Giuliani dismisses report Trump told Cohen to lie to Congress

President TrumpDonald John TrumpRosenstein expected to leave DOJ next month: reports Allies wary of Shanahan's assurances with looming presence of Trump States file lawsuit seeking to block Trump's national emergency declaration MORE's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani late on Thursday dismissed a bombshell report from BuzzFeed News that said the president directed Michael Cohen to lie to Congress about plans to build a Trump Tower in Moscow during the 2016 presidential campaign.

“If you believe Cohen I can get you a great deal on the Brooklyn Bridge,” Giuliani said, according to The Washington Post’s Philip Rucker.

 

The BuzzFeed News report published late Thursday cited two anonymous law enforcement officials who were reportedly involved in an investigation into the matter. They also told the outlet that Trump backed a plan by Cohen, his former personal attorney and fixer, to visit Russia and meet with President Vladimir Putin to begin negotiations on the project’s construction.

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Trump reportedly met with Cohen at least 10 times to discuss the tower while maintaining to the public that he had no business ties in Russia.

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

Cohen admitted in November to lying to Congress about Trump’s Moscow property plans. He made the false statements while testifying before two congressional intelligence committees in 2017.

The two sources told BuzzFeed News that Cohen also informed special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE about the pressure from the president to lie to Congress.

According to the sources, Mueller, who is leading an investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia in 2016, as well as whether the president has attempted to obstruct justice, noted that the lies were made 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.

Trump and Giuliani have repeatedly lashed out at Cohen, calling him a liar and saying that collusion with Russia did not take place.

But, on Wednesday — a day before the BuzzFeed News report — Giuliani seemed to shift gears, saying that he "never said there was no collusion" between the Trump campaign and Russia, claiming only that Trump himself was not involved in collusion.

Before the report was published on Thursday, Giuliani attempted to clarify those comments, saying that he had "no knowledge" of collusion taking place. 

Cohen was sentenced in December to three years in prison for lying to Congress and violating campaign finance laws regarding his money payments during the campaign to two women in order to prevent them from speaking about affairs they claimed to have had with Trump.