Michael Cohen’s guilty plea Thursday in a Manhattan courthouse not only revealed that he lied to Congress about his work on a Trump Tower project in Moscow. The plea documents also undercut what President Trump himself has claimed about his business dealings with Russia, particularly during the campaign.
Cohen in the court documents admitted that discussions about about Moscow project continued within the Trump Organization later than January 2016, which is when the former Trump fixer told Congress work on the project ended.
“COHEN discussed the status and progress of the Moscow Project with Individual 1 on more than the three occasions COHEN claimed to the Committee, and he briefed family members of Individual 1 within the Company about the project,” the documents said, with “Individual 1” being a reference to Trump.
This contradicts what Trump has said publicly about his business dealings with Russia, which he claimed during the campaign were nonexistent.
For the record, I have ZERO investments in Russia.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 26, 2016
He also said at a press conference the next day, “I have nothing to do with Russia.”
In fact, Cohen was working on the Moscow Project as late as June 2016, according to the court documents, and even asked Trump “about the possibility” of traveling to Russia for business reasons. Cohen also asked “senior campaign official about potential business travel to Russia.” Cohen, according to the documents also expressed the possibility that Trump would travel to Russia for the project after he became the GOP nominee that summer.
In early 2017, Trump said “I have no deals that could happen in Russia”, claiming that “we’ve stayed away.”
A few months later, he acknowledged that he had dealings in Russia “over the years,” specifically referring to the 2013 Miss Universe and his sale of a home to a wealthy Russian businessman.
“But other than that, I have nothing to do with Russia,” he said.