During a Friday press conference, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said "those two words" summed up the entirety of the situation.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders says the Buzzfeed report that President Trump directed Michael Cohen to lie to Congress about a proposed Moscow project is "categorically false" https://t.co/fwhdLwgQqw pic.twitter.com/uM7BFE33WG— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) January 18, 2019BuzzFeed's report Thursday, citing "sources," claimed that Cohen told Special Counsel Robert Mueller that he was personally directed by Trump to lie about the negotiations for the tower and tell the FBI that the negotiations ended months earlier than they actually did.
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.