By Michael Hernandez
WASHINGTON (AA) – U.S. President Donald Trump's longtime personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, will testify early next month before the House of Representatives Oversight Committee.
"In furtherance of my commitment to cooperate and provide the American people with answers, I have accepted the invitation by [committee] Chairman Elijah Cummings to appear publicly on February 7th," Cohen said Thursday in a statement.
"I look forward to having the privilege of being afforded a platform with which to give a full and credible account of the events that transpired," he added.
It is unclear when Cummings extended the invitation to Cohen, but Cummings said Cohen voluntarily chose to testify before the committee.
The chairman thanked Cohen in a statement for his upcoming appearance, stressing the committee has "no interest in inappropriately interfering with any ongoing criminal investigations", referring to an ongoing probe by Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office, with whom the committee is consulting ahead of the hearing.
Cohen has cooperated with Mueller's team as it investigates Russian attempts to influence the 2016 presidential election and possible collusion with the Trump campaign.
Cohen was sentenced last month to three years behind bars after earlier pleading guilty to several crimes, including lying to Congress about a project to build a Trump Tower in Moscow while working for the president's organization in 2016 and making hundreds of thousands of dollars in hush money payments to two women -- an adult film actress and a Playboy model -- who allege lurid affairs with Trump in the runup to the November polls.
Cohen has been ordered to report to prison on March 6 to serve his prison term.
The lawyer maintains the payments to the two women who allege affairs with Trump -- Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal -- were done at the president's direction.
Cohen said in court filings he acknowledged they were made "for the principal purpose of influencing the election" -- referring to the 2016 White House race -- in violation of campaign finance laws.
Prosecutors in the case said that in arranging the payments, Cohen "acted in coordination with and at the direction" of Trump, whom they referred to as Individual 1.
Trump has frequently criticized Cohen, using mob-like rhetoric to describe him as a "rat" for his cooperation with Mueller.
Cummings sent letters to the White House and the Trump Organization earlier this week to renew requests from September seeking information on the payments made to Daniels and McDougal.
The White House and Trump Organization have until Jan. 22 to hand over the materials.