Trump's lawyer will now have to testify in public after defying Senate Intel Committee

President Donald Trump's longtime personal lawyer Michael Cohen will have to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee in an open session after the committee's leaders said he broke an agreement not to speak to the media prior to his interview. 

Cohen released a prepared statement Tuesday denying he colluded with Russia and claiming that a Trump Tower Moscow project he pursued during the election was "solely a real estate deal and nothing more." He added that he "never saw anything — not a hint of anything — that demonstrated [Trump's] involvement in Russian interference in our election or any form of Russian collusion."

The Senate Intelligence Committee canceled its private interview with Cohen that had been scheduled for Tuesday morning. Its chairman and ranking member released a statement saying the committee would subpoena Cohen to appear in an open session at a later date.

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Donald Trump's lawyer, Michael Cohen
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Donald Trump's lawyer, Michael Cohen
Michael Cohen, personal attorney for U.S. President Donald Trump, arrives to appear before Senate Intelligence Committee staff as the panel investigates alleged Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S. September 19, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Attorney Michael Cohen arrives at Trump Tower for meetings with President-elect Donald Trump on December 16, 2016 in New York.

(BRYAN R. SMITH/AFP/Getty Images)

Michael Cohen, personal attorney for U.S. President Donald Trump, talks to reporters as he departs after meeting with Senate Intelligence Committee staff as the panel investigates alleged Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S. September 19, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, President-elect Donald Trump's choice for National Security Advisor, Michael Cohen, executive vice president of the Trump Organization and special counsel to Donald Trump, and former Texas Governor Rick Perry talk with each other in the lobby at Trump Tower, December 12, 2016 in New York City. President-elect Donald Trump and his transition team are in the process of filling cabinet and other high level positions for the new administration.

(Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

UNITED STATES - SEPTEMBER 19: Michael Cohen, center, a personal attorney for President Trump, leaves Hart Building after his meeting with the Senate Intelligence Committee to discuss Russian interference in the 2016 election was postponed on September 19, 2017. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Attorney Michael Cohen arrives to Trump Tower for meetings with President-elect Donald Trump on December 16, 2016 in New York.

(BRYAN R. SMITH/AFP/Getty Images)

Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump's personal attorney arrives with his attorney, Stephen M. Ryan to speak with reporters after meeting with Senate Intelligence Committee staff on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., September 19, 2017. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein

Retired Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, White House national security adviser-designate, from left, Michael Cohen, executive vice president of the Trump Organization and special counsel to Donald Trump, and Rick Perry, former governor of Texas, speak in the lobby of Trump Tower in New York, U.S., on Monday, Dec. 12, 2016. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he had the 'highest confidence' in the intelligence community, in sharp contrast to President-elect Donald Trump's attack on the CIA after reports it found that the Russian government tried to help him win the presidency.

(Albin Lohr-Jones/Pool via Bloomberg)

Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump's personal attorney, looks on as his attorney (not pictured) delivers a statement to reporters after meeting with Senate Intelligence Committee staff on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., September 19, 2017. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein

Attorney Michael Cohen arrives to Trump Tower for meetings with President-elect Donald Trump on December 16, 2016 in New York.

(BRYAN R. SMITH/AFP/Getty Images)

UNITED STATES - SEPTEMBER 19: Michael Cohen, center, a personal attorney for President Trump, leaves Hart Building after his meeting with the Senate Intelligence Committee to discuss Russian interference in the 2016 election was postponed on September 19, 2017. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
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"We were disappointed that Mr. Cohen decided to pre-empt today’s interview by releasing a public statement prior to his engagement with Committee staff, in spite of the Committee’s requests that he refrain from public comment," said the statement from Sens. Richard Burr and Mark Warner.

They added: "As a result, we declined to move forward with today’s interview and will reschedule Mr. Cohen’s appearance before the Committee in open session at a date in the near future. The Committee expects witnesses in this investigation to work in good faith with the Senate.”

Cohen referred questions to his attorney, who did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Cohen came under renewed scrutiny late last month when The Washington Post reported that he had pursued a Trump Tower Moscow project with Felix Sater, a Russia-born businessman and longtime Trump Organization adviser.

The Post then disclosed an email Cohen sent to Russian President Vladimir Putin's spokesman in January 2016 asking for his "assistance" with the massive real-estate project.

"Over the past few months I have been working with a company based in Russia regarding the development of a Trump Tower - Moscow project in Moscow City," Cohen wrote Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, according to the emails submitted to the congressional intelligence committees and read to the Post. 

Sater had written to Cohen a few months earlier, in November 2015, saying that he could get "Putin's team to buy in" to the Trump Tower Moscow proposal, which he said would help Trump get elected.

"Our boy can become president of the USA and we can engineer it," Sater wrote to Cohen, according to emails obtained by The New York Times. " I will get Putin on this program and we will get Donald elected."

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SEE ALSO: Trump's personal lawyer emailed Putin's spokesman for help on a business deal during the election

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