russia investigation

House Seeks Interviews With Trump’s Inner Circle in Wake of Michael Cohen Testimony

Michael Cohen testifies before the House Oversight and Reform Committee on Capitol Hill, February 27, 2019. Photo: Melina Mara/The Washington Post/Getty Images

Michael Cohen’s six-hour testimony in front of the House Oversight Committee was blockbuster viewing for close watchers of the Russia investigation — and for anyone who enjoys stories about the president belittling his eldest son. In the wake of the testimony of Trump’s former fixer, there’s good news for fans on both fronts: On Thursday, reports emerged that two House committees are pursuing interviews with key figures in the president’s business and campaign, including Ivanka Trump, Donald Trump Jr., Felix Sater, and Trump Organization executive Allen Weisselberg. As if those four Trump-world heavyweights aren’t enough, Cohen will have a private visit with the House Intelligence Committee on March 6, a week after his initial Oversight Committee testimony. It’s also the day he was originally ordered to report to prison, before a federal judge delayed his sentence so he could provide testimony to the Democrat-controlled House.

On Thursday, Elijah Cummings, the head of the House Oversight Committee that grilled Michael Cohen Wednesday, announced that he intended to speak with the president’s eldest son and daughter, after Cohen claimed that both Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump had been briefed “approximately ten” times about the Trump Tower Moscow project. That contradicts Trump Jr.’s September 2017 statement under oath to the Senate Judiciary Committee, stating that he knew “very little” about the building, and was “peripherally aware” of its progress. In an interview from February 9, Ivanka Trump said that she knew “literally almost nothing” about the pursuit of a building in Moscow. Of these two, Donald Jr. is the Trump more legally exposed: As Michael Cohen knows, it is a crime to lie to Congress. It is not a crime to lie on network television.

Undoubtedly, the House Oversight Committee will also ask Trump Jr. about Michael Cohen’s claim that he confirmed with his father that “the meeting is all set,” referring to the June 2016 Trump Tower conference — where Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, and Paul Manafort met with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, and in which the campaign reportedly expected to receive information that would “incriminate” Hillary Clinton. Trump Jr.’s accounts of the meeting have been notoriously unreliable, except for the claim that he did not coordinate with his father about it. “No, I did not,” he answered during his May 2018 Senate testimony, when asked if he informed his father about the meeting.

On Thursday, House Intelligence chairman Adam Schiff announced the committee would hold a public hearing with Felix Sater, Trump’s Russian-born partner in the hemorrhaging Trump Soho project, who is also a convicted felon who once stabbed a man with a broken margarita glass in a Manhattan Mexican restaurant. Sater also reportedly worked on securing Trump Tower Moscow, which Schiff and fellow Intelligence committee Democrats will test him on. The committee reportedly plans to interrogate the Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg, after Michael Cohen repeatedly mentioned him in various Trump flash points, from possible insurance fraud to the Stormy Daniels payoff.

All of the forthcoming testimony, if delivered, will probably not be as salacious as the first public Cohen hearing: Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump obviously have no intention of exposing their father’s alleged misconduct, and Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff has stated that he does not anticipate “every hearing … to be like the open hearing with Michael Cohen.” Still, that first testimony will be historically significant to the larger Trump-Russia investigations — not only for the jaw-dropping level of detail from the president’s former “family fix-it guy,” but for the additional rounds of testimony to come screeching forth from Cohen’s first-day marathon.

House Seeks Talks With Ivanka, Don Jr. After Cohen Testimony