Rep. Jim Jordan, the top Republican on the House Oversight Committee, wants disgraced lawyer Michael Cohen to face the possibility of more criminal charges for allegedly lying to Congress and he’s seeking the help of new committee chairwoman Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y.
To kick off the first full Oversight Committee hearing of the year, Jordan Thursday re-upped his request for a criminal referral for President Trump’s former attorney. In a letter obtained by Fox News, Jordan cites new evidence he says shows Cohen’s dishonesty during his dramatic testimony under oath to the Oversight Committee last year.
“In light of a recent federal court filing confirming that Cohen lied to the Committee, we urge you to join our referral of Cohen to the Justice Department for perjury and knowingly making false statements,” Jordan, R-Ohio, and fellow committee member Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., wrote in a letter to Maloney.
The GOP lawmakers say during Cohen’s Feb. 27 sworn testimony, he made “several willfully and intentionally false statements of material fact.” They cite two “indisputable” false statements: First that Cohen denied he sought employment in the White House following Trump’s election and Cohen’s denial that he sought a pardon from Trump.
The new evidence stems from a Dec. 19 court memo from federal prosecutors explaining why they reject Cohen’s request for a reduction in his three-year prison sentence.
The Justice Department found that Cohen kept on lying, even after being sentenced. He told federal investigators he never sought a job in the Trump White House – just like he told the Oversight Committee under oath that “I did not want to go to the White House.”
“These statements were demonstrably false,” federal prosecutors wrote, citing Cohen’s text messages to friends and an interview on CNN where he admitted in 2016 he hoped to get a job in Washington and would “100 percent” take it.
A referral is a request for the Justice Department to launch a criminal investigation. Jordan is seeking Maloney's help for the request to move forward since Democrats hold the power of the majority, after he and Meadows made a similar unsuccessful appeal last year.
A representative for Maloney’s office said the chairwoman had not yet gotten the letter.
Thursday’s letter is the latest salvo by Jordan and Meadows to pursue Cohen – an admitted liar – for additional possible crimes.
Shortly after Cohen’s testimony last February, the pair asked the Justice Department to investigate Cohen for perjury over Cohen’s claim that he never sought a pardon from Trump.
Then-Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings, D-Md., declined to sign off on a criminal referral before his death last year.
Cummings rejected the claim that Cohen willfully lied to the committee about never seeking a pardon from Trump. Cummings said Cohen’s attorney sent a letter to the committee after the hearing “clarifying” his testimony on a pardon.
“As a result, I will not join your request to refer Mr. Cohen to the Department of Justice, and I now consider this matter closed,” Cummings wrote to Jordan on May 22, 2019.
Cohen attorney Lanny Davis also said last year that Cohen gave truthful testimony, and blasted the Republicans' attempt as baseless and partisan.
But Jordan’s team says Cummings didn’t address the other alleged Cohen lie about not wanting a White House job and that case is bolstered with the new information from federal prosecutors on Dec. 19.
“This new information released by federal prosecutors in New York bears directly on the truthfulness of Cohen’s February 29, 2019, testimony to the Committee,” Jordan and Meadows wrote. “Therefore, in light of this new evidence showing that Cohen lied to the Committee, we urge you to protect the integrity of the Committee’s proceedings by joining our referral to the Justice Department for Cohen’s false statements.”
Cohen is serving a three-year prison term after pleading guilty last year to nine separate counts: Five charges for tax evasion for failing to report more than $4 million of income between 2012 and 2016; one count for making a false statement to a financial institution; two counts for making unlawful campaign contributions related to the hush payments to Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal who claimed to have affairs with Trump and one count of lying to Congress in sworn testimony in 2017 over plans to build a Trump Tower in Moscow.
Cohen has been serving his sentence since May 9 in upstate New York. Last month, Cohen unsuccessfully sought to get his three-year sentence reduced to just a year and a day, citing his ongoing cooperation with Trump probes.