Former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen told the House Intelligence Committee earlier this year that an attorney for Donald Trump told him to lie about how long negotiations over a Moscow real estate deal extended into the 2016 campaign. According to the Washington Post, Cohen said Jay Sekulow instructed him to claim in a written statement to Congress in 2017 that the dealmaking over Trump Tower Moscow ended in January 2016, when in fact it continued into June of that year. Specifically, Cohen testified that Sekulow said using Jan. 31, 2016 was important since the Iowa caucuses began on Feb. 1, officially kicking off the GOP primary race.
One important caveat is that it’s not immediately clear how much Sekulow actually knew about the timing of the project, since he joined Trump’s team after he was elected. (Note: Cohen told lawmakers that Sekulow did indeed know the testimony was a lie.)
House Democrats are investigating whether Sekulow or other attorneys associated with Trump, his family, and his business helped massage the false testimony that ultimately landed Cohen in jail for three years for lying to Congress.
“We’re trying to find out whether anyone participated in the false testimony that Cohen gave to this committee,” House Intelligence chair Adam Schiff told the Post.
Cohen’s follow-up testimony about the role Sekulow played in his 2017 statement to Congress is likely to be released publicly as early as Monday afternoon.
The House Intelligence panel has requested information from Sekulow and three other attorneys, all of whom were participating in a joint defense agreement: Alan Futerfas representing Don Jr., Alan Garten representing the Trump Organization, and Abbe Lowell representing Ivanka Trump. The committee is investigating whether any of the lawyers obstructed justice.
THE CHAIRMAN: And just to be perfectly clear about this, the statement about the Trump Tower negotiations ending in January that was part of your original draft was false, and Mr. Sekulow knew that it was false?
MR. COHEN: Yes, sir.