- President Donald Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen told lawmakers that Trump’s defence lawyer Jay Sekulow instructed him to lie to Congress, The Washington Post reported on Monday.
- Michael Cohen revealed the information to the House Intelligence Committee when he testified before the panel in a closed-door session earlier this year.
- The news comes after reports last week that the committee is investigating whether lawyers tied to Trump and his family helped craft Cohen’s false testimony in 2017.
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President Donald Trump’s former lawyer and longtime fixer told lawmakers that Trump’s defence lawyer Jay Sekulow instructed him to lie to Congress, The Washington Post reported Monday afternoon.
Michael Cohen gave the testimony to the House Intelligence Committee in a closed-door session earlier this year.
“We’re trying to find out whether anyone participated in the false testimony that Cohen gave to this committee,” House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff told The Post in a statement.
The news comes after reports last week that the committee is investigating whether lawyers tied to Trump and his family helped craft Cohen’s false testimony to the panel in 2017.
Cohen’s testimony centered around the Trump Organisation’s efforts to build a Trump Tower in Moscow during the 2016 election.
In August 2017, Cohen falsely told Congress that the Trump Organisation scrapped the Moscow project by January 2016, when in fact negotiations for the proposal continued through June of that year. He also testified that he had never discussed travelling to Russia with Trump to push for the Trump Tower Moscow deal, and he downplayed Trump’s role in and knowledge of the negotiations.
This year, according to The Post, Cohen told the committee that Sekulow had instructed him to lie about when the Trump Organisation ended negotiations for the project.
In 2018, as part of the special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, Cohen pleaded guilty to lying to Congress about the timeline of the proposal and the level of involvement in the project by the Trump family.
He also pleaded guilty to several counts of bank fraud, tax evasion, and campaign-finance violations as part of a separate investigation by the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York.
Cohen is serving a three-year prison sentence.
Cohen testified in detail to the House Oversight Committee in February about the Trump Tower Moscow proposal, and the lies he claimed to have told on Trump’s behalf. Among other things, Cohen told the panel Trump’s lawyers dangled a potential presidential pardon to secure his loyalty.
“Cohen’s alleged statements are more of the same from him and confirm the observations of prosecutors in the Southern District of New York that Cohen’s ‘instinct to blame others is strong,'” Sekulow’s lawyers Jane Serene Raskin and Patrick Strawbridge said in a statement to The Post.
“That this or any Committee would rely on the word of Michael Cohen for any purpose – much less to try and pierce the attorney-client privilege and discover confidential communications of four respected lawyers – defies logic, well-established law and common sense,” the statement added.
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