Administration

Giuliani calls latest Cohen allegations 'categorically false'

President Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani on Friday slammed a report that the president directed his former lawyer Michael Cohen to lie to Congress about plans to build a Trump Tower in Moscow during the 2016 presidential campaign, calling the report "categorically false." 

"Any suggestion - from any source - that the President counseled Michael Cohen to lie is categorically false. Michael Cohen is a convicted criminal and a liar," Giuliani said in a statement Friday.

"Today's claims are just more made-up lies born of Michael Cohen's malice and desperation, in an effort to reduce his sentence." 

Giuliani's comments came one day after BuzzFeed News published a report late Thursday, citing two federal investigators who claimed that Cohen told special counsel Robert Mueller 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.

Investigators reportedly told the outlet that Trump backed a plan by Cohen to visit Russia and meet with President Vladimir Putin prior to the 2016 election in order to begin negotiations on the project's construction. 

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders echoed Giuliani, saying Friday the Buzzfeed report was "categorically false."

Trump took aim at Cohen on Friday, accusing his former lawyer and fixer of "lying to reduce his jail time."

The story sparked backlash on the left, with dozens of Democrats responding in anger following the report.

"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 Schiff (D-Calif.) wrote in a tweet Thursday night. "We will do what's necessary to find out if it's true."

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) called on Friday for Cohen to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee, while others suggested that Trump could be subject to impeachment.

Cohen, who has cooperated with Mueller's probe into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Moscow, was sentenced in December to three years in prison on a string of charges, including lying during congressional testimony. 

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

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

Outbrain