Cohen challenges Sekulow to testify about Trump Tower meetings

Michael CohenMichael Dean CohenHope Hicks defends accuracy of her congressional testimony Gaetz cleared by Florida Bar after Cohen tweet probe IRS staffer pleads guilty to giving Avenatti confidential info about Cohen MORE, a former personal attorney for President TrumpDonald John TrumpWarren unveils Native American policy plan Live-action 'Mulan' star spurs calls for boycott with support of Hong Kong police Don't let other countries unfairly tax America's most innovative companies MORE, challenged the president's current lawyer to testify before Congress about negotiations with Russians before the 2016 election about building a Trump Tower in Moscow. 

The remarks come days after the House Intelligence Committee released transcripts of private interviews with Cohen in which he testified that Trump's lawyer Jay SekulowJay Alan SekulowTrump, RNC sue to block California law requiring release of tax returns Voters sue California over tax return law targeting Trump Team Trump blasts California bill requiring candidates release tax returns to appear on ballot MORE encouraged him to lie to Congress in 2017 about the duration of the discussions.

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“Michael testified truthfully before Congressional committees when he said it was Mr. Trump’s attorney, Jay Sekulow, who suggested to Michael the false date of January 31, 2016 as the cut-off date for any Russian discussions on Moscow Trump Tower during the campaign. Mr. Sekulow made a public statement casting doubt on Michael’s veracity on this point,” Lanny Davis, Cohen’s attorney, said in a press release.

“So, on behalf of Michael, I ask Mr. Sekulow, respectfully: will you testify, as Michael did, before Congress to state your contradiction of Michael’s memory?”

Cohen, who is serving a three-year prison sentence on a slew of charges, told lawmakers on the Intelligence panel in February that Sekulow encouraged him to say the Trump Tower Moscow discussions ended in January 2016 when in fact they extended beyond the Iowa caucuses in June of that year. He also said he believed Sekulow knew the negotiations went on after January.

“To the best of my recollection, yes,” Cohen said when asked if he recalled speaking with Sekulow about the Trump Tower Moscow negotiations continuing into June 2016.

Cohen added in a March interview that he believed that Sekulow was the one who proposed January 2016 as the end date for the discussions.

The transcripts’ release came a week after it was announced that the House Intelligence Committee has been investigating if Trump’s attorneys, including Sekulow, helped obstruct its Russia probe by editing or shaping Cohen’s false testimony.

Davis also said Cohen would make himself available to Congress for further testimony.

“Michael wishes to make it clear that he continues to be available to Congress and prosecutors to tell the truth about Mr. Trump. He is willing to be interviewed at the Facility or, if permitted under appropriate supervision, in Washington, DC,” Davis said. “Michael believes his testimony and corroborating documents establish that Mr. Trump committed obstruction of justice before, during, and after the presidential campaign.” 

Sekulow’s legal team hit back at Cohen earlier this week, saying that congressional committees should not believe his testimony.

“Michael Cohen’s alleged statements are more of the same from him and confirm the observations of prosecutors in the Southern District of New York that Cohen’s ‘instinct to blame others is strong,’” Sekulow’s lawyers said in a statement. 

“That this or any Committee would rely on the word of Michael Cohen for any purpose — much less to try and pierce the attorney-client privilege and discover confidential communications of four respected lawyers — defies logic, well-established law and common sense.”

Though the Trump Tower Moscow project was never built, it has emerged as a key point of scrutiny for Democrats who noted that Trump’s associates were negotiating with Russians well into the 2016 presidential race.