Late Thursday night, BuzzFeed News published a bombshell report stating that, according to two federal law enforcement sources, President Donald Trump directed his former attorney Michael Cohen to lie to Congress about negotiations between the Trump Organization and Russia for a Moscow real estate project. The report says that Cohen himself told Special Counsel Robert Mueller‘s team that Trump told him to lie, and that other sources and documents indicated this as well.
In light of this report, ABC News Chief Legal Analyst and Law&Crime founder Dan Abrams discussed the implications it has for a possible obstruction of justice case against Trump. In a Friday morning discussion on ABC’s Good Morning America, Abrams basically said it’s a game changer.
“Now it’s easy. Up to this point we’ve talked about, where is the line for obstruction of justice,” said. “It’s not enough for example, some people say, to fire James Comey. What would be witness tampering? This is easy. If he told Michael Cohen to lie to Congress, no one would suggest that’s not obstruction of justice or witness tampering, and that would be a crime.”
Abrams did allow for a potential snag that an obstruction case could have, depending on the specifics of what happened.
“Assuming it’s a little grayer, assuming that it’s unclear and that maybe there’s an understanding and that there’s no directive, that makes it a lot harder to prove.” Abrams did point out that the report indicates that it probably wasn’t so gray if there were emails and discussions with other witnesses that back up what Cohen reportedly said. That other evidence would be key, Abrams pointed out.
“You want to as much as possible, investigating this, take it out of Michael Cohen’s hands and into the hands of others.”
Cohen, meanwhile, is scheduled to testify before the House of Representatives in February, and will all but certainly be asked about this. He has already pleaded guilty to lying to Congress about the Russian real estate deal, and is scheduled to begin a three-year prison term on March 6 for this and other crimes.
[Image via ABC screengrab]