter to Ranking Member Jordan, addressing only one lie that Cohen delivered in his testimony, informing them that he would not join the criminal referral to the Department of Justice, and stating that the matter was “closed.”
- On June 7, 2019, Ranking Member Jordan and Rep. Meadows sent a letter to Chairman Cummings urging the Chairman to do what he promised to do – hold Cohen accountable for his lies.