Donald Trump is firing back after reports surfaced that the president directed his former attorney, Michael Cohen, to lie to Congress. Trump tweeted Friday morning that he believes Cohen is lying to reduce his jail time, and further suggested people “watch father-in-law.”
BuzzFeed published an explosive article late Thursday, one claiming that the president told his former attorney to lie to Congress about negotiations over the construction of a Trump Tower in Moscow. The story also claims that — despite telling the public that he has no business dealing with Russia — Cohen reportedly set up a plan for Trump to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss tower negotiations, an idea that Trump purportedly supported.
“Make it happen,” Trump allegedly said.
BuzzFeed claims that Trump asked Cohen to lie to “obscure” his involvement in the negotiations, citing multiple anonymous sources, text messages, witnesses within the Trump Organization, and internal company emails.
Trump took to Twitter to dispute the claim, citing a statement from Kevin Corke of Fox News.
“Kevin Corke, @FoxNews ‘Don’t forget, Michael Cohen has already been convicted of perjury and fraud, and as recently as this week, the Wall Street Journal has suggested that he may have stolen tens of thousands of dollars….’ Lying to reduce his jail time! Watch father-in-law!” he wrote.
Kevin Corke, @FoxNews “Don’t forget, Michael Cohen has already been convicted of perjury and fraud, and as recently as this week, the Wall Street Journal has suggested that he may have stolen tens of thousands of dollars....” Lying to reduce his jail time! Watch father-in-law!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 18, 2019
“We have seen documents. We have been briefed on documents. We are very confident in our reporting," BuzzFeed News reporter Jason Leopold, who co-wrote bombshell new report, says. pic.twitter.com/5RXOx8rvo0— MSNBC (@MSNBC) January 18, 2019
Trump has suggested that he has damaging information about Cohen’s father-in-law before, though he has declined to provide any details. In an interview, Trump said last week that he “should give information maybe on his father-in-law, because that’s the one that people want to look at.”
Trump’s team has echoed the president’s words. His current lawyer, former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, suggested that Cohen was lying.
“If you believe Cohen I can get you a great deal on the Brooklyn Bridge,” he said.
Just in, Rudy Giuliani’s response to Buzzfeed story: “If you believe Cohen I can get you a great deal on the Brooklyn Bridge.”— Philip Rucker (@PhilipRucker) January 18, 2019
White House spokesperson Hogan Gidley said that he was “not going to give any credence” to Cohen because he is a “convicted liar.”
Cohen was convicted in November after he pleaded guilty to charges of lying to Congress and of making campaign finance violations. Cohen has also claimed that Trump directed him to commit campaign finance violations by arranging payoffs to women who claim to have had affairs with Trump before he ran for president.
The news comes on the heels of a Wall Street Journal report, one which claims that Cohen was directed to rig online polls at the direction of Donald Trump in order to make his boss look better before the presidential campaign.