President Trump directed Michael Cohen, his longtime personal lawyer and fixer, to lie to Congress about the Moscow Trump Tower project, two federal law enforcement officials with knowledge of the matter told BuzzFeed News.
The officials said Cohen, who was in charge of the project, also came up with a plan to get Trump to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin so he could get negotiations into high gear, with Trump telling him, "Make it happen." While campaigning, Trump said he had no business dealings with Russia, but in reality, he had at least 10 in-person meetings with Cohen about the deal, BuzzFeed News reports, and Cohen also regularly updated Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump about the development. The project could have netted Trump $300 million.
In November, Cohen pleaded guilty to lying about the deal in testimony to the Senate and House intelligence committees. Special Counsel Robert Mueller's office learned that Cohen lied through interviews with witnesses from the Trump Organization and internal company emails and documents, the officials told BuzzFeed News, and Cohen told Mueller that after the election, Trump instructed him to lie about when negotiations ended in order to mask his involvement.