Two Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee have recommended the Justice Department look at pursuing charges against former Trump attorney Michael Cohen.
The criminal referral letter sent by House Intelligence Chairman Mike Turner (R-Ohio) and committee member Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) accuses Cohen of committing perjury and having “knowingly made false statements” before the congressional panel four years ago.
“That Mr. Cohen was willing to openly and brazenly state at trial that he lied to Congress on this specific issue is startling,” the referral letter reads. “His willingness to make such a statement alone should necessitate an investigation.”
Amid cross-examination by Trump’s legal team late last month, Cohen testified that he lied under oath to the House Intelligence Committee in February 2019. In that testimony, Cohen said Trump did not ask him to inflate the numbers detailed in his statements of financial condition. However, Cohen then changed his testimony last month.
Alina Habba, one of Trump’s attorneys, tore into Cohen over the discrepancy during cross-examination.
“Mr. Cohen, were you being honest in front of the Permanent Select Committee when you testified on February 28, 2019?” Habba asked.
“No,” Cohen replied.
“So you lied under oath in February of 2019? Is that your testimony?” Habba pressed.
“Yes,” Cohen said.
While it urges prosecutors to take action, a criminal referral is largely symbolic and does not hold any legal weight.