In testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee originally scheduled for Tuesday, President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer plans to insist he never colluded with Russia during the 2016 election and to outline the public scrutiny he and his family have faced.
“Let me be totally clear that I am innocent of the allegations raised against me in the public square, which are based upon misinformation and unnamed or unverifiable sources,” reads the statement by Michael Cohen, which he was set to read before the committee and which was provided to HuffPost. (Read his full opening statement here.)
As the former executive vice president of the Trump Organization, Cohen has long been one of the president’s closest advisers.
He was scheduled to testify before a closed-door meeting of the Senate Intelligence Committee. Lawmakers subpoenaed him in their investigation into Russia’s attempt to influence the presidential campaign and whether members of Trump’s campaign or inner circle were involved in those efforts.
In his statement to the committee, Cohen sticks up not only for himself but for the president as well, saying he saw “not a hint of anything” that showed any involvement in Russian interference.
“I’m also certain that there are some in this country who do not care about the facts, but simply want to politicize this issue, choosing to presume guilt ― rather than presuming innocence ― so as to discredit our lawfully elected president in the public eye and to shame his supporters in the public square … this is un-American,” Cohen’s statement says.
Cohn has faced increased attention since he was named in a dossier prepared by a former British spy who claimed the lawyer had an important role in an “ongoing secret liaison relationship” between Trump officials and Russia. The document, first published by BuzzFeed, said Cohen had traveled to Prague to meet with Kremlin officials about getting involved in the election.
Cohen was set to deny that allegation in his testimony Tuesday, saying he was “in Los Angeles with my son who dreams of playing division 1 baseball next year at a prestigious university like USC. We were visiting the campus, meeting with various coaches, and discussing his future.”
The statement says the dossier damaged his reputation and the continuing scrutiny has taken a toll on his family ― as well as on other people around the country who dare to show their support for Trump publicly.
“My wife and I have…