Cohen to testify publicly before House panel

President Donald Trump's former personal attorney exits the United States Courthouse after sentencing at the in New York

Cohen to testify publicly before House panel

Cohen's decision to appear before the House Oversight and Reform Committee on February 7 sets the stage for a blockbuster public hearing that threatens to further damage the president's image and could clarify the depth of his legal woes.

Cohen addressed his relationship with Trump at his sentencing, saying he had "blind loyalty to this man that led me to choose a path of darkness over light". Federal prosecutors have said Trump directed those payments during the campaign.

The president has denied the affairs but has deployed shifting explanations about when he learned about the payments to the women.

Cohen has pleaded guilty in both investigations and was sentenced last month to three years in prison.

Now he is clearly intent on taking aim at the president - and he could inflict some serious damage, even though Mr Trump's current lawyer, former NY mayor Rudy Giuliani, has dismissed him as "a thoroughly discredited liar".

Cohen added: "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".

Cohen is expected to face tough questions about hush-money payments he arranged on Trump's behalf to keep extramarital affair allegations out of the news during the 2016 presidential election.

"This will be a day that President Trump is going to hate", Tapper said.

Cohen has also admitted lying to Congress about a Trump Tower deal in Russian Federation during the campaign.

Adult film star Stormy Daniels, whose legal name is Stephanie Clifford, was paid $130,000 and former Playboy model Karen McDougal was paid $150,000 by Cohen.

Cohen is due to report to prison in early March. He said, "To that end, we are in the process of consulting with Special Counsel Mueller's office".

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee ranking member Elijah Cummings at the Capitol in Washington, U.S., September 21, 2016.

"This makes clear that Chairman Cummings and the Democrats will do whatever it takes to attack this President", Jordan said in a statement.

But because he pleaded guilty he was never cross-examined on details of his dealings with Mr Trump.

In the interview, Cummings compared Cohen's appearance to that of John Dean, President Richard Nixon's White House counsel, who in 1973 appeared before a special Senate committee investigating the Watergate scandal in which he implicated himself, top administration officials and the president himself in a cover-up of the 1972 break-in at the Democratic National Committee headquarters. He also thanked Cohen for agreeing to testify voluntarily.

Cohen's hearing date is subject to change, Cummings noted.

The House Intelligence Committee has been seeking a closed-door session with Cohen to discuss Russia-related matters.

The president has assailed the various investigations, while Russian Federation has denied trying to interfere in the 2016 election for the purposes of sowing discord and improving Trump's prospects.

Schiff wants to restart parts of that probe.

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