Florida Republican Representative Matt Gaetz alleged that former Donald Trump lawyer Michael Cohen had secret girlfriends that the congressman threatened to reveal ahead of Cohen’s scheduled public testimony before the House Oversight Committee.
“Hey @MichaelCohen212 – Do your wife & father-in-law know about your girlfriends?” Gaetz wrote on Twitter Tuesday. “Maybe tonight would be a good time for that chat. I wonder if she’ll remain faithful when you’re in prison. She’s about to learn a lot..”
Asked about the threat by Vox’s Alex Ward, Gaetz said to “watch tomorrow” for “fireworks.”
He later insisted to The Daily Beast that he was not intimidating a federal witness.
“It is challenging the veracity and character of a witness. We do it everyday. We typically do it during people’s testimony,” he told the outlet. “This is what it looks like to compete in the marketplace of ideas.”
Matt Gaetz Accused of Witness Intimidation
MSNBC host Rachel Maddow tweeted the federal statutes regarding witness intimidation, implying that Gaetz, a Trump loyalist, crossed the legal line ahead of Cohen’s public testimony before the House Oversight Committee.
The witness intimidation statute applies to any official proceeding, including any court case or proceeding before Congress.
Attorney Ken White tweeted a suggestion to Gaetz to find a federal criminal defense lawyer.
“It sure seems like you’re threatening Michael Cohen that if he testifies before Congress you, or people aligned with you, will bring out embarrassing details about him,” White wrote. “There’s a whole bunch of obstruction statutes, sir, and if you’re threatening to reveal embarrassing information to deter a witness from testifying before Congress, I think you need advice about whether you may be violating one or more of them.”
Michael Cohen Vowed to Reveal Dirt on Trump in Testimony
The Wall Street Journal reported that Cohen planned to drop several bombshells in his testimony Wednesday.
A “person familiar with his planned testimony” told The Journal that Cohen will paint Trump as “a liar, a cheater and a racist.”
Cohen will also reportedly submit financial documents showing impropriety at the Trump Organization and provide details on his hush payments to porn star Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal, both of whom have claimed to have had affairs with Trump.
The White House dismissed Cohen as a liar, citing his guilty plea in special counsel Bob Mueller’s investigation to lying to Congress about his dealings with Trump.
“Disgraced felon Michael Cohen is going to prison for lying to Congress and making other false statements. Sadly, he will go before Congress this week and we can expect more of the same. It’s laughable that anyone would take a convicted liar like Cohen at his word, and pathetic to see him given yet another opportunity to spread his lies,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said.