President Donald Trump’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen will tell lawmakers this week that Trump asked him several times about a proposed skyscraper project in Moscow long after he secured the Republican presidential nomination, a person familiar with the matter told Reuters.
As Special Counsel Robert Mueller appears to be near the end of his probe into whether Russia meddled in the 2016 presidential election in collusion with Trump’s campaign, Cohen’s assertion that Trump was inquiring about the skyscraper project as late as June 2016, if true, would show Trump remained personally engaged in the venture well into his candidacy.
Cohen was set to offer lawmakers new information about Trump’s private affairs over three consecutive days of in-depth discussion with congressional committee that began on Tuesday.
Cohen did not talk to reporters as he arrived on Capitol Hill on Tuesday morning for his first meeting, a closed-door hearing with the Senate Intelligence Committee.
That session will focus mainly on what Cohen knows about Trump and associates’ dealings with Russia, as well as about Cohen’s previous lying to Congress, two congressional sources said.
Cohen was one of Trump’s closest aides and once said he would “take a bullet” for him but he turned against his former boss last year and is cooperating with prosecutors after pleading guilty to tax evasion, bank fraud and campaign finance violations.
Cohen has said Trump directed him to make hush-money payments to two women who said they had sexual relationships with Trump, in violation of campaign finance laws before the 2016 election.
Trump called Cohen a “rat” after he turned on him, and the White House again attacked Cohen’s credibility on Tuesday.
Cohen has been disbarred, according to a decision by a New York state appeals court in Manhattan released Tuesday and first reported by the New York Post. Disbarment is automatic in New York for lawyers convicted of felonies.
Michael Monico, a lawyer for Cohen, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.