Rep. Adam Schiff, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, has announced that planned testimony from former Trump attorney Michael Cohen has been delayed until Feb. 28. That sets the date of Cohen’s appearance just one day before he’s due to report to prison to begin serving a three-year sentence. However, the most interesting thing about the announced delay may not be the date, but the reason. Schiff says it is in “the interests of the investigation.”
The investigation Schiff is talking about here can’t be the one in the House or the Senate. It has to be an investigation underway by the special counsel’s office or by federal attorneys in the Southern District of New York. So, as brief as Schiff’s statement may be, it seems to include an unstated request that the House not question Michael Cohen … just yet.
Considering that Cohen has already been sentenced, it seems odd that Robert Mueller would be concerned about his appearing before the House. But Cohen is connected to at least two ongoing investigations—both of which appear to be heating up. CNN has indicated that federal investigators are digging deeper into the Trump Organization, requesting interviews with executives at the 100 percent Donald-Trump-owned corporation. Considering that company CFO Allen Weisselberg was earlier given partial immunity in exchange for his testimony, this would seem to indicate that investigators are ready for the next stage of digging into Trump’s businesses.
And then there’s the growing scandal around Trump’s limitless inaugural committee, which seems to have been the go-to place for both U.S. and foreign investors to pump money into Trump. The Daily Beast is reporting that investigators have taken a particular interest in Imaad Zuberi, an LA-based venture capitalist who not only gave $900,000 to Trump’s fund, but was also a major contributor to former House Intelligence Chair Devin Nunes.
Cohen apparently spoke with Zuberi on more than one occasion and helped broker his contribution, as well as his appearance at inaugural events. So the news that Zuberi has been subpoenaed to testify in connection with Trump’s inaugural committee could easily explain why Cohen needs to be kept on hand.
But the biggest reason for a delay is probably that neither the SCO nor the SDNY is ready for Congress to hear everything Cohen has to say. Because there are still potential indictments related to things he’s told investigators.
This is the special counsel’s office, not SDNY. So it’s unlikely to be related to the inaugural committee. This is something much more likely to be directly related to the Trump campaign.