The Democratic chairmen of three powerful House committees appeared to suggest on Sunday that President Donald Trump attempted to “obstruct Congress’ independent oversight and investigative efforts” during his weekend interview with Fox News.
“The integrity of our process to serve as an independent check on the Executive Branch must be respected by everyone, including the President,” said House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) and House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) in a statement.
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“Our nation’s laws prohibit efforts to discourage, intimidate, or otherwise pressure a witness not to provide testimony to Congress,” the lawmakers added.
Calling in to Fox News for an interview Saturday evening, Trump criticized his former personal attorney and longtime fixer, Michael Cohen, who is scheduled to testify publicly to the House Oversight Committee on Feb. 7 regarding his role in orchestrating hush money payments on Trump’s behalf ahead of the 2016 election.
“He should give information maybe on his father-in-law because that’s the one that people want to look at because where does that money — that’s the money in the family,” Trump said. “And I guess he didn’t want to talk about his father-in-law. He’s trying to get his sentence reduced.”
Asked by Fox News host Jeanine Pirro to provide the name of Cohen’s father-in-law, Trump responded: “I don’t know, but you’ll find out and you’ll look into it because nobody knows what’s going on over there.”
Cummings, Schiff and Nadler said in their joint statement Sunday that the president “should make no statement or take any action to obstruct Congress’ independent oversight and investigative efforts, including by seeking to discourage any witness from testifying in response to a duly authorized request from Congress.”