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Senate Intel Committee subpoenas former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen to testify


Cohen had rescinded his offer Wednesday to testify before a House committee

Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The Senate has issued a subpoena to President Donald Trump's former lawyer Michael Cohen, forcing Cohen to testify.

What's the background?

On Wednesday, Michael Cohen canceled testimony that he had previously volunteered to give to the House Oversight Committee. Cohen cited alleged "ongoing threats against his family" from Trump and Trump's current lawyer, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani. His legal team did not specify what those threats were, but Trump has repeatedly implied that Cohen's father-in-law should be investigated.

That now-canceled testimony had been been scheduled for Feb. 7.

Cohen's lawyer, Lanny Davis, sent a statement to CNBC Thursday 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."

What happened now?

CNN reported Thursday that the Senate had issued a subpoena to force Cohen to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee. That committee is currently led by Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.). Cohen also testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee in 2017. He would later plead guilty to misleading the committee during that testimony.

While Cohen's testimony before the House Oversight Committee was supposed to be public, it is not yet clear whether or not his testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee will be televised. Testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee is generally not public.

Cohen was also in talks to testify before the House Intelligence Committee. No House committees has so far issued subpoenas to Cohen.

Cohen is scheduled to report to prison on March 6. He was sentenced to three years for his false testimony to the Senate, as well as for violating campaign finance laws.

Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), who chairs the House Oversight Committee, told the Washington Post that the committee could "always bring him in. Even if he's in prison."

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