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Friday, January 18, 2019

Impeachment talk grows louder after report Trump told Cohen to lie to Congress

Calls for President Donald Trump's impeachment grew among Democrats after a report on Thursday said he directed his former lawyer Michael Cohen to lie to Congress about negotiations to build a Trump Tower in Moscow.

BuzzFeed News on Thursday evening reported that Cohen told special counsel Robert Mueller the
president personally instructed him to lie to Congressional investigators in order to minimize links between Trump and his Moscow building project, citing two federal law enforcement officials involved in an investigation of the matter. The report also alleged that Cohen was directed to give a false impression that the project had ended before it actually did.

We have not independently confirmed this report.

Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, called the allegation the “most serious to date” Thursday evening and said that his committee would look into 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,” Schiff said in a tweet. “We will do what’s necessary to find out if it’s true.”

The White House has referred inquiries to the outside legal team. Rudy Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer said in a statement to NBC News on Friday that, "If you believe Cohen I can get you a great deal on the Brooklyn Bridge."

BuzzFeed News reported that the special counsel’s office learned about Trump directing Cohen to lie through interviews with multiple witnesses from the Trump Organization. The special counsel also obtained internal company emails, text messages and other documents, the report said.

Cohen, 52, pleaded guilty in federal court in November to a single count of making false statements to Congress about the project. He admitted to making several significant lies to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence last year about Trump's Moscow project, including testimony that the project had ended in January 2016 because of "business reasons.”

Former attorney general Eric Holder said in a tweet on Friday that if the report is true, Congress should jump start impeachment proceedings.

"If true - and proof must be examined - Congress must begin impeachment proceedings and Barr must refer, at a minimum, the relevant portions of material discovered by Mueller. This is a potential inflection point," he said.


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