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Before prison, Michael Cohen could be called to testify before Congress

Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump's former lawyer, leaves federal court after his sentencing in New York, Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2018. Cohen was sentenced Wednesday to three years in prison for an array of crimes that included arranging the payment of hush money to two women that he says was done at the direction of Trump. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

WASHINGTON — President Trump’s former fixer Michael Cohen, along with others convicted in connection with the special counsel’s Russia investigation, could be called to testify before Congress.

U.S. Sen. Mark Warner, D-VA, said it’s time to sort out the lies and get to the bottom of what people know. Cohen, Trump’s former attorney, was sentenced to three years in prison this week for a wide range of charges, including lying to Congress and violating campaign finance laws.

“With the number of people who have been contacted by the Russians in the Trump organization that have acknowledged they’ve lied, well they’ve got to come back now and tell the truth,” said Warner, who is the vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Cohen has indicated he would be willing to return to Congress, if asked.

He said in an interview with ABC News that Trump directed him to make hush-money payments to two women who said they had affairs with Trump because he was “very concerned” about is impact on the election.

“I think the walls are closing in on this White House,” Warner said, pointing to the series of guilty pleas from former Trump appointees and associates as a result of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe.

Warner also pointed to the recent Washington Post report that Russians interacted with at least 14 Trump associates during the 2016 presidential campaign and the transition.

The Senate Intelligence Committee has been investigating Russian meddling into the presidential election, as the Mueller probe has moved forward with indictments and guilty pleas.

“Clearly some of the statements made by some of the Trump (associates) early on in the investigation have all proven to be lies,” Warner said. “It’s one of the reasons why our Senate investigation committee, which is still bipartisan, wants to have some of these principle figures back for our committee.”

Senate Intelligence Chairman Richard Burr told CNN this week, “I think it’s safe to say if they were indicted, they were on our list.” That could mean testimony from former national security adviser Michael Flynn and former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, among others.

The House Intelligence Committee, which will come under the control of Democrats in the coming year, is also interested in advancing the Russia investigation.

Rep. Adam Schiff, D-CA, who’s expected to become the panel’s next chairman, told CNN that the committee has reached out to Cohen’s attorney about possible testimony before Cohen goes to prison.

As for the Senate panel’s plans, Warner said he hopes its investigation will wrap up soon. But he didn’t set a deadline.

“I want this to be over as soon as possible — as soon as we get all of the facts,” Warner said, adding that lawmakers owe it to the American people to determine whether there was collusion with Russia and how it can be stopped in the future.

President Trump has repeatedly denied allegations of collusion. He again called Mueller’s investigation a “witch hunt” this week.

The president also said in a tweet that he “did nothing wrong with respect to campaign finance laws,” related to the payoffs made through Cohen to porn star Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal.

Both women said they had affairs with Trump and were paid a total of nearly $300,000 to keep quiet.


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