Update: 1:11 p.m. Saturday — The Office of the Special Counsel disputed the BuzzFeed report, and issued the following statement:
“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,” said Peter Carr, a spokesman for Mueller.
BuzzFeed responded by saying that it stands by its story and asked the Office of Special Counsel to clarify what in its report is inaccurate.
Report from Friday.
By Steve Neavling
President Trump told his long-time attorney and fixer Michael Cohen lie to Congress about plans to build a Trump Tower in Moscow, according to a bombshell report by BuzzFeed.
If true, Trump and his attorneys would have a hard time arguing the president didn’t attempt to obstruct justice.
But it gets worse for Trump. Special counsel Robert Mueller’s team has learned that Trump directed 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,” BuzzFeed reports, citing two federal law enforcement sources involved in the investigation of what happened during and after the 2016 presidential election.
It’s likely the most damning public finding yet against the president, who continues to insist the Mueller investigation is a “witch hunt.”
While Trump repeatedly told the public he had no business projects in Russia, he supported a plan for Cohen to visit the country during the presidential campaign and even personally meet with President Putin to get the Trump Tower moving, according to the sources.
“Make it happen,” Trump allegedly told Cohen.
According to BuzzFeed sources, Cohen received help preparing his testimony from attorneys close to the administration. Whether the attorneys knew Cohen planned to lie wasn’t not immediately clear.
After his testimony, Cohen pleaded guilty to lying to Congress.