The congressional investigation into ties between Russia and President Donald Trump and his advisers has expanded to focus on the president’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, according to a report from ABC News.
Cohen confirmed to the news station that he has been asked to give testimony to House and Senate investigators delving into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia in order to win last year’s presidential election.
Cohen told ABC News that he declined the invitation.
“The request was poorly phrased, overly broad and not capable of being answered,” he told the news outlet Tuesday in an email.
One of the congressional committees investigating Trump-Russia ties voted unanimously to grant its top members “blanket authority to issue subpoenas as they deem necessary” after Cohen declined to testify, according to ABC News. The Senate Select Intelligence Committee voted Thursday to give the power to its chairman, Sen. Richard Burr, R-North Carolina, and its vice chairman, Sen. Mark Warner, D-Virginia.
Intelligence officials said in January that they had “high confidence” that Russia interfered in November’s election in Trump’s favor, although it remains unclear whether the president or his staff worked with foreign agents to win the election. Russian officials have denied the report.
Authorities have not provided evidence that Trump or his associates coordinated with Russia to win the election. Trump has characterized the story as little more than “fake news” propagated by people who remain frustrated over the defeat of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
The Washington Post reported last week that Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, was being investigated for his alleged connections to Russia. According to the report, Kushner discussed setting up a secret communications channel with the Kremlin during a conversation with Serkey Kislyak, the Russian ambassador to the United States, and Trump’s national security adviser, Michael Flynn.
Flynn was forced to resign less than a month into his tenure as national security adviser after it was revealed that he lied to Vice President Mike Pence about his communications with Russia.
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