Republicans on the House Oversight Committee referred President Donald Trump’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen to the Justice Department on Thursday, alleging he perjured himself during his sworn testimony before the panel.
Cohen testified before the committee the previous day regarding his 10-year stint as a lawyer for the New York businessman.
In a letter to Attorney General William Barr, committee ranking member Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio and Rep. Mark Meadows of North Carolina charged that Cohen “made what appeared to be numerous willfully and intentionally false statements of material fact.”
They contended that some of his statements are contradicted by the record established during Cohen’s criminal prosecution by U.S. attorneys in the Southern District of New York, which resulted in him pleading guilty to lying to Congress, bank fraud, tax evasion and campaign finance violations.
🚨#BREAKING: Read @Jim_Jordan & @RepMarkMeadows’s letter referring #MichaelCohen to the Department of Justice for perjury and knowingly making false statements before the Committee at yesterday’s hearing.https://t.co/UYgjsNrA7A
— Oversight Committee Republicans (@GOPoversight) February 28, 2019
The lawmakers’ letter noted that during his Wednesday testimony, Cohen had stated, “I never defrauded any bank.” However, he pleaded guilty to bank fraud in August 2018.
Cohen further testified that he had never sought a position in the Trump White House, but court filings and statements from others familiar with the situation, two of whom were quoted in the letter, stand in direct conflict to this claim.
The congressmen pointed to tweets from Trump associates, including pastor Darrell Scott, who wrote on Wednesday during the House Oversight hearing, “Michael Cohen asked … no, BEGGED me REPEATEDLY, to ask the POTUS to give him a job in the Administration! He’s STILL lying under oath!”
Michael Cohen asked…no, BEGGED me REPEATEDLY, to ask the POTUS to give him a job in the Administration! He’s STILL lying under oath!
— Dr.Darrell Scott (@PastorDScott) February 27, 2019
When a position in the Trump administration did not materialize, “Cohen found a way to monetize his relationship with and access to the president,” according to court filings.
Additionally, Jordan and Meadows highlighted that Cohen’s verbal testimony contradicted the written statement he submitted to the committee prior to his appearance.
They offered the example of Cohen verbally testifying that he was a good lawyer who understood the need to present his client with sound legal advice, yet he made a payment to adult film star Stephanie Clifford, better known to some as Stormy Daniels, “without bothering to consider whether that was improper, much less whether it was the right thing to do,” according to his written statement.
Cohen also asserted before the committee that he had performed criminal acts out of “blind loyalty” to Trump and that the relationship has cost him everything. However, federal prosecutors determined his motivation was personal greed and ambition.
During his questioning of Cohen, Jordan argued the hearing was “choreographed” by former Bill and Hillary Clinton attorney Lanny Davis, who is now representing Cohen.
“That’s right, Lanny Davis choreographed the whole darn thing,” Jordan said. “The Clintons’ best friend, loyalist operative, Lanny Davis put this all together.”
“This might be the first time someone convicted of lying to Congress has appeared again so quickly in front of Congress.” – @Jim_Jordan
This is a total sham and Democrats know it. pic.twitter.com/7K32563PVQ
— Ronna McDaniel (@GOPChairwoman) February 27, 2019
“This might be the first time someone convicted of lying to Congress has appeared again so quickly in front of Congress,” he said. “Certainly it’s the first time a convicted perjurer has been brought back as a star witness in a hearing.”