Republicans are pushing for the Department of Justice to prosecute President Donald Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, for perjury without a congressional referral after House Democrats squashed a resolution accusing the president’s former “fixer” of lying to Congress again, the Washington Examiner reported Thursday.
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) — the top Republican on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform — introduced the resolution to accuse Cohen of lying to Congress for the second time, which would have set the ball rolling on bringing more charges against Trump’s former attorney.
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— Oversight Committee Republicans (@GOPoversight) March 14, 2019
Committee chairman Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) ruled the resolution out of order on Thursday, preventing it from going further in the committee. Cummings said in a Wednesday statement that he did “not see the need for further action — at least at this time” following a letter of clarification from one of Cohen’s attorneys.
The resolution would have acted as the committee’s official opinion that Cohen lied to Congress again. Without the support of the committee, bringing the allegations against Cohen will become harder — but not impossible — to do.
Jordan and fellow Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) sent a letter to the Justice Department asking it to investigate whether Cohen perjured himself. Meadows’ spokesman, Ben Williamson, said:
“Jordan and Meadows have inquired with [Attorney General Bill] Barr already. At this point, their attention will likely turn to DOJ and following up with them. They’ve been responsive in working with us.”
George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley also weighed in on the move, according to the Examiner, saying that “there’s little question that [Cohen’s] testimony before Congress was misleading if not false.” He went on to say that even if some at the Justice Department wanted to go after Cohen for lying to Congress, “the Democrats made him effectively immune.”
Cohen is scheduled to go to prison for three years in May for campaign finance violations, fraud, and his previous perjury conviction.