In court documents filed at the beginning of December, the special counsel’s office noted that Michael Cohen had definitely lied to Congress concerning the “Moscow Project,” Donald Trump’s attempt to obtain or build a skyscraper in the center of Moscow. Cohen lied about both when the project ended, and who knew about it. Robert Mueller called these lies both “deliberate” and “premeditated.” But what wasn’t in those earlier documents was that the lies were made on explicit orders from Donald Trump.
Buzzfeed is reporting that Trump was in frequent communication with Cohen during the extended effort to make a deal in Moscow. Far from being out of the loop, Cohen directly spoke with Trump about the Moscow Project at least 10 times. Trump, Donald Trump Jr, and Ivanka Trump received regular and detailed updates about the project.
Those sources have also indicated that in his testimony to the special counsel’s office, Cohen insists that when he was called before Congress, Trump ordered him to lie to Congress. Specifically, Trump instructed Cohen to say that negotiations in Moscow had ended months before they were actually put on hold some time after the Republican convention. Trump’s order to lie is supposedly supported by “interviews with multiple witnesses from the Trump Organization and internal company emails, text messages, and a cache of other documents.”
Trump directly ordering Cohen to lie to Congress about the state of the Russia project is not just obstruction of the ongoing investigation, but is also suborning perjury. Ordering subordinates to lie to Congress was also a major factor in the first article of impeachment drawn up against Richard Nixon.
And the claim concerning Cohen’s congressional testimony isn’t the only shocking information put forward. The same sources indicate that, far from being dismissive of attempts to arrange a meeting with Vladimir Putin during the presidential campaign, Trump told members of his campaign to “make it happen.”
Cohen is slated to give testimony before the House in February, but Reuters is reporting that Cohen is rethinking his appearance following threats from Donald Trump against his father-in-law.
At the same time that the special counsel’s office filed a brief recommending that Cohen is given a lighter sentence in exchange for his cooperation, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, which office filed the majority of indictments against Cohen, was much less effusive in their praise. That office indicated that Cohen’s cooperation was “limited” and that he was unwilling to discuss other issues than those directly related to his charges.
Trump has since tweeted concerning Cohen’s wife and father-in-law. Attorney Lanny Davis, who is not representing Cohen in court, but acting as a surrogate, suggested that Cohen has “genuine fear” of what Trump might do if he should testify.
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