Report: Trump directed Cohen to lie to Congress about Moscow tower plans

President TrumpDonald John TrumpDavid Axelrod after Ginsburg cancer treatment: Supreme Court vacancy could 'tear this country apart' EU says it will 'respond in kind' if US slaps tariffs on France Ginsburg again leaves Supreme Court with an uncertain future MORE directed his former longtime lawyer Michael Cohen to lie to Congress about the effort to build a Trump Tower in Moscow during the 2016 presidential campaign, federal investigators tell BuzzFeed News in an explosive new report.

The outlet cited two federal law enforcement officials involved in an investigation in the matter in its story, which immediately led to calls from Democrats to investigate the matter.


"The allegation that the President of the United States may have suborned perjury before our committee in an effort to curtail the investigation and cover up his business dealings with Russia is among the most serious to date," House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffHillicon Valley: YouTube disables 200+ accounts over Hong Kong misinformation | Lawmakers sound alarm over Chinese influence efforts | DHS cyber agency details priorities | State AGs get tough on robocalls | DOJ busts online scammers Nadler asks other House chairs to provide records that would help panel in making impeachment decision YouTube disables over 200 accounts amid protests in Hong Kong MORE (D-Calif.) wrote in a tweet Thursday night. "We will do what’s necessary to find out if it’s true."

Schiff was just one of dozens of Democrats who reacted with anger to the report, which was published at a time of extraordinary tensions between Trump and House Democrats related to the partial government shutdown and other issues. 

Cohen is scheduled to testify before the House Oversight and Reform Committee on Feb. 7.

BuzzFeed also reported that Trump backed a plan by Cohen to visit Russia in the months leading up to the presidential election to launch negotiations surrounding the construction effort and to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“Make it happen,” Trump allegedly told Cohen around the time.

The two sources to BuzzFeed say Cohen told special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerMueller report fades from political conversation Trump calls for probe of Obama book deal Democrats express private disappointment with Mueller testimony MORE that Trump personally directed him to lie after his election about the timing of when the negotiations involving the project ended in an effort to obscure the president’s involvement. 

Other news outlets did not immediately confirm the BuzzFeed report.

Cohen first admitted to lying to Congress about Trump’s Moscow property plans, including plans he made about traveling to Russia and how long the property plans were discussed within the Trump Organization, in November.

Cohen made the misstatements when testifying before two congressional intelligence committees the year before.

Mueller in court filings noted that the lawyer’s false claim about the project ending in January 2016 was an effort to "minimize links between the Moscow Project and Individual 1 in hopes of limiting the ongoing Russia investigations.”

Individual 1 is widely believed to be Trump.

Lanny Davis, an adviser to Cohen, said his client would decline to comment in a statement. 

“Out of respect for Mr. Mueller’s and the Office of Special Counsel’s investigation, Mr. Cohen declined to respond to the questions asked by the reporters and so do I,” he said.