House GOP Calls for Criminal Referral of Michael Cohen to Justice Department

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    by Sidney Hunt
    Published: May 9, 2024 (2 weeks ago)

    In a bold move today, Republican members of the House of Representatives have sent a formal criminal referral to the Justice Department concerning Michael Cohen, the former personal attorney to President Donald Trump. The referral, based on alleged perjury during Cohen’s congressional testimony, has escalated partisan tensions within Capitol Hill.

    The decision to refer Cohen for criminal investigation stems from his testimony before the House Oversight Committee last month, during which he implicated President Trump in a series of potentially illegal activities. House Republicans assert that Cohen lied under oath, pointing to specific instances where they claim his statements were inconsistent with known facts and evidence.

    Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), a prominent member of the House Oversight Committee, stated, “Michael Cohen’s testimony was riddled with falsehoods and inaccuracies. It is our duty to ensure that witnesses who appear before Congress speak truthfully and honestly. Mr. Cohen’s apparent lies cannot go unchallenged.”

    Among the key points of contention cited by Republicans are Cohen’s statements related to the Trump Organization’s pursuit of a Trump Tower project in Moscow during the 2016 presidential campaign. Cohen had previously pleaded guilty to lying to Congress about the timing and extent of these negotiations, but during his testimony, he alleged that he was instructed by President Trump to provide misleading information.

    The decision to refer Cohen’s testimony for criminal investigation has drawn sharp criticism from Democratic lawmakers, who argue that it is a partisan attempt to discredit Cohen’s damaging revelations about President Trump. Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), Chairman of the House Oversight Committee, condemned the referral as a “desperate ploy to protect the President.”

    The Justice Department has not yet commented on the referral, and it remains unclear whether they will pursue an investigation into Cohen’s testimony. Legal experts suggest that criminal referrals from Congress often face significant hurdles in moving forward due to the high burden of proof required to establish perjury.

    Michael Cohen’s legal team has vehemently denied any wrongdoing on his part and dismissed the referral as a political maneuver. Lanny Davis, Cohen’s attorney, issued a statement saying, “Mr. Cohen testified truthfully before Congress. This referral is nothing more than an attempt to silence a witness who has exposed the President’s misconduct.”

    The escalating confrontation between House Republicans and Democrats over Michael Cohen’s testimony underscores the deep partisan divide that continues to define Washington politics. As the Justice Department weighs the merits of this criminal referral, the implications for both Cohen and President Trump remain uncertain, yet the political fallout is already reverberating across Capitol Hill.