President Donald Trump personally instructed his longtime lawyer Michael Cohen to lie to Congress about talks to build a Trump Tower in Moscow after the 2016 election—and investigators have internal emails, text messages, and interviews with Trump Organization witnesses to back up the claim, according to BuzzFeed News.
While Cohen already acknowledged lying to Congress in late November—when he pleaded guilty to giving false testimony to congressional investigators about how long negotiations on the Trump Tower went on and suggested he’d done so to protect Trump—Trump and his attorney, Rudy Giuliani, were quick to dismiss the claims at the time as nothing more than the ramblings of a “liar.”
Yet two federal law enforcement officials cited by BuzzFeed late Thursday now say Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigators had gathered evidence of Trump directing Cohen to lie before the president’s longtime fixer even admitted to the alleged scheme.
According to the report, investigators first learned about Trump’s alleged directive for Cohen to lie from interviews with multiple Trump Organization witnesses, internal company emails, text messages, and other documents.
Cohen is said to have then confirmed investigators’ findings, telling them that Trump approached him after the election and personally instructed him to lie and say Trump Tower negotiations had ended months earlier than they actually had—a move that Mueller alleged in earlier court filings was aimed at “limiting the ongoing Russia investigations.”
“Make it happen,” Trump was quoted as telling Cohen by sources who spoke to BuzzFeed.
and from The Intercept:
BuzzFeed News dropped one of the biggest bombshells of the Trump presidency: “President Donald Trump directed his longtime attorney Michael Cohen to lie to Congress about negotiations to build a Trump Tower in Moscow, according to two federal law enforcement officials involved in an investigation of the matter.”
Let’s be clear: This is obstruction of justice, plain and simple. If this report from BuzzFeed News is correct, the president has committed a crime — obstruction of justice is prohibited by a number of federal criminal laws, including obstruction of judicial proceedings (18 U.S.C. 1503) and witness tampering (18 U.S.C. 1512) — and should therefore be impeached and indicted.
Trump’s lawyers have always claimed that the president “cannot obstruct justice because he is the chief law enforcement officer” under the Constitution. Again, let’s be clear: This is ahistorical nonsense; it is Trumpian dishonesty and deflection of the most brazen sort.
The president “cannot obstruct justice”?
Tell that to Richard Nixon. The very first article of impeachment adopted by the House Judiciary Committee in July 1974 stated that Nixon had “prevented, obstructed, and impeded the administration of justice,” and in the wake of the Watergate break-in, had “engaged personally and through his close subordinates and agents, in a course of conduct or plan designed to delay, impede, and obstruct the investigation of such illegal entry; to cover up, conceal and protect those responsible; and to conc
read more at Daily Beast
and at BuzzFeed
and The Intercept