House Democrats have pounced on a breaking news story of Michael Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer, and are now demanding an investigation to prove its accuracy.
BuzzFeed News broke a story which claimed President Trump instructed Cohen to lie to Congress about a real estate deal in Moscow. While the deal has been known and may have continued into the campaign season, congressional Democrats want to investigate whether the report reflects the truth. Should it be the case that Trump knowingly told Cohen to violate the law, he could be held liable.
From BuzzFeed News:
President Donald Trump directed his longtime attorney Michael Cohen to lie to Congress about negotiations to build a Trump Tower in Moscow, according to two federal law enforcement officials involved in an investigation of the matter.
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.
While the BuzzFeed News story made headlines across major news networks, it is not holding up well to scrutiny.
The BuzzFeed News report did not include any evidence to prove that Trump did instruct Cohen and the report only cited anonymous sources. Cohen previously pled guilty to lying to Congress and may be considered an untrustworthy source of the information—should he be their source. It is also worth noting that the business deal itself was not illegal and it was perfectly legal for Trump as an international real estate mogul to work on the deal. It was previously learned that, while negotiations carried for several months, no deal ever materialized.
Nevertheless, Democrats in Congress are eagerly pouncing at the opportunity to investigate someone with ties to President Trump, Associated Press reports.
The House intelligence committee chairman said he will “do what is necessary” to confirm a published report that President Donald Trump directed his personal attorney Michael Cohen to lie to Congress about negotiations over a real estate project in Moscow during the 2016 election.
Democrat Rep. Adam Schiff of California says the allegation that Trump asked Cohen to lie “to curtail the investigation and cover up his business dealings with Russia is among the most serious to date.”
The report by BuzzFeed News, citing two unnamed law enforcement officials, says that Trump directed Cohen to lie to Congress and that Cohen regularly briefed Trump on the Moscow project. The Associated Press has not independently confirmed the report.
President Trump tweeted about Cohen on Friday and contended he was probably lying for a reduced sentence.
“Lying to reduce his jail time! Watch father-in-law!” the president tweeted.
Note: The author of this article has included commentary that expresses an opinion and analysis of the facts.