(CNN) The leaders of the Senate intelligence committee said Tuesday they want President Donald Trump’s personal attorney and longtime associate to testify in public after Michael Cohen released to the media his opening statement he planned to give at a closed door meeting.
Senate Intelligence Chairman Richard Burr, a North Carolina Republican, and Vice Chairman Mark Warner, a Virginia Democrat, announced Tuesday evening they had invited Cohen to reappear before the committee on October 25 in public session. Cohen has accepted the invitation and expects to appear, according to a source familiar with the matter.
Warner and Burr drawing firm line on witness interviews, saying Kushner issuing statement first set bad precedent: https://t.co/T2jK228icf
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) September 19, 2017
The invitation for a public hearing with committee members came just hours after the panel postponed its planned staff interview Tuesday. Burr and Warner released a joint statement saying they were “disappointed that Mr. Cohen decided to pre-empt today’s interview.”
“As a result, we declined to move forward with today’s interview and will reschedule Mr. Cohen’s appearance before the committee in open session at a date in the near future,” the senators said. “The committee expects witnesses in this investigation to work in good faith with the Senate.”
Burr told reporters that the committee had changed its policy about witnesses releasing statements after Jared Kushner did so during his closed-door appearance.
“What we do is behind closed doors,” Burr said. “We don’t expect individuals who come behind closed doors to publicly go out and tell (their side only).”
After spending about 90 minutes in the intelligence committee’s secure meeting room, Cohen and his lawyer told reporters the committee has postponed his testimony and he would return voluntarily at a later date. Cohen did not answer questions about why he was meeting with the committee staff for an hour if the meeting had been postponed.
Cohen was expected to vigorously deny participating in any collusion with the Russians to help Trump get elected in testimony before the Senate intelligence committee Tuesday, according to a copy of his opening statement obtained by CNN.
“I emphatically state that I had nothing to do with any Russian involvement in our electoral process,” Cohen’s statement says.