Oversight chair aims to speak with Donald Jr and Ivanka Trump as intelligence chair announces appearance by Felix Sater
The House oversight committee chairman, Elijah Cummings, has said he will seek interviews with Donald Trump’s children and some of his closest allies after public testimony by the president’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen. Among those the committee will call in for testimony are Donald Trump Jr and Ivanka Trump, as well as the Trump Organization’s chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg.
“All you have to do is follow the transcript. If there are names that were mentioned or records that were mentioned during the hearing, we want to take a look at all of that,” Cummings told reporters.
“I’m going to follow the facts and then whatever comes out of it, fine,” he added.
“But what we’re about is just making sure that government is accountable, and this administration, this branch is accountable.”
Adam Schiff, the chairman of the House intelligence committee, separately announced on Thursday that the former Trump associate Felix Sater will come before his panel on 14 March.
Schiff’s comments came after Cohen testified before the intelligence committee behind closed doors for eight hours.
Sater, a Russia-born business executive who has a past as an American spy tracking terrorists and members of the mob, worked with Cohen on negotiations around the construction of a Trump Tower Moscow project during the 2016 election.
In his public testimony before the oversight committee on Wednesday, Cohen said it was Sater who suggested giving the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, a $50m penthouse at the top of the potential building.
Although the plan did not come to fruition, Cohen was sentenced in December to three years in prison for crimes that included lying to Congress about the duration and timeline of discussions over the Trump Tower Moscow project.
Those negotiations are now a central focus for Democrats in Congress, who have vowed to use their newly minted House majority to more aggressively pursue investigations against the president and his inner circle.
Cohen also told lawmakers on Wednesday that he had briefed Ivanka and Trump Jr on the Trump Tower project approximately 10 times, contradicting the Trump family members’ earlier claims.
Trump Jr testified to the Senate intelligence committee that he was only “peripherally aware” of the project, while Ivanka said in an interview earlier this month she knew “literally almost nothing” about it.
Lawmakers are further interested in following up on Cohen’s testimony around the hush money payment made to the adult film actress Stormy Daniels to silence her from speaking out about her alleged affair with Trump.
Appearing before the oversight committee on Wednesday, Cohen publicly entered as evidence two $35,000 checks from Trump’s personal bank account that he said were reimbursement for the money he paid to Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford. One of the checks was signed by the president himself, while the other was signed by Trump Jr and Weisselberg.
Weisselberg, the Trump Organization CFO, is widely known to be the gatekeeper to Trump’s finances. Having worked for the family for more than 40 years, he is said to have intimate and perhaps unparalleled knowledge of Trump’s financial arrangements.
Under questioning from Democratic representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Wednesday, Cohen acknowledged that Trump inflated his assets to insurance companies. He further noted that Weisselberg was aware that Trump had potentially committed insurance and tax fraud.
Weisselberg was granted immunity last year to testify before a federal grand jury in New York relating to the investigation into the hush money payments.
Gabrielle Canon contributed to this article