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Cohen back for third day of Congressional testimony

Published: Thursday, February 28, 2019 @ 7:47 AM

After a riveting public hearing where he was denounced repeatedly by GOP lawmakers as a fraud and a liar, President Donald Trump's former personal lawyer is back on Capitol Hill Thursday for testimony before the House Intelligence Committee, going behind closed doors to again talk about questions involving the Russia investigation and any possible ties to the President.

Democrats said they planned to press Cohen on a familiar list of questions centering on his involvement in negotiations - during the 2016 campaign - to build a Trump Tower project in Moscow.

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The last time that Cohen was before the House intelligence panel, he lied about those talks - to committees in both the House and Senate.

"I lied to Congress about when Mr. Trump stopped negotiating the Moscow Tower project in Russia," Cohen said Wednesday. "I stated that we stopped negotiating in January 2016. That was false – our negotiations continued for months later during the campaign."

In his testimony before the House Oversight Committee, Cohen did say that lawyers for the President reviewed that false testimony, raising eyebrows among Democrats.

Cohen though specifically made clear that he was not ordered to lie to Congress, but rather he told lawmakers that understood what he was supposed to say, in order to 'toe the party line.'

"Mr. Trump did not directly tell me to lie to Congress. That’s not how he operates," Cohen said, describing how the President would routinely say out loud to Cohen that he had no business in Russia, even though Cohen was briefing him on his business efforts in Russia.

Cohen is also expected to be questioned Thursday about what the President knew about Wikileaks, and that group's efforts to release hacked emails damaging to the Hillary Clinton campaign and Democrats.

During Cohen's testimony, Wikileaks mocked assertions by Cohen that the President had been tipped off to email dumps by Roger Stone.

"WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange has never had a telephone call with Roger Stone," the group wrote on Twitter.

One of the more interesting item's from Cohen's testimony was his refusal to answer a series of different questions from lawmakers about issues involving the President, raising the distinct issue that Mr. Trump is still under investigation by prosecutors in the Southern District of New York.

"I'd rather not say," Cohen said at one point when asked if an investigation of the President, his son Donald Trump Jr., and a top official of the Trump Organization was ongoing.

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