House intelligence panel plans hearings with Trump associates Weisselberg, Sater

Christopher Steele and Michael Cohen

When Michael Cohen testified before the House Oversight Committee on Wednesday, one name kept coming up, a name that most Americans had probably never heard before: 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.

Well, a Democratic aide familiar with committee chairman and Rep. Adam Schiff's (D-Calif.) plans tells us that the answer to this question lies in points three and four of the document Schiff recently released that details questions he hopes to answer with his planned Russian Federation investigation.

U.S. President Donald Trump's former lawyer Michael Cohen was "fully cooperative" during closed-door testimony before a congressional committee investigating Russia's interference in the 2016 U.S. election, the panel's chairman said Thursday.

The tabloid reported that Cohen sent the manuscript to several publishers a year ago, in the weeks before the Federal Bureau of Investigation raided his offices in April 2018, and the president said that "totally discredited" his former attorney's testimony, much of which was backed up by documents and other evidence. Trump has repeatedly denied the allegation, as has the Kremlin. "He is capable of being loyal, but he is fundamentally disloyal to our nation", Cohen said in his opening statement Wednesday, according to a Fox News report.

"This point-Mr. Cohen's culpability for bank fraud-materially affects the Committee's assessment of his credibility", they wrote.

Cohen tore into Trump, saying "he is a racist". "They have a good chance of hearing from us".

Cohen previously pleaded guilty to one count of lying to Congress, in relation to past statements before a Senate committee.

Weisselberg has been associated with the Trump family since the 1970s, and as the Trump Organization's chief bookkeeper, Justice Department veterans say he is best positioned to help investigators shed light on whether Trump or his family members committed financial crimes.

Trump's math did not square with ours, as this portion of the analysis shows: "He disclosed an income of $12.9 million for the two rinks, roughly the same amount as our estimate of his expenses for that period". "And I said, I wonder why he didn't lie about that, too, like everything else".

Whether any of the House committees will request testimony from Mr. Hannity, or be forced to subpoena him, is yet to be seen, but many legal experts agreed that this was now a very real possibility.

Weisselberg has been a Trump ally for decades, dating back to when the president's father, Fred Trump, was calling the shots. 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.

"He knows this organization from the beginning", said one former federal prosecutor.

"Would you go?" Cuomo asked Cohen.

Maria Vullo, former New York Department of Financial Services superintendent, said making false statements to an insurance company can be a basis to void the policy for fraud.

But others said this was not necessarily what happened between Trump and Cohen after the 2016 election.

"It's a way to keep everything secret, even though there's nothing that Michael Cohen knows that would be classified, and there's nothing that we can share with him that would be classified", Nunes said.

Republicans have dismissed Cohen as a convicted liar, noting he's about to go to prison after pleading guilty to charges including lying to Congress.

He seized on Cohen's concession that he had no direct evidence that Trump or his aides colluded with Russian Federation to get him elected, the primary question of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation. "Let's follow discredited Michael Cohen.'" Mr. Trump also tweeted Friday morning.

"I wouldn't use the world "colluding", Cohen testified.

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