Attorneys for Michael Cohen have given documents to Congress which accuse Donald Trump and his team of lawyers of directing Cohen to lie to Congress about when negotiations ended for a major real estate deal in Moscow.
The new information, reported today in Buzzfeed News, adds another layer to the Cohen controversy and makes it more likely that Trump may be charged with committing a crime.
According to Buzzfeed, there was a memo sent to top House Democrats setting forth the allegations, and offering proof. They now want the House committees to further investigate Trump and use the information in possibly bringing charges against him.
The document submitted to Congress states that Trump “encouraged Cohen to lie and say all Moscow Tower project contacts ended as of January 31, 2016 using ‘code’ language — telling Cohen during various conversations that there was ‘no collusion, no Russian contacts, nothing about Russia’ after the start of the campaign.’”
The memo also deals with significant issues that have been at the heart of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. As Mueller looked into coordination between the Russian government and individuals in Trump’s campaign, Cohen believes he now has something important to add. Even though Mueller’s probe is over, House Democrats will be continuing their own investigation.
Attorney General William Barr wrote a letter saying that the Mueller report did not find that the Trump campaign “conspired or coordinated with Russia.” Of course, nobody has seen the Mueller report except Barr, and he could be lying, or telling only part of the truth.
Cohen’s memo included over 100 pages of supporting documents. It says that the former Trump personal attorney will “lay bare a conspiracy to collude” with the Russian government during the campaign. Cohen also says he can provide proof of other crimes committed by the president.
Cohen’s memo seems to confirm earlier reporting from BuzzFeed News which said that Cohen had told investigators Trump had directed him to lie about the timing of real estate negotiations in Moscow.
In January, BuzzFeed News reported that Cohen had described being instructed by the president to say the project was terminated long before Trump became the frontrunner in the Republican primary.
In response to the story at that time some Democrats in Congress demanded Trump’s impeachment.
A few hours after BuzzFeed’s report, a spokesperson for Mueller’s office stated, “BuzzFeed’s description of specific statements to the Special Counsel’s Office, and characterization of documents and testimony obtained by this office, regarding Michael Cohen’s Congressional testimony are not accurate.”
Although BuzzFeed was accused of faulty reporting, they never backed down or withdrew their original article, saying the information had been confirmed by reliable sources.
The new memo from Cohen’s attorneys says that Trump “encouraged” him to lie to Congress, alleging the president suborned perjury while in office.
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