President Trump reportedly 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.
Two federal law enforcement officials who were reportedly involved in an investigation into the matter confirmed the news in a report published by Buzzfeed News Thursday night.
The two sources also told BuzzFeed News 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.
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 2018. Cohen made the misstatements when testifying before two congressional intelligence committees the year before.
At the time, special counsel Robert Mueller reportedly 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.”
Now, both sources allege that Cohen also told Mueller that Trump personally directed him to lie after his election about the timing of when the negotiations involving the project ended in efforts to obscure the president’s involvement.
The report comes as Trump continues to lash out against Mueller over his investigation into Russian election interference and possible collusion between his campaign and Moscow. Trump has repeatedly calling the probe a “disgrace” and a “witch hunt.”