A day after Michael Cohen testified before the House Oversight Committee in a public hearing, he’s being accused of lying under oath. Committee Ranking Member Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) referred Cohen to the U.S. Justice Department for a possible perjury charge, in a letter they sent to the DOJ on Thursday.
According to Fox News, the letter says that Cohen’s testimony “was a spectacular and brazen attempt to knowing and willfully testify falsely and fictitiously to numerous material facts,” that were “designed to make himself look better on a national stage.”
The representatives claim, “While testifying under oath, Mr. Cohen made what appear to be numerous willfully and intentionally false statements of material fact contradicted by the record established by the Justice Department in United States v. Cohen.” They went on to say:
Mr. Cohen’s testimony before the Committee at times was in direct contradiction to assertions contained in pleadings authored by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York (SDNY.) There are other instances in which Mr. Cohen’s statements to the Committee were immediately contradicted by witnesses with firsthand knowledge of the subject matter.
The letter specified certain statements, although they don’t all seem to be air-tight when it comes to a perjury charge.
“Cohen denied committing various fraudulent acts that he has pleaded guilty to in federal court,” the letter said, point to Cohen saying that he “never defrauded any bank.” While it’s true that Cohen used these words, he also admitted that he lied in bank documents. The statement about not defrauding banks, was in the context of Cohen stating that he always made his payments and didn’t use fraud to cause any financial harm. Intent matters when it comes to perjury.
There were other statements, though. According The Daily Beast, the letter referred to when Cohen said he never wanted to work in the White House. This came when Jordan accused him of being upset that he wasn’t offered an administration job. Eric Trump, meanwhile, went on Twitter right after this and said that it was known among those in the campaign that Cohen wanted to be White House Chief of Staff.
The letter also said that Cohen lied about not having reportable contacts with the governments of foreign countries.
Cohen’s attorney Lanny Davis denied that Cohen was anything other than truthful. In a statement to Law&Crime, Davis said:
Mr. Cohen testified truthfully before the House Oversight Committee. He took full responsibility for his guilty pleas. He also backed up much of his testimony with documents. It may not be surprising that two pro-Trump Committee members known have a baseless criminal referral. In my opinion, it is a sad misuse of the criminal justice system with the aura of pure partisanship.
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