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Trump's ex-lawyer Michael Cohen subpoenaed by Senate Intelligence Committee to testify before he goes to jail

Key Points
  • The Senate Intelligence Committee subpoenas Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump's former personal lawyer, to testify.
  • The subpoena comes a day after Cohen postpones his voluntary testimony at a hearing before the Democrat-led House Oversight and Reform Committee, citing ongoing "threats" against his family allegedly made by Trump and his current lawyer, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani.
  • Cohen is due to surrender to a federal prison in early March to begin serving a three-year sentence for crimes that include some related to Trump.
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Michael Cohen postpones Feb. 7 congressional testimony

The Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday subpoenaed Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump's former personal lawyer, to testify.

The hearing before the committee is scheduled for Feb. 12, said a source with direct knowledge of the matter close to Cohen.

The subpoena was revealed a day after Cohen postponed his voluntary testimony, which had been set for Feb. 7, before the House Oversight and Reform Committee, citing ongoing "threats" against his family allegedly made by Trump and his current lawyer, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

It is not clear if Cohen's testimony before the GOP-run Senate Intelligence Committee will be public or in a closed session.

Cohen, 52, is due to surrender to a federal prison in early March to begin serving a three-year sentence for crimes that include some related to Trump.

CNN first reported the subpoena. Cohen's legal advisor, Lanny Davis, later confirmed the subpoena to CNBC.

U.S. Marshals served the subpoena on Cohen at his residence in New York on Thursday morning, Davis told CNBC.

A spokeswoman for the committee's ranking Democrat, Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia, declined to comment.

"Of course he will honor the subpoena," Davis said later on MSNBC. "But what he will do as a result of the subpoena is a legal issue that would come down to reasonable discussions, certainly with the Senate Intelligence Committee with the great leadership that is a bipartisan committee with Senator Burr and Senator Warner."

Davis also said Cohen will say nothing to "compromise" ongoing investigations in which he has been involved that are helmed by federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York as well as special counsel Robert Mueller.

Mueller is probing Russia's interference in the 2016 election, as well as possible Kremlin collusion with the Trump campaign.

Earlier Thursday, Davis called for Trump to be censured by the House of Representatives for "witness tampering," as well as calling for a criminal probe of Giuliani.

"Today I am calling for an immediate House resolution against Trump for congressional witness tampering and obstruction due horrible multiple threats to Michael's family, and an immediate criminal investigation and possible indictment of Giuliani for the same conduct, since he does not have likely presidential immunity," Davis said in a statement to CNBC.

On Twitter and in interviews since Cohen's sentencing in December, Trump has made comments about Cohen's father-in-law, Fima Shusterman.

Shusterman was placed on probation in the mid-1990s after pleading guilty in a case in which he was charged with conspiring to defraud the IRS. Shusterman has not been charged by authorities with any organized crime activity or for any crime involving Cohen.

Days before Cohen was scheduled to be sentenced in federal court in Manhattan, Trump referenced Shusterman and Cohen's wife, Laura, while raging against his former fixer in a pair of tweets.

In January, Trump took another shot at Cohen's father-in-law during an interview with Jeanine Pirro on Fox News.

Cohen "should give information maybe on his father-in-law, because that's the one that people want to look at," Trump said, "because where does that money — that's the money in the family."

In a statement Wednesday, Davis said that "due to ongoing threats against his family from President Trump and Mr. Giuliani, as recently as this weekend, as well as Mr. Cohen's continued cooperation with ongoing investigations, by advice of counsel, Mr. Cohen's appearance will be postponed to a later date."

But House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings, D-Md., and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said later that day that "not appearing before Congress was never an option."

"We will not let the President's tactics prevent Congress from fulfilling our constitutionally mandated oversight responsibilities. This will not stop us from getting to the truth," Cummings and Schiff said in a joint statement.

"We expect Mr. Cohen to appear before both Committees, and we remain engaged with his counsel about his upcoming appearances."

Trump, when asked about the claim he and Giuliani had threatened Cohen's family, told reporters: "I would say he's been threatened by the truth."

"He's only been threatened by the truth, and he doesn't want to do that probably for me or other of his clients," Trump added. "He has other clients also, I assume, and he doesn't want to tell the truth for me or other of his clients."

Cohen, who for years had been Trump's personal counsel and a high-ranking member of the Trump Organization, pleaded guilty to financial crimes, campaign finance violations and to lying to Congress.

He admitted facilitating hush-money payments to two women who claimed they had affairs with Trump weeks before the 2016 presidential election. The president has denied having the affairs.

Cohen also confessed to misleading Congress in 2017 about when an aborted plan to build a Trump Tower in Moscow actually ended, and about the extent of Trump's involvement in that project.

CNBC's Tucker Higgins contributed to this report.

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