Trump attorney Michael Cohen now a focus of Russia investigation

Cohen has so far declined to cooperate with investigators
May 30, 2017 02:15PM

Michael Cohen and the front cover of his passport (Credit: Twitter and Getty Images)

President Donald Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen is now a focus of Congress’ ongoing investigation into communications between the Trump presidential campaign and Russian officials.

Cohen confirmed to ABC News on Tuesday that he had been contacted by Senate and House investigators, but has so far shot down their requests. “I declined the invitation to participate, as the request was poorly phrased, overly broad and not capable of being answered,” he told the news organization.

After he declined to participate, the Senate Select Intelligence Committee voted to grant its chairman and the top two Democrats blanket authority to issue subpoenas.

Last week, unnamed government officials told New York Times reporters that senior White House adviser Jared Kushner had become a focus of the FBI’s own investigation, with sources alleging that before the inauguration Kushner attempted to establish a secret back-channel to Russia via the Russian embassy in Washington, D.C.

Cohen, who worked for the Trump Organization before becoming the president’s personal lawyer, was previously a subject of a controversial leaked intelligence memo, said to have been drafted by freelance intelligence specialist Christopher Steele. In the memo, Cohen was alleged to have met with Russian officials in Prague to discuss the hack of the Democratic National Committee’s email servers during the 2016 presidential campaign. Cohen said he was in California when the Prague meeting was said to have taken place. He later announced that he would look into taking legal action against both BuzzFeed and Steele over the document, which he called “laughably false.”

In February, the Times reported that Cohen and former Trump-associate Felix Sater had drafted a plan for lifting U.S. sanctions on Russia, which the pair had delivered to then national security adviser Michael Flynn shortly before Flynn resigned the office. Cohen commented on his involvement to the paper, saying “Who doesn’t want to help bring about peace?”

The Real Deal profiled Cohen in February.  [ABC]Will Parker