JANUARY 18, 2019
President Trump on Friday again accused his former personal attorney Michael Cohen of lying to reduce his prison time, after BuzzFeed News reported that federal investigators have evidence he directed Cohen to lie to Congress about plans to build a Trump property in Moscow.
Trump, after quoting a Fox News reporter noting that Cohen had been convicted on perjury and fraud charges, tweeted that Cohen is “lying to reduce his jail time.”
Trump also suggested Cohen’s father-in-law be “watched,” echoing previous comments he made to Fox News’ Jeanine Pirro that Cohen “should give information maybe on his father-in-law, because that’s the one that people want to look at.”
BuzzFeed, citing two federal law enforcement officials, reported late Thursday that Special Counsel Robert Mueller has witness testimony, internal Trump Organization emails, and other evidence suggesting Trump directed Cohen to lie to Congress about the Trump Moscow plans. Cohen has also reportedly testified to the special counsel that Trump told him to lie.
Other news outlets have not confirmed BuzzFeed’s reporting. Trump did not directly address the allegations on Friday morning but repeated his past characterization of Cohen as a liar.
“Lying to reduce his jail time!” Trump wrote on Twitter Friday morning. “Watch father-in-law!”
Cohen pleaded guilty in November to lying to the House and Senate Intelligence Committees in the course of their investigations into Russian interference in the election and agreed to cooperate with Mueller’s ongoing probe.
Cohen admitted that discussions within the Trump Organization about plans to build a Moscow property extended into June 2016, at which point Trump was the presumptive GOP nominee. Cohen initially told Congress that the talks fizzled out that January.
Cohen also admitted to lying about plans to travel to Russia and his contacts with Russian officials in connection with the project. Cohen did so, court filings say, to “minimize links between the Moscow Project and Individual 1” – where Individual 1 is widely believed to be Trump.
Cohen has been sentenced to three years in prison for his false statements charge as well as a slew of other crimes he pleaded guilty to in a deal with prosecutors in Manhattan. Back in August, Cohen also implicated Trump in a scheme to pay off women who claimed to have had affairs with him in order to prevent the details from impacting the presidential campaign.
Cohen is scheduled to testify publicly before the House Oversight Committee on Feb. 7, before he reports to prison the following month.
Courtesy/Source: The Hill