Solomon: “Legal Jeopardy” Serious for Michael Cohen

30-PAGE COMMUNIQUE MAKES CRIMINAL REFERRAL TO JUSTICE DEPARTMENT

by Sharon Rondeau

(Feb. 28, 2019) — On Thursday night’s “Hannity,” investigative journalist John Solomon amplified on his earlier column in “The Hill” stating that “more than a half-dozen” witnesses refuted former Trump attorney Michael Cohen’s Wednesday claim that he did not desire a position in the Trump White House.

In his article, Solomon cited Trump campaign and transition operative David Bossie and Pastor Darrell Scott as having said they were personally approached by Cohen for a position in the Trump administration following Trump’s November 2016 win of the Electoral College.

Two of the witnesses were Trump’s sons, Eric and Donald Jr., Solomon wrote.  He additionally reported that Reagan Justice Department official and attorney Victoria Toensing opined, “I think the legal jeopardy is clear, the only question is whether the Justice Department thinks it is worth the time.”

On his “Hannity” appearance, Solomon said he now has spoken with a dozen witnesses relating the same story, which contradicts Cohen’s sworn testimony to the House Oversight & Reform Committee on Wednesday.

Hannity played a clip from a CNN interview days after the 2016 election in which anchor Chris Cuomo interviewed Cohen and asked where his future might lie. In response, Cohen said he “hoped” that it would be in “Washington, DC.”

On Wednesday, Cohen testified that he “did not want to go to the White House” and that he was “extremely proud” that Trump appointed him his personal attorney going forward. Cohen additionally testified that at some point while working for more than ten years for the Trump Organization, he concluded that Donald Trump is “a liar,” “a con man,” and “a racist.”

Solomon and others reported Thursday that two Republican members of the House Oversight Committee, Jim Jordan and Mark Meadows, have referred Cohen to the U.S. Justice Department for criminal investigation as a result of his reported failure to disclose “foreign contracts” in his required pre-testimony documentation. On Wednesday, Cohen said he was under contract with Novartis for key information about Trump and with a bank in Kazakhstan which Jordan said is “81%” owned by that nation’s government.

“All foreign contracts” were required to be revealed, Meadows told Cohen during Wednesday’s hearing, which lasted more than seven hours, including breaks.

On Wednesday Meadows said he believes Cohen violated the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) for working as a lobbyist without registering.  Cohen said during testimony that he did not work as a lobbyist.

Cohen also contradicted himself Wednesday when he said that Trump “never expected to win” either the primary or general election yet “would do what is necessary to win the presidency, including colluding with a foreign power.”

In his opening statement, however, Cohen said he possessed no direct evidence that Trump “colluded” with Russia, a key focus of the nearly-two-year-old investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, assumed from the FBI after Director James Comey was fired on May 9, 2017.

As a result of Comey’s firing, Trump has also been under investigation for “obstruction of justice” given that the FBI might have had Trump under investigation in early 2017, something Comey had denied at the time.

Last year, Cohen pleaded “guilty” to filing false tax returns, lying to Congress, and falsifying a bank-loan application. He also said he made “illegal” payments to adult-film actress Stormy Daniels on Trump’s behalf.  He was sentenced to three years in federal prison as a result of the plea, which will begin on May 6, according to reports.

On Thursday, former Hillary Clinton strategic adviser and pollster Mark Penn wrote, citing a decision made by the FEC on payments made by former Vice-Presidential candidate John Edwards to a mistress and mother of their child, that any payments Trump made to Cohen intended for Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, were not illegal.

According to a 30-page filing sent to Attorney General William Barr on Wednesday by Meadows and Jordan, some of Cohen’s statements on Wednesday contradicted the language in the plea agreement which he accepted last year.  According to a statement quoted from the U.S. Attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York, which prosecuted Cohen and produced the sentencing memo, investigators found that Cohen “privately told friends and colleagues…that he expected to be given a prominent role and title in the new administration.  When that did not materialize, Cohen found a way to monetize his relationship with and access to the President.”

The letter consists of five pages written by Jordan and Meadows and 25 pages of attachments, including the “Truth in Testimony Disclosure Form.”

When Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings opened Wednesday’s hearing at which Cohen was the sole witness, he warned Cohen of the perils of lying to Congress, stating that it “would not be tolerated.”  Cummings has accused Trump of “breaking the law” while in office based on Cohen’s testimony.

 

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