After President Donald Trump teased drama surrounding Michael Cohen's father-in-law in a Fox News appearance Saturday night, House Democrats objected Sunday, suggesting the president was witness-tampering and obstructing the congressional investigation, Axios reported.
"The integrity of our process to serve as an independent check on the Executive Branch must be respected by everyone, including the president," three Democratic House committee chairs wrote in a joint statement. "Our nation's laws prohibit efforts to discourage, intimidate, or otherwise pressure a witness not to provide testimony to Congress.
"The president should make no statement or take any action to obstruct Congress' independent oversight and investigative efforts, including by seeking to discourage any witness from testifying in response to a duly authorized request from Congress."
Oversight Chairman Elijah Cummings, D-Md., Intelligence Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., and Judiciary Chairman Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., authored the letter, responding to President Trump's remarks to Fox News' Judge Jeanine Pirro:
"[Cohen] should give information maybe on his father-in-law, because that's the one that people want to look at," Trump told Pirro. "Because where does that money – that's the money in the family – and I guess he didn't want to talk about his father-in-law. He's trying to get his sentence reduced. So, it's pretty sad. It's weak and it's very sad to watch a thing like that."
Cohen is set to testify publicly before the House Oversight Committee on Feb. 7. His father-in-law, Fima Shusterman was involved in a $20 million loan to a Chicago cab operator, pleading guilty to federal income tax fraud, according to Axios.
Law & Crime reached out to Stetson University law professor Ciara Torres-Spelliscy, an expert in campaign finance law, who responded via email:
"Given that Michael Cohen has already implicated the president in two campaign finance crimes, the president is likely nervous about what Mr. Cohen might testify about in front of Congress. But that nervousness is no excuse for trying to intimidate a potential Congressional witness like Mr. Cohen."
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