06:45 GMT +317 October 2019
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    This combination photo shows President Donald Trump and attorney Michael Cohen.

    White House Denies Report Trump Told Cohen to Lie to Congress

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    The White House has fired back at a Thursday BuzzFeed News report claiming that US President Donald Trump directed his attorney, Michael Cohen, to lie to Congress about the status of the proposed Trump Tower Moscow project from before the 2016 US election, calling the claim "categorically false."

    During a Friday press conference, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said "those two words" summed up the entirety of the situation.

    During the 2016 election campaign, Trump denied having any business interests in Russia, meaning Cohen's statements would have obscured the fact that Trump had continued to pursue them for several months after the election campaign began. If Trump did, indeed, direct Cohen to lie to Congress, he could be guilty of obstruction of justice — a felony offense.

    Mueller's investigation, which aims to investigate alleged collusion between Trump's campaign and Russia, has suggested that the purpose of this lie was to "minimize links between the Moscow Project and Individual 1," who many observers assume is Trump, "in hopes of limiting the ongoing Russia investigations."

    Cohen pleaded guilty in November to lying about the the deal in testimony as well as in statements to Congress. He was sentenced last month to three years in prison.​ He has further agreed to cooperate with Mueller's investigation and his testimony is expected next month.

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    Tags:
    Trump Tower, lying to Congress, story, false accusations, White House, BuzzFeed, Michael Cohen, Moscow
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