Congress just can’t quit him. Michael Cohen is currently scheduled to appear before the Senate Intelligence Committee on February 12 in response to a subpoena issued in the early hours of Thursday morning. And, according to one former prosecutor, expect his testimony to deal with “counterintelligence” concerns.
Cohen had earlier attempted to skip out on congressional investigators by revoking a previously promised appearance before the House Oversight Committee. Cohen excused himself from that once-accepted invite by citing recent “threats against his family”–allegedly from President Donald Trump and his lead attorney Rudy Giuliani.
The Senate, however, had other ideas.
The eight Republicans and seven Democrats on the Select Committee on Intelligence decided that Cohen had something worth listening to–and soon. Senator Richard Burr (R-N.C.) is the chairman and Senator Mark Warner (D-Va.) is the ranking Democrat on that panel.
As previously noted by Law&Crime, Michael Avenatti categorized the subpoena as “a ploy” by the GOP “to protect Trump.”
Other experts aren’t so sure.
Bob Bianchi is a former New Jersey county prosecutor who currently works as a criminal defense attorney and as a host on the Law&Crime Network. Law&Crime reached out to Bianchi for his take on the latest Cohen subpoena.
In an email, he said:
The sign to me [that] this is in earnest…is that…Mark Warner, has signed off on the subpoena as well. Warner is a serious person and thinker. He would not be part of something that he felt was a sham. And, while the House hearings have been nothing more than a clown-like farce, the Senate has shown itself to be the adults in the room.
“The Senate has been a far more reputable institution during their committee investigations as opposed to the House during these hearings,” Bianchi continued. “It could be that they just want have a role in history in saying that unlike the House, they, as an institution rose to the occasion on behalf of the American public. I think we will all have to wait until the sands of time wash over us a little to make the proper historic judgment as to the intent of this Senate. But, it is my gut feel that they want to be on the right side of history.”
What might the Senate inquiry have in store when Cohen takes the stand? It’s probably all about BuzzFeed.
“It would be likely this is in response to the BuzzFeed report,” Bianchi continued, “given that this is the only reason Cohen’s testimony would seem to be relevant any longer. The report indicated that Cohen lied to Congress. I begrudgingly believe that Congress may actually want to get to the bottom of that. Of course, Mueller’s team has said the BuzzFeed report is not accurate. What we all don’t know is to what extent it is inaccurate. Perhaps the senators want to find out the “truth,” as Cohen’s testimony was of significance and the truth of what he knew, what occurred, and what affect it has on our elections and national security is of high significance. This is a counter intelligence matter.”
Bianchi also took the opportunity to note the discord between previous House and Senate investigations viz. the Russia probe.
The republican controlled Senate Intelligence Committee has thus far discharged its duties and prerogatives in a far more honorable and bipartisan way than the House under Congressman [Devin] Nunes. Each institution has a duty for oversight, and seem to take that prerogative seriously now that the House has “flipped.” I think the day of “Banana Republic” investigations came to an end the day the House changed hands.
[image via Yana Paskova and Getty Images]