DONALD Trump ordered his lawyer Michael Cohen to lie to Congress about the President’s involvement in negotiations to build a Trump Tower in Moscow, according to a bombshell report.
Mr Trump and his oldest children Ivanka and Donald Jr received regular updates about the proposed development – even as Trump denied having any business in Russia, according to Buzzfeed.
President Trump with Michael Cohen during the campaign. A report says Cohen was ordered by the President to lie about his involvement in a proposed plan to build a tower in Moscow[/caption]
Its report alleges that Trump also wanted to visit Russia during his 2016 Presidential campaign to meet with Vladimir Putin personally.
Trump wanted to kick-start negotiations on the luxury sky-scraper – which he hoped would bring in $300million in profits (£231m), the site alleges.
Trump is said to have told Cohen about the proposed face-to-face with Putin, ordering him to “Make it happen”, according to two unnamed law enforcement officials.
The sources claimed the then-Presidential candidate held at least 10 meetings with Cohen to discuss the Moscow tower plan during his campaign.
Cohen pleaded guilty in November to lying to Congress about the Russian real estate project he pursued on Trump’s behalf.
He said he did so to be consistent with his boss’s “political messaging”.
TRUMP ‘ORDERED LIES WHILE PRESIDENT’
But later documents revealed Cohen claimed to have discussed the plan with Trump himself several times.
The documents came from Robert Mueller, the Special Counsel leading the investigation into alleged Russian interference and possible collusion during the Presidential campaign, later filed
Mueller also noted that Cohen’s lies about when the development ended was designed to “minimize links between the Moscow Project and Individual 1 in hopes of limiting the ongoing Russia investigations”.
“Individual 1” is Mueller’s codename for President Trump.
A MATTER OF TIMING
Now, it has been claimed that after the election Trump instructed Cohen to lie about the level of his involvement in the Moscow plan.
Cohen is alleged to have told the Special Counsel that he was ordered to suggest negotiations with the Russians over the planned tower ended months earlier than they actually did in order to hide Trump’s involvement.
It is believed to be the first known example of Trump demanding a subordinate to lie directly about his own dealings with Russia, Buzzfeed claims.
Trump consistently denied having any business interests in Russia throughout the campaign.
But it is claimed that behind the scenes he was pushing for the Moscow Tower project to go ahead in the hope of raking in a $300m windfall for his company.
Cohen was described by Mueller’s investigation as a “credible” and “useful” witness after he pleaded guilty to lying to Congress.
The White House has failed to respond to the latest allegations – while the Office of Special Counsel declined to comment to Buzzfeed.
‘I KNOW NOTHING ABOUT RUSSIA’
During his campaign, Trump repeatedly denied business interests in Russia.
He said during a debate with Hillary Clinton October 2016, just days before the election: “I know nothing about Russia. I know – I know about Russia, but I know nothing about the inner workings of Russia.
“I don’t deal there. I have no businesses there. I have no loans from Russia.”
But Trump defended the project after Cohen pleaded guilty, insisting: “There would be nothing wrong if I did do it”.
He added: “I was running my business while I was campaigning.
“There was a good chance that I wouldn’t have won, in which case I would have gone back into the business, and why should I lose lots of opportunities?”
‘FAKE’ TRUMP POLLS
Meanwhile, Mr Cohen admitted on Thursday to paying a technology company to rig Trump’s standing in two online polls before the Presidential campaign.
Michael Cohen tweeted that “what I did was at the direction of and for the sole benefit of” Trump.
He added: “I truly regret my blind loyalty to a man who doesn’t deserve it.”
Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani said in an interview with Reuters: “The President has no knowledge of the polls being rigged.”
Cohen was recently sentenced to three years in prison after pleading guilty to tax crimes, bank fraud and campaign violations.
He’s scheduled to report to prison in March.
Michael Cohen was Trump’s personal attorney. He is said to have told Special Counsel Robert Mueller that he was ordered to lie to Congress by the President himself[/caption]
Michael Cohen pleaded guilty in November to tax crimes, bank fraud and campaign violations[/caption]
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