President Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen has been caught in a lie made in a statement to the House Intelligence Committee according to new documents unearthed by prosecutors and congressional investigators, Yahoo! News is reporting.
Cohen told the committee that he worked with Trump’s business partner, the Russian-born Felix Sater, on plans to build a luxury hotel, office, and apartment complex called Trump World Tower Moscow, but claimed that the project was abandoned in the latter part of January 2016 after it was determined that the “proposal was not feasible for a variety of business reasons and should not be pursued further.”
Unfortunately for Cohen, Sater, who had previously pleaded guilty to his involvement in a $40 million stock fraud scheme orchestrated by the Russian Mafia, has been an FBI informant since his plea deal in that case, cooperating with investigators into international money laundering schemes.
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Sater has provided copies of both his email and his texts to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team as well as to the House and Senate Intelligence Committees and the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Sater’s documentation contradicts Cohen’s account, showing that the lawyer continued to discuss aspects of the deal for the Trump organization well into May 2016 when Trump cinched the Republican nomination.
Sater has known Cohen since high school and worked with the Trump Organization on hotel projects in Florida and New York in the mid-2000s. He, like Cohen, had offices in Trump Tower and had a Trump Organization business card.
His efforts to develop a Trump property in Moscow was an attempt to make money on a real estate deal he told Yahoo! News.
“I was trying to build the tallest tower in Europe. For me, it was a business transaction,” Sater said.
“I have fully cooperated with every investigation and every committee. I have provided absolutely everything voluntarily and not under subpoena that was asked of me and will continue to willingly cooperate. All my communications show I was tenaciously trying to get a super tall tower built and nothing else.”
The communications that Sater provided show that during the second half of 2015, he began discussing a potential tower in Moscow with Cohen and said he could introduce him to Russian bankers, business people, and politicians.
Emails show that Sater claimed that he could get backing from Russian President Vladimir Putin himself and that the project could help Trump’s chances of being elected while improving America’s relations with Moscow.
“I will get Putin on this program and we will get Donald elected,” a November 2015 email from Sater states.
While Cohen claims that he grew frustrated with the inability of Sater to set up the necessary meetings and abandoned the project in January 2016, the FBI informant’s emails tell a different story.
According to Yahoo! News:
“The pair continued talking between January and May of 2016 when Sater began pressing Cohen to travel to Russia to work on the deal. Sater encouraged Cohen to go to the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum in mid-June 2016. Sater presented the event as an opportunity for Cohen to meet top Russian officials, business leaders, and bankers in one place. He obtained an invitation for Cohen, who indicated he was considering the trip, but ultimately said any travel to Russia would have to take place after the Republican convention, which took place in July 2016.”
They did not discuss the project further. In his statement to the House Intelligence Committee, Cohen said Sater “constantly” encouraged him to go to Russia and that he declined to make the trip.
According to Sater, he eventually gave up on the project in December 2016 when Trump, who had just been elected, said his company would do “no new deals” while he was in office.
While that last statement has already been superseded by the news of a new Trump resort development in Indonesia financed with money from the Chinese government, the latest lie that Cohen has been caught attempting to pass off may have more consequences than the his lies to the media, since it was a deliberate falsehood in a congressional inquiry.
Stay tuned to see if this latest revelation results in any lasting consequences for Cohen or the Special Counsel’s Trump-Russia collusion investigation.
Follow Vinnie Longobardo on Twitter.