Michael Cohen, former Trump lawyer, agrees to give open testimony in Congress

President Donald Trump's former personal attorney exits the United States Courthouse after sentencing at the in New York

President Donald Trump's former personal attorney exits the United States Courthouse after sentencing at the in New York

In court, Cohen said that violation was the result of payments he made at the behest of his former client to a woman who was prepared to go public during the 2016 campaign about an affair with Trump years earlier.

Cohen also admitted to lying to Congress concerning a Trump Moscow project in which he had contact with Russian officials through June 2016.

The House Oversight and Reform Committee announced Thursday that Cohen will appear before that panel February 7, a little more than a month after the Democrats took the House majority.

"I thank Michael Cohen for agreeing to testify before the Oversight Committee voluntarily", said Oversight Chairman Elijah Cummings, a Democrat from Maryland, in a statement.

"I look forward to having the privilege of being afforded a platform with which to give a full and credible account of the events which have transpired", Cohen said.

The public hearing is scheduled for February 7, 2019. Cohen earlier pleaded guilty in special counsel Robert Mueller's ongoing probe of alleged collusion between Trump's 2016 presidential campaign and Russian Federation to making false statements to Congress about an abandoned Trump Tower project in Moscow.

Cohen had been a key figure in Trump's inner orbit for years - and played the role of attack dog in the press during the 2016 campaign - but has severed his relationship with his former boss and is cooperating in several investigations involving Trump. Trey Gowdy, declined to call Cohen, saying it was the job of special counsel Robert Mueller - not Congress - to investigate potential crime.

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When asked by a reporter about Cohen's upcoming testimony during his visit to the southern border on Thursday, Trump said he isn't concerned. Based on the description in the court documents, Individual 1 appears to be President Trump. Cohen, a consigliere to Trump when he was a real estate developer and presidential candidate as well as informally as president, was privy to the machinations of Trump's inner circle and key moments under scrutiny by both special counsel Robert Mueller and federal prosecutors in NY.

Cohen is also involved in the investigation by federal prosecutors in NY into campaign finance violations related to payments to buy the silence of a porn actress and a former Playboy Playmate who say they had sex with Trump.

The president has denied the affairs but has deployed shifting explanations about when he learned about the payments to the women. Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, who was made chairman of the committee after Democrats regained control of the House of Representatives, made the announcement Thursday.

"We don't want to do anything to interfere with the Mueller investigation - absolutely nothing", Cummings said.

Speaking to journalists, Mr Trump shrugged the news off, after having last month condemned Cohen as a "rat" helping the Federal Bureau of Investigation in a "witch hunt".

But because he pleaded guilty he was never cross-examined on details of his dealings with Mr Trump.

The oversight hearing may not be Cohen's only appearance. Richard Burr, R-N.C., said in a statement.

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