Donald Trump directed Michael Cohen to lie to U.S. Congress about their plan to develop a Trump Tower Moscow, Buzzfeed News reports tonight citing two federal law enforcement officials involved in an investigation of the matter.
Said Rep. Eric Swallwell (D CA-15) on NBC News as the story broke, "I view this as powerful evidence of collusion."
From Anthony Cormier and Jason Leopold at Buzzfeed News:
Trump also supported a plan, set up by Cohen, to visit Russia during the presidential campaign, in order to personally meet President Vladimir Putin and jump-start the tower negotiations. "Make it happen," the sources said Trump told Cohen.
And even as Trump told the public he had no business deals with Russia, the sources said Trump and his children, Ivanka and Donald Trump Jr., received regular, detailed updates about the real estate development from Cohen, whom they put in charge of the project.
Cohen pleaded guilty in November to lying about the deal in testimony and in a two-page statement to the Senate and House intelligence committees. Special counsel Robert Mueller noted that Cohen's false claim that the project ended in January 2016 was an attempt to "minimize links between the Moscow Project and Individual 1" — widely understood to be Trump — "in hopes of limiting the ongoing Russia investigations."
Now the two sources have told BuzzFeed News that Cohen also told the special counsel that after the election, the president personally instructed him to lie — by claiming that negotiations ended months earlier than they actually did — in order to obscure Trump's involvement.
The special counsel's office learned about Trump's directive for Cohen to lie to Congress through interviews with multiple witnesses from the Trump Organization and internal company emails, text messages, and a cache of other documents. Cohen then acknowledged those instructions during his interviews with that office.
Even as Trump told the public he had no business deals with Russia, sources tell BuzzFeed News that Trump and his children, Ivanka and Don Jr., received regular, detailed updates about the real estate development from Michael Cohen, whom they put in charge of the project. https://t.co/prNasoTN7E
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) January 18, 2019
Again, the BuzzFeed scoop IS NOT the first evidence we have that Trump suborned perjury. At all. If that's why you're excited about it, check out. Otherwise, read on.
— emptywheel (@emptywheel) January 18, 2019