WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump's former personal attorney Michael Cohen is reconsidering his plan to publicly testify to the US Congress has been intimidated by the president, an adviser to Cohen said on Thursday.
FILE PHOTO: Michael Cohen, U.S. President Donald Trump's former lawyer arrives for his sentence at the United States Court House in Manhattan, New York, US, December 12, 2018. REUTERS / Jeenah Moon / File Photo
Lanny Davis, an attorney who has been advising Cohen on his media strategy, said in an interview with MSNBC that some remarks made by the Republican president about Cohen have been witnessing tampering and deserving to be criminally investigated.
"There is a genuine fear and it has caused Michael Cohen to consider whether he should go forward or not, and he has not made a final decision," Davis said.
Last week Cohen agreed to appear before a congressional panel on Feb. 7, as U.S. House of Representatives Democrats kicked off numerous investigations of Trump, his business interests and his administration.
Cohen was sentenced to three years in prison for his role in making illegal hush-money payments to two women to help Trump in 2016 in violation of campaign law and for lying to Congress on a proposed Trump Tower project in Russia.
In a Fox News interview on Saturday, Trump suggested he had damaging information on Cohen's father-in-law. "That's the one that people want to look at," Trump said in the interview.
Davis said: "There is no question that his threatening and calling his father-in-law, who – quote – has all the money, is not only improper and unseemly for a bully using the bully pulpit of the presidency, but the very definition of intimidation and witness tampering. "
He said Trump's remarks" could be obstruction of justice. "
Trump called Cohen and" rat "in a tweet last month for cooperating with prosecutors. Cohen had been Trump's self-described longtime "fixer" and once said he would take a bullet for the New York real estate developer.
At a hearing at the federal court in New York in August, Cohen testified that Trump had directed him to commit a crime by arranging payments before the 2016 election to two women who said they had engaged in extramarital affairs with Trump.
Cohen said on Thursday he had paid a firm to handle online polling data "at the direction and for the sole benefit of" Trump.
Reporting by Tim Ahmann; editing by James Dalgleish and Cynthia Osterman