Michael Cohen, not Donald Tump, came up with false date for Moscow hotel talks

March 7, 2019

Lanny Davis said Wednesday that it was his client, Michael Cohen, who authored the false January date for ending hotel talks with Moscow, not the president’s lawyers as he testified last week.

Mr. Davis’ clarification is a critical issue of how Mr. Cohen’s House and Senate testimony in 2017 came up with the January 2016 date. He has pleaded guilty to lying to Congress because the actual end date was June 2016.

It would seem to clear President Trump of news media and Democrats charges that he encouraged perjury. BuzzFeed reported Mr. Trump personally directed Mr. Cohen to lie for which there is no public evidence.

In his Feb 27 testimony, Mr. Cohen said that President Trump’s attorney, Jay Sekulow, edited his prepared statement in 2017 as part of a legal defense sharing agreement

“You need to know that Mr. Trump’s personal lawyers reviewed, and edited, my statement to Congress about the timing of the Moscow Tower negotiations before I gave it,” Mr. Cohen told the House Oversight Committee last month.

That statement now appears to be false based on his own attorney.

CNN posted a story last night that said:

“Lanny Davis, Cohen’s attorney, told CNN that Cohen himself authored the false line in his 2017 testimony to Congress about the Trump Tower Moscow project timeline.

“Cohen wrote the initial draft of the testimony himself and then his attorney Stephen Ryan edited it, sharing it with other attorneys who were part of the joint defense agreement, to review for accuracy and potential privilege issues and those attorneys provided some suggested changes, a source familiar with the drafting of Cohen’s testimony said. Cohen and his attorney approved all changes, according to the source.

The source said the claim that the Trump Tower Moscow deal was over in January was in the draft from Cohen’s initial writing and remained. That timeline was consistent with documents that had been seen by the attorneys.”

After Mr. Cohen’s Feb. 27 testimony, Mr. Sekulow strongly denied he made the date change.

Mr. Cohen testified that Mr. Trump never ordered him to lie when they met and just repeated his talking points on no-Russia-collusion.

He said, “He wanted me to cooperate, he also wanted just to ensure by making the statement, and I said in my testimony, there is no Russia, there is no collusion, there is no--there was no deal, he goes, ‘It’s all a witch hunt and its,’ he goes. ’This--this stuff has to end.″

The Daily Caller reported the Davis clarification caused CNN to rewrite a previous story version.

Mr. Cohen also appears to have misled the House committee when he said he was approached about a pardon from the Trump team. Mr. Davis says it was Mr. Cohen who approached them.

Mr. Cohen testified Wednesday behind closed doors before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. He also provided a paper trail of how his 2017 testimony was crafted. The papers showed the January date was in the first draft.

A source said, “The documents actually show that Cohen himself had written in the original draft of his testimony that the Moscow Trump Tower negotiations ended in January, and the lawyers did not edit that date.”

The source said that CNN botched the story based on leaks from committee Democrats.

CNN at first said the document trail supported Mr. Cohen’s Feb. 27 testimony that Trump lawyers edited the draft to include the January date.

CNN also wrongly reported last year that, based on a Democratic leak, that Donald Trump Jr. received Wikileak documents before they were released to the public. The Wikileaks email actually came after the release.