The House Intelligence Committee is looking into allegations that the group of attorneys defending Donald Trump, his family, and his business obstructed the panel’s Russia investigation. In particular, Democrats are following up on testimony from former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen that Trump’s lawyers helped craft a false statement he submitted to Congress regarding the duration of negotiations surrounding a Trump Tower real estate deal in Congress.
“Among other things, it appears that your clients may have reviewed, shaped and edited the false statement that Cohen submitted to the committee, including causing the omission of material facts,” House Intelligence chairman Adam Schiff wrote May 3 to the lawyers, including Jay Sekulow for Trump, Alan Futerfas for Don Jr., Alan Garten for the Trump Organization, and Abbe Lowell for Ivanka Trump. All four attorneys participated in a joint defense agreement designed to synch their responses to multiple inquiries on the matter. “In addition, certain of your clients may have engaged in discussions about potential pardons in an effort to deter one or more witnesses from cooperating with authorized investigations.”
The committee is seeking a “lengthy” list of documents from the four men. The point of the obstruction inquiry appears to be less a matter of targeting the attorneys than a tool by which to gain access to their communications surrounding the deal, which is central to the panel’s counterintelligence inquiry.
Like every other congressional inquiry, this showdown appears to be headed to court. Lawyers for the quartet have declined to comply, arguing that Schiff’s request has no “proper legislative purpose.” Sound familiar?
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