CNN broke news on Thursday that President Trump’s longtime lawyer and personal fixer, Michael Cohen, is willing to testify that Trump knew in advance about a June 2016 meeting in Trump Tower between top Trump campaign officials and Kremlin-connected Russians who promised political dirt on Hillary Clinton.
According to Cohen, Trump — who teased a major speech in which he’d divulge dirt about Hillary Clinton just two days before the Trump Tower meeting — was informed about the meeting by his son, Donald Trump Jr.
“Cohen alleges that he was present, along with several others, when Trump was informed of the Russians’ offer by Trump Jr,” CNN reports. “By Cohen’s account, Trump approved going ahead with the meeting with the Russians, according to sources.”
News of Cohen’s willingness to testify that Trump knew in advance about his campaign’s efforts to collude with Russia is obviously bad news for the president, who on Friday morning tweeted that “I did NOT know of the meeting with my son, Don jr.” Trump has repeatedly claimed he didn’t know his campaign met with Russians until the New York Times broke the news about the Trump Tower meeting 13 months after it happened.
But the latest Cohen revelation is also very bad news for Donald Trump Jr.
During his testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee last September, Trump Jr. flat-out denied informing his father of the Trump Tower meeting.
It is against the law to lie to Congress, even if you’re not under oath. And now, Donald Trump’s longtime lawyer is willing to testify that Trump Jr. did just that.
In the wake of CNN’s report, both Trump and Rudy Giuliani have tried to discredit Cohen as a liar. The only problem, however, is that not long ago — before Cohen started cooperating with prosecutors — Giuliani described Cohen as an “honest, truthful lawyer.”
Here's Rudy Giuliani on May 6, 2018, saying Michael Cohen "is an honest, honorable lawyer."
— Caroline O. (@RVAwonk) July 27, 2018
President Trump has already shown a willingness to lie about Russia-related matters. After the New York Times broke news of the Trump Tower meeting, Trump dictated a misleading statement for Trump Jr. that claimed “a program about the adoption of Russian children” was the reason his campaign met with Russians.
That statement was quickly contradicted by Don Jr.’s emails, which he voluntarily published in order to get ahead of a forthcoming New York Times report. Those emails showed the Trump Tower meeting really stemmed from the Trump campaign’s desire to obtain incriminating information about Hillary Clinton, no matter the source.
In fact, the word “adoptions” doesn’t appear a single time in the correspondence Don Jr. released.