WASHINGTON, Feb 27 (Reuters) – It appears President Donald Trump committed a crime, the chairman of the U.S. House Oversight Committee said on Wednesday, but he declined to say whether he should be removed from office.
“It appears he did,” Democratic Chairman Elijah Cummings told reporters when asked after a day-long hearing with Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, if he believed Trump committed a crime as president.
READ MORE: Cohen says Donald Trump Jr. signed ‘hush money’ cheques in father’s affair with porn star
“(But) that’s not for me to say. That’s based on what’s already been found,” Cummings told reporters, referring to the fact that Cohen had admitted to breaking campaign finance laws at Trump’s direction in a guilty plea last year.
WATCH: Cohen says Trump had him threaten people with litigation hundreds of times
Cummings declined to say whether he thought Trump had committed impeachable offenses.
“I need to study the transcripts and see what we have. Keep in mind I want to proceed very cautiously,” he said.
READ MORE: Michael Cohen says he fears what will happen if Trump loses 2020 election
U.S. President Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen accused him of breaking the law while in office and said for the first time that Trump knew in advance about a WikiLeaks dump of stolen emails that hurt his 2016 election rival Hillary Clinton.
In a dramatic televised hearing in Congress on Wednesday, Cohen said Trump approved hush payments to cover up extra-marital sexual relationships in violation of campaign finance laws, and signed a personal check for $35,000 in 2017 to reimburse Cohen for at least one of those payments.
WATCH: Cohen says Trump told him to say he wasn’t knowledgeable about alleged hush money payments
Cohen, 52, was a close aide of Trump for years and his testimony could increase the legal and political pressure on the Republican president, but he did not appear to disclose a “smoking gun” that could sink his former boss.
Cohen told a House of Representatives committee he had no direct evidence that Trump or his campaign colluded with Moscow during the election campaign.