President Trump on Thursday ripped his former personal lawyer Michael Cohen for retaining ex-Clinton attorney Lanny Davis, after Cohen’s scheduled congressional testimony was abruptly postponed.
“So interesting that bad lawyer Michael Cohen, who sadly will not be testifying before Congress, is using the lawyer of Crooked Hillary Clinton to represent him –Gee, how did that happen? Remember July 4th weekend when Crooked went before FBI & wasn’t sworn in, no tape, nothing?” Trump tweeted Thursday.
The president’s tweet comes after Cohen and Davis announced they would delay his highly anticipated testimony slated for Feb. 7, citing “ongoing threats” from Trump.
“This is a time where Mr. Cohen had to put his family and their safety first,” Davis said on Wednesday, adding that Cohen “looks forward to testifying at the appropriate time.”
Davis claimed both the president and his lawyer, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, had threatened Cohen, who recently was sentenced to three years in prison.
“Due to ongoing threats against his family from President Trump and Mr. Giuliani, as recently as this weekend, as well as Mr. Cohen’s continued cooperation with ongoing investigations, by advice of counsel, Mr. Cohen’s appearance will be postponed to a later date,” Davis said.
On Thursday, Davis told ABC News that Giuliani was "witness tampering."
"Calling out a man's father-in-law and wife in order to intimidate the witness is not fair game," he told ABC News' George Stephanopoulos.
Cohen had been scheduled to appear before the House Oversight Committee, whose chairman, Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., has a long-standing relationship with Davis.
In a joint statement Wednesday, Cummings and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said they “understand the completely legitimate concerns for the safety and security of Mr. Cohen and his family members,” adding that they still expect Cohen to appear before their committees at a later date.
“Not appearing before Congress was never an option,” they said.
Meanwhile, the president's tweet Thursday took a swipe at former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, again complaining about her FBI interview as part of the bureau’s probe into her handling of classified information and use of a private email server while secretary of state.
Davis has long been a Clinton confidant, having served as a special counsel and spokesman to former President Bill Clinton. While Davis has, for years, been a Clinton loyalist, he did not formally represent Clinton in the email investigation.
Davis’ Clinton connection, however, has fueled GOP criticism of a possible conflict of interest.
House Oversight Committee Ranking Member Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, and committee member Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., raised the issue in a letter this week.
"Davis made clear that Cohen's upcoming appearance before the Committee is entirely a result of Davis's orchestration," Jordan and Meadows wrote, questioning whether it's part of a broader "media stunt" to harm the president. "According to Davis, the hearing was Davis's idea and his alone. Cohen apparently did not want to testify -- but Davis has persuaded Cohen to appear despite his concerns and fears."
“Davis’s role as consigliere for the Clintons and those close to them raises the specter his client loyalties may be divided,” they wrote.
But in a statement to Fox News, Davis fired back and defended his representation of Cohen.
“I offered to brief the minority staff to show a spirit of bipartisanship, encouraged by the Chairman’s office. I offered on Mr. Cohen’s behalf for Mr. Cohen to speak with Ranking Member Rep. Jim Jordan out of courtesy and the same spirit of bipartisanship, and we have not heard back,” Davis said. “Furthermore, I am proud of my past association with President and Mrs. Clinton. There is no conflict of interest in my representation of Mr. Cohen. Beyond that, I will not dignify the unwarranted attack by Mr. Jordan as to my motives.”
Cohen hired Davis in July to represent him in the federal criminal investigation into his personal business dealings and involvement arranging hush-money payments to former Playboy model Karen McDougal and adult film star Stormy Daniels in the weeks leading up to the 2016 election in exchange for their silence about alleged sexual encounters with Trump.
In August, Cohen pleaded guilty to charges of campaign finance and other violations, brought as part of a grand jury probe in the Southern District of New York. Prosecutors and Cohen himself said he orchestrated payments of more than $130,000 to McDougal and Daniels at Trump’s direction.
In November, Cohen also pleaded guilty to lying to Congress about a Trump real estate project in Moscow, as part of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling and potential collusion with Trump campaign associates during the 2016 election.
Fox News' Alex Pappas and Mike Emanuel contributed to this report.