Two federal law enforcement sources were cited in the report claiming that President Donald Trump directed Michael Cohen to lie to Congress. Cohen, you may recall, pleaded guilty in Special Counsel Robert Mueller‘s probe to making false statements to Congress about the Trump Tower Moscow negotiation known as the Moscow Project. Cohen admitted that he lied when he said negotiations ended in Jan. 2016, but BuzzFeed is now claiming Trump told Cohen to tell those lies. This is raising new questions about the president’s legal exposure.
Former federal prosecutor Elie Honig, now a CNN analyst, told Poppy Harlow Friday morning on New Day that if the BuzzFeed News report holds up, this is strong evidence that Trump committed multiple crimes.
“If true, this is the clearest and cleanest example we have yet of this president committing a federal crime –in fact, I say several federal crimes — while in office,” Honig said.
He went on to elaborate on what those crimes would be.
“The federal crimes that would be implicated include obstruction of justice, witness tampering, perjury, conspiracy,” he said. “All of those things would be in play if this is proven out.”
Then there was the response from Team Trump. The president’s attorney, Rudy Giuliani, has repeatedly mentioned that Cohen is a convicted liar and dismissed his credibility again on Friday.
“The big question is will this be more than a he said/he said. Rudy Giuliani is casting it as one word against another. He had a quote that if you believe Michael Cohen, I’ll sell you the Brooklyn Bridge,” Honig mentioned.
But in this former federal prosecutor’s estimation, Mueller has already indicated that he has more than Cohen’s word.
“Reading between the lines, there is quite a bit of information that backs up Michael Cohen. When Michael Cohen was sentenced Mueller said Michael Cohen provided information regarding the preparing and circulating of Cohen’s response to the congressional inquiries,” he said. “The fact that Mueller was willing to put it in print is a hint to me, an indicator that he has something more than Michael Cohen’s information, he has something to back it up.”
“I don’t believe Robert Mueller or my colleagues would put it in writing unless they had more than mMichael cCohen’s say-so to back it up,” he added.
Additionally, the BuzzFeed report said that according to their sources, Mueller’s team had information from witnesses within the Trump Organization, and documents including emails and text messages.
You can watch the CNN segment in the player above.
[Image via CNN screengrab]