House Democrats shot down a measure from one of their GOP counterparts to refer the congressional testimony of former Trump personal lawyer Michael Cohen to the Justice Department for a perjury investigation.
By a 226-183 vote along party lines, the House voted to table the privileged resolution that freshman GOP Rep. Mark Green of Tennessee filed yesterday, forcing a floor vote within the next 48 hours.
Republicans have accused Cohen of committing perjury during his testimony in February before the Oversight panel in which he accused the president, his adult children, and other people in Trump’s inner orbit each of of multiple.
Cohen is set to begin a three-year prison term next week after pleading guilty in 2018 to multiple charges of financial fraud and lying to Congress about the timeline of negotiations in 2015 and 2016 for a Trump Tower in Moscow.
Since that guilty plea, Cohen has offered information on his former boss’ business and campaign practices to special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York and some congressional committees.
Democrats largely view Republicans’ campaign against Cohen’s credibility as a publicity stunt to distract from and undermine his allegations that the president was involved in illegal activity.
Republicans have claimed that Cohen committed perjury when he told the House Committee on Oversight and Reform at a hearing in February, “I never asked for, nor would I accept” a pardon from Trump.
In a March letter to Oversight Chairman Elijah E. Cummings, Cohen’s lawyer wrote that Cohen meant he had never asked for a pardon from Trump when he vacated his joint-defense agreement with the president in June 2018. That’s when he decided to plead guilty to charges brought against him by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III.
Before breaking off from that agreement, Cohen’s lawyers had approached Trump’s legal team about a potential pardon, one of Cohen’s lawyers, Lanny Davis, said after Cohen’s testimony in February.
In a statement in March, Cummings appeared to accept Cohen’s clarification, saying that it is the committee’s practice to “give witnesses an opportunity to clarify their testimony.”
“I do not see the need for further action — at least at this time,” Cummings said at the time.