Trump hits back at Buzzfeed report he 'instructed lawyer to lie' | 2019-01-19

Trump hits back at Buzzfeed report he 'instructed lawyer to lie'


19th January, 2019 09:03:29 printer

Trump hits back at Buzzfeed report he 'instructed lawyer to lie'



US President Donald Trump has hit back over a news report that he directed his then personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, to lie to Congress.


Buzzfeed News said Mr Trump had instructed Cohen to lie about plans to build a Trump Tower in Moscow. Cohen was convicted over the case last month.


Mr Trump said the lawyer was lying about the Moscow project to "reduce his jail time".


The office of US Special Counsel Robert Mueller also disputed the report.


A spokesman for Mr Mueller - who is investigating alleged Russian interference in the US presidential election and whether Trump campaign figures were complicit - said Buzzfeed's "description of specific statements" and "characterisation of documents and testimony obtained by this office, regarding Michael Cohen's Congressional testimony are not accurate".


Democratic politicians say they will investigate Buzzfeed's allegations.


What does the report say?


Buzzfeed says its report is based on testimony from two unnamed law enforcement officials investigating the matter.


The story alleges Mr Trump received 10 personal updates from Cohen about a plan to build the Moscow tower at a time when Mr Trump denied having any business ties to Russia.


Mr Trump's daughter, Ivanka, and son, Donald Jnr, were also updated, the story alleges.


Mr Mueller has already revealed that Cohen lied about the date the Moscow Trump Tower project ended.


Cohen told Congress talks over the plan had taken place between September 2015 and January 2016 but criminal complaint documents say they lasted until June.


Cohen said the plan had been halted earlier in an attempt to "minimise links between the Moscow Project and Individual 1" during the election campaign. Individual 1 has previously been identified by Cohen as Mr Trump.


Buzzfeed says Cohen has told investigators that Mr Trump "personally instructed him to lie" about the date negotiations ended "in order to obscure Trump's involvement"


The report said Mr Mueller had other evidence, including from interviews with other Trump organisation staff and internal company emails, to corroborate Cohen's version of events.


The report also says Mr Trump allegedly encouraged Cohen to plan a trip to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin during the election campaign.


Cohen was sentenced to 36 months in December after he pleaded guilty to lying to Congress over the Trump Tower plan. He also admitted campaign finance violations and tax evasion.


In court he said his "weakness was a blind loyalty to Donald Trump" - whose "dirty deeds" he had felt compelled to cover up.