Michael Cohen says Donald Trump knew all about plans to build a skyscraper in Moscow
Fallout from last week’s revelation that Michael Cohen is extensively cooperating with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation continued into this weekend, after attorneys for Donald Trump’s former lawyer filed a sentencing motion revealing that Trump knew about communications between Cohen and the Kremlin.
Cohen’s lawyers disclosed the latest bombshell as part of a court filing submitted late Friday. He is seeking leniency for the guilty pleas he entered as part of a deal with the special counsel’s office, and his lawyers presented the information as evidence of Cohen’s cooperation.
The correspondence with Kremlin officials stems from a 2016 plan to construct a multi-million dollar skyscraper in Moscow. The project has been the subject of intense scrutiny by Mueller’s investigators, in large part because of the timing. For months, Trump and his allies insisted that the plans never materialized beyond the idea phase, and were scrapped entirely in January of 2016, well before Trump secured the nomination. But last week, Cohen disclosed that the timeline of the Moscow project in fact stretched into June of 2016, during the height of the general election.
After months of denying any knowledge, let alone involvement, in the Moscow project — otherwise known as lying — Trump this week took to Twitter to admit that he was, in fact, “lightly” aware of the project, which he called “very legal and very cool.”
According to the filing by Cohen’s lawyer, even Trump’s latest admission was a lie.
“Michael had a lengthy substantive conversation with the personal assistant to a Kremlin official following his outreach in January 2016, engaged in additional communications concerning the project as late as June 2016, and kept Client-1 apprised of these communications,” reads the memorandum filed in court on Friday. Client-1 is Donald Trump.
Not only was Donald Trump personally made aware of the Moscow project, but Cohen alleges he was in constant communication with Trump’s lawyers and White House staff in 2017 for the purposes of constructing a false narrative to be delivered under oath to Congress. Cohen pleaded guilty to lying before Congress last week.
Friday’s revelation is likely just the latest in what could be a cascading series of developments stemming from Cohen’s cooperation with Mueller’s team of investigators.
ABC News reported last week that Cohen met with the special counsel’s office for roughly 70 hours in recent months, and Cohen’s own lawyers say their client has cooperated extensively with Mueller’s team and will continue to do so.