House Oversight Committee Republicans on Thursday referred ex-Trump attorney Michael Cohen to the Justice Department for alleged perjury, claiming he lied during sworn testimony before the panel a day earlier about a number of issues including his ambitions to work in the Trump administration and contracts with foreign entities.
Committee Ranking Member Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, and Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., penned a letter Thursday to newly sworn-in Attorney General William Barr, citing evidence that Cohen “committed perjury” during his hearing before the committee on Wednesday.
“We write to refer significant evidence that Michael D. Cohen committed perjury and knowingly made false statements during his testimony before an Oversight and Reform Committee hearing,” they wrote. “While testifying under oath, Mr. Cohen made what appear to be numerous willfully and intentionally false statements of material fact contradicted by the record established by the Justice Department in United States v. Cohen.”
They added: “Mr. Cohen’s testimony before the Committee at times was in direct contradiction to assertions contained in pleadings authored by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York (SDNY.) There are other instances in which Mr. Cohen’s statements to the Committee were immediately contradicted by witnesses with firsthand knowledge of the subject matter.”
Cohen previously pleaded guilty to one count of lying to Congress, in relation to past statements before a Senate committee.
Cohen's attorney, Lanny Davis, countered in a statement Thursday that his client testified "truthfully" before the committee.
"He took full responsibility for his guilty pleas. He also backed up much of his testimony with documents," Davis said. "It may not be surprising that two pro-Trump Committee members known have a baseless criminal referral. In my opinion, it is a sad misuse of the criminal justice system with the aura of pure partisanship.”
In their letter, Jordan and Meadows detailed several allegedly false statements made by Cohen on Wednesday.
They cited his claim that he “never defrauded any bank,” contrasting that with Cohen’s plea agreement that referred to his crimes as “bank fraud.”
In addition to the false statement to Congress count, Cohen has pleaded guilty to five counts of tax evasion, one count of making false statements to a banking institution, one count of causing an unlawful corporate contribution, and one count of excessive campaign contributions.
“This point—Mr. Cohen’s culpability for bank fraud—materially affects the Committee’s assessment of his credibility,” the lawmakers wrote.
Jordan and Meadows went on to claim that Cohen made false statements regarding his desire to work in the White House, or in some role in the Trump administration.
“Mr. Cohen repeatedly testified that he did not seek employment in the White House following President Trump’s election,” they wrote. “This is demonstrably, materially, and intentionally false.”
During the hearing, Jordan scorched Cohen, claiming that he turned on President Trump because he didn’t land a job at the White House. Cohen, though, denied this and said he, instead, wanted to be “the personal attorney to the president.”
“I got exactly what I wanted,” Cohen said.
Following the exchange, the president’s sons, Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump, weighed in on Twitter, claiming Cohen was “lobbying EVERYONE to be ‘Chief of Staff,’” and that it was “the biggest joke of the entire transition.”
The letter also cited a tweet by former New York City Police detective Bo Dietl, who said Cohen told him “several times” that he was “very angry and upset” that he did not get a job in the White House.
The GOP lawmakers also cited Cohen’s failure to list foreign contracts on a “Truth and Testimony” form he was required to fill out before the hearing.
Further, the Republicans flagged testimony regarding the hush money payments to Stormy Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford. They claimed that while Cohen testified he was “a good lawyer who understood the need to present his client with sound legal advice,” he also said he made a payment to Daniels “without bothering to consider whether that was improper, much less whether it was the right thing to do.”
Jordan and Meadows also said that Cohen made a false statement regarding his involvement with the creation of the Twitter account, @WomenForCohen. Cohen, on Wednesday, claimed he did not create the account, and someone from the firm RedFinch made it.
“We were having fun during a stressful time,” Cohen said Wednesday.
The Republicans countered that Cohen reportedly had asked someone to create the account to “elevate his profile.”
The letter said that Cohen's testimony "was a spectacular and brazen attempt to knowing and willfully testify falsely and fictitiously to numerous material facts." They claimed the testimony included "intentionally false statements designed to make himself look better on a national stage," adding: "Mr. Cohen's prior conviction for lying to Congress merits a heightened suspicion that he has yet again testified falsely before Congress."
Fox News' Mike Emanuel contributed to this report.