Michael Cohen has resumed tweeting following the FBI raiding his office, home, and hotel room on Monday.
On Saturday, Trump’s longtime personal attorney took to Twitter to deny a bombshell report that he “secretly made a late-summer trip to Prague during the 2016 presidential campaign” — a development that, if true, would corroborate a key claim in former British spy Christopher Steele’s dossier detailing the Trump campaign’s coordination with Russia during the 2016 presidential election.
“Bad reporting, bad information and bad story by same reporter Peter Stone @McClatchyDC,” Cohen, Donald Trump’s longtime personal attorney, tweeted. “No matter how many times or ways they write it, I have never been to Prague. I was in LA with my son. Proven!”
Bad reporting, bad information and bad story by same reporter Peter Stone @McClatchyDC. No matter how many times or ways they write it, I have never been to Prague. I was in LA with my son. Proven! https://t.co/ra7nwjUA0X
— Michael Cohen (@MichaelCohen212) April 14, 2018
But Cohen has presented no evidence that he was in Los Angeles at the time in question, and his claim that he’s “never been to Prague” directly contradicts his previous public statements.
During a January 2017 interview with the Wall Street Journal, Cohen was asked about the Steele dossier’s claim that his work for Trump included traveling to Prague in August or September 2016 to meet with Russian officials and Eastern European hackers who were coordinating with the Trump campaign in an effort to discredit Hillary Clinton. Cohen merely denied that he had traveled to Prague recently.
Mr. Cohen told The Wall Street Journal he hadn’t been to Prague since 2001, but on Twitter Tuesday night he said he had never been there.
He declined to answer further questions on Wednesday.
The tweet referred to in the Journal’s report is one Cohen posted of a photo of the front of an American passport — an image that obviously doesn’t constitute evidence of anything at all, much less the dossier’s claims being false.
— Michael Cohen (@MichaelCohen212) January 11, 2017
Even if Cohen were to flip through his passport, it’s possible that inside of it wouldn’t contain any indication that he traveled to Prague. Sources who spoke to McClatchy told the publication that “investigators have traced evidence that Cohen entered the Czech Republic through Germany.” Cohen would not have needed a passport to travel in between the two countries.
Beyond Cohen’s inconsistent statements about his travels to Prague, there are other reasons to be skeptical about his denial of the McClatchy report.
Cohen’s explanation for a $130,000 hush payment he made just before the 2016 election to Stormy Daniels, an adult film actress who claims to have had an affair with Trump, is that he made the payment by himself, without informing Trump and using exclusively his own personal funds.
If that story sounds far-fetched to even a casual observer, the FBI appears to agree: the agency’s raid on Cohen was carried out in part to seize documents related to the Daniels payment. If that payment were meant to benefit Trump’s campaign, it would constitute felony election fraud.
More broadly, people in Trump’s orbit have repeatedly been caught making false claims about the Trump campaign’s contacts with Russians.