WASHINGTON – The House Intelligence Committee has delayed a planned interview with President Donald Trump’s former lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen, as the panel gathers behind closed doors to debate releasing all the interview transcripts from last year’s investigation into Trump’s alleged Russia ties.

Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., the panel’s chairman, announced the delay in a brief statement Wednesday morning, saying that “in the interests of the investigation, Michael Cohen’s testimony has been postponed until February 28th.”

This is the second time Cohen’s planned testimony has been either delayed or canceled outright. Last month, the Committee on Oversight and Reform scheduled Cohen to appear for a public hearing Feb. 7, but Cohen canceled, citing threats Trump had made to his family.

Cohen is expected to report to prison March 6 to begin serving a three-year sentence after pleading guilty to lying to Congress and financial crimes. House oversight committee chairman Elijah Cummings, D-Md., has said he will pull Cohen out of jail for a hearing if lawmakers can’t reschedule it before then.

Cohen is also scheduled to appear before the Senate Intelligence Committee for a closed-door interview Feb. 12.

The delay comes as the House Intelligence Committee is preparing to give special counsel Robert Mueller copies of interview transcripts from the panel’s GOP-led Russia probe, which concluded that there was no evidence of collusion between Trump’s team and Russian officials. But Democrats have long suspected that Cohen isn’t the only witness who lied to lawmakers during those interviews – and that Mueller is best-equipped to determine who is telling the truth.

But Republican members of the panel are resisting giving Mueller unfettered access to those materials before the public is able to view them as well. Republicans planned to request Wednesday that the panel also vote to publicly release all unclassified transcripts from the probe.

Last year, both Republicans and Democrats voted to release all of the transcript materials to the public, pending review by the intelligence community. But that vote took place in September – and the interview transcripts still have not been cleared in the declassification review.

Panel Republicans called the delay “unacceptable” in a statement Wednesday, in which they also called on Democrats to issue subpoenas for witnesses the panel never interviewed during its Russia probe. Democrats complained forcefully last year that Republicans had blocked their efforts and denied their request to issue similar subpoenas.

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