Chuck Ross, DCNF
- CNN reported on July 27 that Michael Cohen is willing to tell investigators that Donald Trump authorized the infamous Trump Tower meeting with a group of Russians
- But Cohen’s lawyer now says that bombshell report got “mixed up”
- Lanny Davis says that Cohen “does not” have information that Trump had prior knowledge about the meeting
A CNN report in July that Michael Cohen has information that President Donald Trump was aware of the infamous Trump Tower meeting before it occurred got “mixed up” and was inaccurate, Cohen attorney Lanny Davis said Wednesday night.
“So Michael Cohen does not have information that President Trump knew about the Trump Tower meeting with the Russians beforehand or even after?” CNN’s Anderson Cooper asked Davis.
“No, he does not,” replied Davis, a longtime Clinton insider who started representing Cohen earlier this summer.
Davis’s bombshell statement severely undercuts a July 27 CNN report that Cohen was willing to tell special counsel Robert Mueller that he was in a meeting when Donald Trump Jr. told his father about an offer to meet with a group of Russians who wanted to provide dirt on former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
According to CNN’s anonymous sources, Trump approved the meeting, which took place on June 9, 2016. Democrats seized on the CNN report as evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian government.
The report also opened up the possibility that Trump and Trump Jr. publicly lied about the Trump Tower meeting. Trump has said publicly that he did not know about the meeting until a year after it occurred. Trump Jr. told the Senate Judiciary Committee in September 2017 that his father did not know about the meeting.
Davis said that the initial report was “mixed up” and that Cohen’s legal team was unable to correct it because of an ongoing criminal investigation into the longtime Trump fixer. Cohen pleaded guilty on Tuesday in federal court in New York to tax evasion, bank fraud and making excessive campaign finance donations by arranging hush payments to two women who claimed to have had affairs with Trump.
“Well, I think the reporting of the story got mixed up in the course of a criminal investigation. We were not the source of the story. And the question of a criminal investigation, the advice we were given, those of us dealing with the media is that we could not do anything other than stay silent,” Davis told Cooper.
Davis was asked about the Trump Tower report because of a statement issued on Tuesday by North Carolina GOP Sen. Richard Burr and Virginia Democratic Sen. Mark Warner, the leaders of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. The senators said in the statement that Cohen told the committee in October 2017 that he was not aware of the Trump Tower meeting until it was reported in July 2017. Burr and Warner said Cohen’s legal team confirmed that the testimony was accurate.
Davis dealt another major blow to the allegations of Trump campaign collusion when he said in an interview with Bloomberg News that the Steele dossier’s allegations about Cohen are “false.”
“Thirteen references to Mr. Cohen are false in the dossier, but he has never been to Prague in his life,” Davis said.
The dossier, which was funded by the Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee, alleged that Cohen visited Prague in August 2016 as part of a “clandestine” operation to collude with Kremlin insiders to influence the 2016 election. Dossier author Christopher Steele claimed that Cohen arranged payments to hackers to carry out the scheme.
“Never, ever, ever in Prague,” Davis reiterated in an interview on MSNBC later Wednesday.
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