WASHINGTON – Chairman Elijah Cummings of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform on Wednesday quashed any notion that he would refer Michael Cohen to the Justice Department for perjury.
Republicans on the oversight panel have claimed that the former personal lawyer for President Donald Trump committed perjury when he told the committee at a public hearing in February “I never asked for, nor would I accept” a pardon from Trump.
In a letter to Cummings Wednesday, Cohen’s lawyer wrote that Cohen meant he had never asked for a pardon from Trump when he vacated his joint-defense agreement with the president in June 2018, when Cohen decided to plead guilty to charges brought against him by special counsel Robert S.
Before breaking off from that agreement, Cohen’s lawyers had approached Trump’s legal team about a potential pardon, one of Cohen’s lawyers, Lanny Davis, said after Cohen’s testimony in February.
Cohen stands by the veracity of his statement before the committee in February, Michael Monico, another of Cohen’s attorneys, wrote in the letter Wednesday.
“In retrospect, while the sentence could have been clearer regarding the time frames, the sentence is true,” Monico wrote.
In a statement Wednesday, Cummings appeared to accept Cohen’s clarification, saying that it is the committee’s practice to “give witnesses an opportunity to clarify their testimony.” “I do not see the need for further action – at least at this time,” Cummings said.
Cummings and his staff will go over the transcript of Cohen’s private interview with the House Intelligence Committee when that becomes available, he said.
Jim Jordan and Mark Meadows, two of Trump’s closest allies in the House, have sent a letter to the DOJ asking that it probe whether Cohen committed perjury.
Jordan, the top Republican on the Oversight panel, has claimed that Cohen lied to the committee at least seven times during his public testimony.
Democrats on the committee have said Republicans are using Cohen’s statements on pardon discussions with the president as a smokescreen for Trump, whom Cohen claimed in his testimony committed multiple crimes before and during his presidency.
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