President Trump’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen said Wednesday that he and his legal team spoke with top Democratic Reps. Elijah Cummings and Adam Schiff before his testimony in front of the House Oversight and Reform Committee.
In a testy exchange between Cohen and Rep. Jody Hice, R-Ga., the president’s former lawyer said that his legal team has spoken to members of the Democratic Party ahead of Wednesday’s hearing on Capitol Hill.
"We've spoken to the party," Cohen said, adding that he has also spoken with Schiff, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, "and his people" but added that he only consulted with his lawyers to prepare for the hearing. Cummings is chairman of the House oversight committee that held Wednesday's hearing.
While it is standard practice for witnesses testifying before Congress – and their lawyers – to talk beforehand with the heads of committees holding the hearings, Republicans already had complained about Cohen's interactions with the panel, including that he didn't turn over testimony and evidence until hours before the hearing's start.
Republicans also sought to undermine his credibility by noting his criminal record of lying and fraud.
"Here's the point, the chairman just gave you a 30-minute opening statement and you have a history of lying over and over and over again and frankly don't take my word for it, take what the court said," Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, the ranking Republican on the committee, said. “Cohen did crimes marked by a pattern of deception and that permeated his professional life."
Cohen asserted that he was not persuaded by Democrats to testify, saying he was on Capitol Hill “voluntarily” and “It was my decision.”
Cohen testified that the job of everyone who works at the Trump Organization was to protect Trump.
"Every day most of us knew we were coming in and we were going to lie for him on something and that became the norm and that's exactly what's happening right now in this country and what's happening here in the government,” he said.