Maxine Waters Wants to Probe Donald Trump's Nonprofit Foundation After Cohen Testimony: 'An Area That Should Be Looked At'

Representative Maxine Waters wants to explore in greater detail President Donald Trump's now-defunct charitable foundation over tax evasion concerns in the wake of the congressional testimony by Michael Cohen, his former fixer and personal attorney.

The Trump Foundation is already under investigation by the New York attorney general, which also ordered it to be closed down. Now it is facing further scrutiny by the Democrat-controlled U.S. House of Representatives, whose committees wield subpoena powers.

"I think there's more than we know about at this time," said Waters, a California Democrat and chair of the House Committee on Financial Services, Politico reported. "I think that's an area that should be looked at, because I think the foundation has been used by him to avoid paying taxes on money he's earned."

Waters, who is leading a campaign to impeach Trump, also said she received a letter "from somebody who told me about a situation that they want to talk with me more about." Her committee is already investigating Trump's finances.

In December, New York Attorney General Letitia James announced the dissolution of the Trump Foundation amid an ongoing $2.8 million lawsuit. Under judicial supervision, the foundation must distribute its remaining assets to organizations approved by the attorney general.

James's office accused the Trump Foundation and its directors—the president and his children Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump and Ivanka Trump—of "a pattern of persistent illegal conduct, occurring over more than a decade."

That conduct includes "extensive unlawful political coordination with the Trump presidential campaign, repeated and willful self-dealing transactions to benefit Mr. Trump's personal and business interests, and violations of basic legal obligations for nonprofit foundations."

During his hearing in front of the House Oversight Committee on Wednesday, Cohen called the president a "con man" and a "cheat."

Cohen, who in May will begin a three-year prison sentence for tax fraud, making false statements and campaign finance violations, suggested Trump committed tax fraud by artificially deflating the value of his assets to reduce his tax bill.

And he alleged that Trump instructed a "fake bidder" at an auction to purchase a portrait of himself and then reimbursed them through his nonprofit, the Trump Foundation.

"Mr. Trump directed me to find a straw bidder to purchase a portrait of him that was being auctioned at an Art Hamptons event," Cohen said.

"The objective was to ensure that his portrait, which was going to be auctioned last, would go for the highest price of any portrait that afternoon.

"The portrait was purchased by the fake bidder for $60,000. Mr. Trump directed the Trump Foundation, which is supposed to be a charitable organization, to repay the fake bidder, despite keeping the art for himself."

The White House and Trump Organization did not respond immediately to requests for comment.

In a previous statement, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders called Cohen a "disgraced felon" and accused him of spreading lies.

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U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) speaks at a protest against U.S. President Donald Trump's national emergency declaration outside City Hall in Los Angeles on February 18. ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images