Donald Trump and several of his family members could soon find themselves testifying before Congress about the president’s alleged lies and criminal conduct, if the Democratic-controlled House Oversight Committee gets its way.
Elijah Cummings, the top Democrat on the committee tasked with investigating Mr Trump’s financial dealings, ties to Russia and a slate of other scandals plaguing the White House since his 2016 election, warned the first family and others close to the president they “can expect” to hear from Congress about details revealed in Michael Cohen’s explosive public testimony on Wednesday.
The chairman’s comments to reporters on Thursday arrived after Cohen told the House Oversight committee a day prior that Mr Trump had committed crimes throughout his entire career as a real estate developer in New York and even after he assumed the Oval Office. Mr Trump’s former attorney supplied lawmakers with a check the president signed to reimburse him for hush money payments sent along the campaign trail to adult film actress Stormy Daniels, who claimed to have had an affair with Mr Trump.
He also detailed specific accusations of criminal conduct by Mr Trump and his associates, claiming the Trump Organisation kept documents that would reveal he had inflated the values of his real estate holdings and other assets, while naming the president’s son and other key figures who may have helped him commit those crimes.
Speaking to reporters in Washington on Thursday, Mr Cummings said “if Michael Cohen mentioned their names in the hearing yesterday, chances are they will be called in to testify, too”.
Cohen claimed he gave “approximately 10” briefings on a potential Trump-branded property in Moscow to Mr Trump Jr, Ivanka Trump or both, despite the first son previously telling the Senate Intelligence Committee he was only “peripherally aware” of the project.
The president’s children and close associates were named on a multitude of occasions by Cohen as he outlined wrongdoings spanning the course of decades. However, perhaps one of the most alarming revelations surrounding Russian interference in the 2016 election arrived when he described an unusual encounter between the president and his eldest son.
Cohen told lawmakers on Wednesday he was sitting in a meeting with the president the summer before his election when Mr Trump Jr came into the room and walked behind his father’s desk.
“I recalled Don Jr leaning over to his father and speaking in a low voice, which I could clearly hear, and saying: ‘The meeting is all set’. I remember Mr Trump saying, ‘Ok good … let me know’,” Cohen said. “What struck me as I looked back and thought about that exchange between Don Jr. and his father was, first, that Mr Trump had frequently told me and others that his son Don Jr had the worst judgment of anyone in the world.”
“And also,” he added, “that Don Jr. would never set up any meeting of any significance alone — and certainly not without checking with his father.”
The president’s son rebuked Cohen’s claims on Twitter, writing: “Only Democrats could hate someone so much that they would try to disrupt nuclear peace talks with testimony from a convicted felon.”