Michael Cohen not in trouble for misleading committee, House chairman says

Leroy Wright
March 14, 2019

The ranking Republican on the committee, Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., was also there, and disputed Nadler's account.

U.S. President Donald Trump's former personal lawyer and one-time "fixer" Michael Cohen's testimony to Congress regarding any potential pardon for his crimes could have been clearer, but he never personally asked the president for such a reprieve, Cohen's lawyer said. "But it is jaw-dropping that the acting Attorney General blatantly lied to Congress and he was concerned enough about going to prison that he came back a week later to do clean up".

In his public hearing, Whitaker denied that Trump had lashed out at him, and he would not say anything about his conversations with Trump about Cohen or the Southern District of NY.

Collins also dismissed a Nadler statement that Whitaker was involved in conversations about firing one or more USA attorneys as "normal personnel issues".

Nadler also said that Whitaker, who was in charge of the Justice Department from November until February, told the committee leaders Wednesday he was involved in conversations about Southern District of New York US Attorney Geoffrey Berman's recusal in the Cohen case and whether SDNY went too far in pursuing the campaign finance case in which it identified Trump as "Individual 1" in court filings.

But Nadler himself told Whitaker Wednesday that he no longer feared Whitaker had tampered with Mueller's work or fed information to the president, according to one of the Republican counsels who attended the unrecorded meeting.

On Wednesday, Republicans on the committee challenged Mr. Cummings to live up to that.

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Collins said he heard Whitaker's comments very differently and maintained that Whitaker said he 'had not talked with the president about Mr. Cohen at all'.

News reports said Trump did lash out at Whitaker, but Whitaker said in the hearing that he did not.

Nadler, on Wednesday, did not elaborate on what exactly Whitaker said behind closed doors about the phone call.

Speaking with reporters, Nadler said there were three main takeaways from the meeting.

Whitaker met with Nadler and Collins privately in order to clarify his public testimony last month. He said the committee would 'analyze the revelations and see where they lead'.

Cohen pleaded guilty a year ago to circumventing campaign finance laws when he paid pornographic actress Stormy Daniels $130,000 in hush money before the 2016 election so that the story wouldn't derail Trump's campaign.

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