Michael Cohen agrees to testify publicly before Rep. Elijah Cummings' oversight committee

Ex-Trump lawyer Michael Cohen will testify publicly before Congress ahead of entering prison

Michael Cohen President Trump's former lawyer leaves federal court after his sentencing in Manhattan last month

Before he begins his three year sentence in federal prison for his role in buying the silence of women who alleged affairs with the future president during the 2016 presidential election, Michael Cohen will testify publicly before Congress.

Cohen, 52, also pleaded guilty to eight separate counts, including campaign finance violations, that he said were carried out at the direction of Trump.

Following his sentencing hearing last month, Cohen's attorney Lanny Davis said he was prepared to "state publicly all he knows about Mr. Trump", including providing answers to "any appropriate Congressional committee interested in the search for truth and the difference between facts and lies".

"I thank Michael Cohen for agreeing to testify before the Oversight Committee voluntarily", Cummings said in a statement.

Cohen added: "I look forward to having the privilege of being afforded a platform with which to give a full and credible account of the events which have transpired".

Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump's former personal attorney, and fixer, arrives at federal court for his sentencing hearing, December 12, 2018, in New York City. Cohen also pleaded guilty in August 2018 to several counts of fraud and campaign finance violations.

Since then, Cohen has spent more than 70 hours with federal prosecutors in Manhattan as well as with Mueller, who is investigating Russian efforts to influence the 2016 election and Trump's campaign.

MSNBC legal analyst Maya Wiley argued Thursday after the hearing date was announced that the testimony "is potentially even more important than the Mueller report". Based on the description in the court documents, Individual 1 appears to be President Trump.

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Trump has denied having the extramarital affairs.

Cohen is also involved in the investigation by federal prosecutors in NY into campaign finance violations related to payments to buy the silence of a porn actress and a former Playboy Playmate who say they had sex with Trump.

"We don't want to do anything to interfere with the Mueller investigation - absolutely nothing", Cummings said.

The chairman of the oversight panel, Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland, said the committee is consulting with Mueller's office about the testimony.

The Oversight Committee apparently isn't the Capitol Hill body with which Cohen is eager to speak.

In a December interview, Cummings, D-Md., said on CNN's "State of the Union" that he wanted Cohen to appear before Congress as soon as this month and signaled that he viewed it as a matter of extreme outcome.

He added, "As a lawyer, Mr. Cohen should have known better". Richard Burr, R-N.C., said in a statement.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, a California Democrat who had been seeking to bring Cohen before his committee, issued a statement on Thursday saying he hopes to schedule his own session with Cohen behind closed doors.

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