Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan and North Carolina Republican Rep. Mark Meadows—two of the feistiest participants during Donald Trump’s former fixer’s Michael Cohen’s testimony on Wednesday—have referred Cohen to the Justice Department claiming he “committed perjury and knowingly made false statements” during his GOP tongue-lashing disguised as a public hearing.
The trouble seems to stem from Cohen’s testimony that he didn’t want to work in the White House, that he never committed bank fraud and that he didn’t have contracts with entities. On Wednesday, Cohen testified that he was “... extremely proud to be the personal attorney for the President of the United States of America. I did not want to go to the White House.”
Well, anyone who knows anything about Cohen knows that he’s a liar—I mean lawyer—and the scuttlebutt around Washington circles is that Cohen desperately wanted to work in the White House. He reportedly believed he was going to get a spot close to the president if for no other reason than he’d been the president’s personal hitman for 10 years and he knew where all the bodies were buried.
Yet Republicans have pointed to court filings from prosecutors in the Southern District of New York that stated Cohen “privately told friends and colleagues, including in seized text messages, that he expected to be given a prominent role and title in the new administration” — an assertion Cohen said Wednesday was “not inaccurate.”
“Mr. Cohen’s testimony is material to the Committee’s assessment of Mr. Cohen’s motive to monetize his former association with President Trump,” Jordan and Meadows wrote to the Justice Department on Thursday. “It is essential that the Department of Justice investigate these remarkable contradictions between Mr. Cohen, the SDNY prosecutors, and the public accounts of witnesses with firsthand information.”
Maryland Democrat and House Oversight Chairman (who was the ringleader of Wednesday’s circus) Elijah Cummings told reporters he believes Cohen’s claim he didn’t want to work at the White House.
“I don’t have any knowledge of that. He said he wasn’t (lobbying for a job) and I believe him,” Cummings said. “I mean, think about it. He could make a helluva lot more money, a helluva lot more money, outside the White House than in the White House. I mean, I don’t know why you would want to do that.”
Sources told CNN that Cohen was angling for a job in the White House, but was given the Heisman pose by members of Trump’s family. The news station also notes that Trump tried to steer Cohen towards a job in the White House counsel’s office but White House counsel Don McGahn said, “That Bama doesn’t know how to do government-level sleazy shit.” I’m paraphrasing, of course.
Also from CNN:
Jordan and Meadows also claim that Cohen’s testimony that he “never defrauded any bank” was “intentionally false” given that Manhattan prosecutors “specifically referred to Mr. Cohen’s crimes of making false statements to financial institutions as ‘bank fraud’” in a footnote of his plea agreement.
Cohen pleaded guilty to making false statements to a financial institution, however, not bank fraud, and prosecutors have not alleged that any bank lost money.
The GOP lawmakers additionally accused Cohen of lying about his contacts with foreign entities, a point highlighted by Meadows at Wednesday’s hearing. Cohen said he would review the form and amend it if necessary.
For the TL;DR crowd, Jordan and Meadows are continuing to jockey for who gets to hold Trump’s golf balls.