President Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, is to give a behind-the-scenes account of what he is expected to claim is Mr Trump’s lying, racism and cheating when he testifies publicly before a House committee tomorrow.
Cohen is expected to provide what he will claim is evidence, in the form of documents, of Mr Trump’s conduct, according to a person with knowledge of the matter, who requested anonymity.
Mr Trump’s former personal “fixer” arrived on Capitol Hill on Tuesday to begin three days of congressional appearances, starting with a closed-door interview with the Senate intelligence committee.
The public will not have a chance to hear from him until Wednesday, when he testifies before the House Oversight and Reform Committee.
He will go behind closed doors again when he talks to the House intelligence committee on Thursday.
White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said in a statement on Tuesday it was “laughable that anyone would take a convicted liar like Cohen at his word, and pathetic to see him given yet another opportunity to spread his lies”.
The politicians are alternately suspicious of Cohen — who is set to serve prison time for lying to the House and Senate intelligence committees in 2017 — and eager to hear what he has to say after he turned on his longtime boss.
Senators on the intelligence panel are attending Tuesday’s meeting, a departure from the committee’s usual practice, where witness interviews are conducted by staff only.
I’m sure there will be some questions we know the answers to, so we’ll test him to see whether in fact he’ll be truthful this time
The Senate intelligence committee chairman, Richard Burr, told The Associated Press that senators will have staff ask questions but will be in the room to observe. He said no topics will be off limits and Cohen, a close confidant of Trump for many years, “should expect to get any question from anywhere about anything”.
“I’m sure there will be some questions we know the answers to, so we’ll test him to see whether in fact he’ll be truthful this time,” Mr Burr said.
Cohen’s testimony is among the most anticipated since the House and Senate started investigating the Trump campaign’s Russia ties two years ago.
In addition to lying to Congress, Cohen pleaded guilty last year to campaign finance violations for his involvement in payments to two women who allege they had affairs with Mr Trump.
Cohen, who is set to begin a three-year prison sentence in May, was officially disbarred on Tuesday.
By pleading guilty, a New York court ruled, Cohen automatically lost his eligibility to practise law.
Cohen’s week of interviews comes as House Democrats open multiple investigations into Mt Trump’s ties to Russia and conflict-of-interest issues within the administration.