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Michael Cohen to offer closed-door congressional testimony Feb. 8

The lawyer for Trump's former attorney said last week that his client was delaying his public testimony due to threats from Trump and others.
Image: Michael Cohen
Cohen is now slated to give closed testimony before two congressional committees this month.Richard Drew / AP file

WASHINGTON — Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump's former personal lawyer, will offer congressional testimony in a closed session next week, the House Intelligence Committee announced Monday.

Cohen agreed to appear before the panel behind closed doors Feb. 8, the day after what had been his previously scheduled date for public testimony before the House Oversight Committee, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., the intelligence committee chairman, said in a statement. That planned public testimony is no longer set to occur because of security concerns.

"Mr. Cohen has relayed to the Committee his legitimate concerns for his own safety as well as that of his family, which have been fueled by improper comments made by the President and his lawyer," said Schiff, adding that "efforts to intimidate witnesses, scare their family members, or prevent them from testifying before Congress are tactics we expect from organized crime, not the White House."

"These attacks on Mr. Cohen’s family must stop. Federal law prohibits efforts to discourage, intimidate, or otherwise pressure a witness not to provide testimony to Congress," added Schiff, who also said lawmakers would "continue to work with Mr. Cohen and law enforcement in order to protect Mr. Cohen and his family."

Cohen's testimony is now slated to take place the same day acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker is scheduled to testify publicly before the House Judiciary Committee.

Cohen attorney Lanny Davis said last week that his client was delaying his public testimony "due to ongoing threats against his family from President Trump" and members of his legal team.

Cohen, 52, had been set to appear voluntarily before the House Oversight Committee, chaired by Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., on Feb. 7. He has been subpoenaed to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee behind closed doors on Feb. 12.

He is scheduled to report to prison on March 6.

Davis last week cited threats from Trump and Trump's attorney, Rudy Giuliani, "as recently as this weekend," as well as Cohen's "continued cooperation with ongoing investigations" as central to the decision to postpone his testimony.

Lawmakers were viewed as likely to ask Cohen about a BuzzFeed News report earlier this month that he had told special counsel Robert Mueller the president personally instructed him to lie to congressional investigators in order to minimize links between Trump and his Moscow building project. The report also alleged that Cohen was directed to give a false impression that the project had ended before it actually did.

NBC News has not independently confirmed the report. Mueller's office issued a rare public statement disputing the story.