Trump attorney Michael Cohen: Congressional testimony request is a "fishing expedition"

Attorney Michael Cohen
Source: Bryan R. Smith/Getty Images
Attorney Michael Cohen
Source: Bryan R. Smith/Getty Images

Michael Cohen, the president's personal attorney and one of his most diehard loyalists, says he's been roped into a "fishing expedition" by Congressional lawmakers investigating possible ties between Russia and the 2016 Trump campaign.

ABC News reported Tuesday that "House and Senate investigators" had asked Cohen for information "about any contacts he had with people connected to the Russian government."

In a conversation Tuesday, Cohen told Mic, "I declined the invitation to participate, as the request was poorly phrased, overly broad and not capable of being answered."

Cohen went on to say the communications he received from Washington were identical to those sent to others within Trump circles: "As every invitation is the same, this is not an investigation, but rather a fishing expedition," he said.

The former top counsel to the private-sector Trump Organization also said he found it "irresponsible and improper that the request sent to me was leaked by those working on the committee."

Among those who have publicly acknowledged being approached by Congressional investigators in the Trump-Russia probe is Roger Stone, who has said he is anxious to testify in public that there was no collusion between the campaign and any Russian government interests.

Former Trump aides Paul Manafort and Carter Page have also been named as figures in the ongoing inquiries.

Cohen spoke on the same day that CNN reported that Russian officials claimed during the campaign to have "derogatory information" about Trump and his aides that could be used to influence the administration were he elected.

More recently, multiple news reports revealed that the president's son-in-law and close adviser, Jared Kushner, had also come under FBI scrutiny, although he has not been accused of malfeasance.

Attorney Michael Cohen at Trump Tower
Source: Bryan R. Smith/Getty Images

As ABC noted, earlier this year, Cohen formed a "strategic alliance” with Patton Boggs, a Washington lobbying firm "whose clients include Russia's third-largest bank, Gazprombank." The piece also specified that Cohen's "wife is Ukrainian, and he once worked with her family in Ukraine to establish an ethanol business."

Cohen in January dismissed an unverified dossier that purported to implicate him in dealings between Team Trump and Russia — as well as suggested that Trump himself had engaged in salacious activities. 

In an interview at the time, Cohen told Mic the dossier's allegations were "fake news nonsense" and "absolutely silly."

How likely are you to make Mic your go-to news source?

Celeste Katz

Celeste Katz is senior political correspondent at Mic, covering national politics. She is based in New York and can be reached at celeste@mic.com.

MORE FROM

Senate Republicans' Obamacare repeal bill may be flatlining

Republican leadership is scrambling to convert skeptical senators to let the bill move forward to a final vote.

One of Trump's warmest meetings with a world leader yet was Narendra Modi, an accused fascist

Modi hugged Trump during a White House visit on Monday — a far cry from 2002, when he was accused of massacring Muslims in Gujarat.

Donald Trump is hurting America's image around the world, new Pew Research Center study finds

The leader of the free world apparently has image problems at home AND abroad.

Even Donald Trump's schedule has become a victim of a White House push against transparency

"Unreportable" public schedules, off camera briefings, secret visitor logs ... Where does it end?

The CBO score says 22 million will lose coverage. Here's why it's actually a lot worse than that.

Republicans wrote the bill so that much of the coverage losses wouldn't be captured by the CBO report.

CBO Score: Senate Republican health care bill will cost 22 million people their coverage

That's 1 million fewer than under the House-passed health care bill.

Senate Republicans' Obamacare repeal bill may be flatlining

Republican leadership is scrambling to convert skeptical senators to let the bill move forward to a final vote.

One of Trump's warmest meetings with a world leader yet was Narendra Modi, an accused fascist

Modi hugged Trump during a White House visit on Monday — a far cry from 2002, when he was accused of massacring Muslims in Gujarat.

Donald Trump is hurting America's image around the world, new Pew Research Center study finds

The leader of the free world apparently has image problems at home AND abroad.

Even Donald Trump's schedule has become a victim of a White House push against transparency

"Unreportable" public schedules, off camera briefings, secret visitor logs ... Where does it end?

The CBO score says 22 million will lose coverage. Here's why it's actually a lot worse than that.

Republicans wrote the bill so that much of the coverage losses wouldn't be captured by the CBO report.

CBO Score: Senate Republican health care bill will cost 22 million people their coverage

That's 1 million fewer than under the House-passed health care bill.