- Lawyers representing Michael Cohen say President Donald Trump instructed Cohen to lie to Congress about the Trump Organisation’s ties to Russia during the 2016 election using “coded” language.
- The memo alleges that Trump used “coded” language to order Cohen to publicly state there was “no collusion, no Russian contacts, nothing about Russia” after January of 2016.
- Cohen told Congress the same when he testified before the House Oversight Committee in February.
- Cohen, who served as Trump’s personal lawyer and “fixer” for over a decade, was sentenced to a three-year prison term in December after pleading guilty to a range of crimes including tax and bank fraud, campaign finance violations, and lying to Congress -which he says was done at Trump’s behest.
In new documents sent to Congress, lawyers representing Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer, reiterated that Trump instructed Cohen to lie to Congress about the Trump campaign and Trump Organisation’s contacts with Russia during the 2016 election using “coded” language.
Cohen first made the allegation publicly when he testified before the House Oversight Committee in February.
Cohen told lawmakers Trump did not explicitly order him to lie to Congress, as BuzzFeed News reported in January, but that such a directive was implied.
“Mr. Trump did not directly tell me to lie to Congress,” Cohen said. “That’s not how he operates.”
“In conversations we had during the campaign, at the same time I was actively negotiating in Russia for him, he would look me in the eye and tell me there’s no business in Russia and then go out and lie to the American people by saying the same thing,” Cohen added. “In his way, he was telling me to lie.”
The new memo, partially written by Cohen’s attorney Lanny Davis, reiterates that Trump used “coded” language to encourage Cohen to falsely state in 2017 congressional testimony that there were no contacts between the Trump Organisation and campaign and people linked to the Russian government anytime after January 31, 2016.
The memo alleges that Trump used this language to order Cohen to publicly state there was “no collusion, no Russian contacts, nothing about Russia” during the 2016 election.
According to Cohen’s testimony and Mueller’s December sentencing memo for Cohen, the Trump Organisation – Trump’s signature real estate company – pursued talks to build a Trump Tower in Moscow well into the summer of 2016, after Trump became the presumptive Republican presidential nominee.
Davis’ memo to Congress also said Trump directed Cohen to lie about a June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower, in which members of the campaign including Donald Trump Jr. and former campaign chair Paul Manafort met with Russian lobbyists promising them “dirt” on Hillary Clinton, which they did not ultimately provide.
In another letter Davis sent to Congress, he wrote that Cohen has also recently discovered an old drive with 14 million files, many of which he says have “significant value to the various congressional oversight and investigation committees.”
The letter, first obtained by CNN, says that Cohen “needs time, resources, and assistance” to discern which of the 14 million files will be pertinent to ongoing investigations into the Trump orbit and the Trump campaign’s contacts with Russia.
Cohen’s new efforts to provide additional incriminating information comes after Attorney General William Barr announced last week that he plans to make Mueller’s final report in the Russia investigation available to Congress and the public by mid-April or sooner.
Barr’s four-page review of Mueller’s report said prosecutors did not find sufficient evidence to bring a conspiracy charge against Trump or anyone associated with his campaign for improperly coordinating with Russia to influence the election.
Cohen, who served as Trump’s personal lawyer and “fixer” for over a decade, was sentenced to a three-year prison term in December after pleading guilty to eight counts of tax fraud, bank fraud, and campaign finance violations in the Southern District of New York, and pleading guilty to one count lying to Congress as part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.
He is set to begin his prison sentence on May 6, and some legal experts suggested the memo appeared to be part of an effort by Cohen’s lawyers to delay the start of his sentence by cooperating more with congressional investigators.
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