Cohen lawyer denies CNN report on Trump prior knowledge of Trump Tower meeting
Does Michael Cohen have information that Donald Trump knew of Trump Tower meeting beforehand? “No, he does not,” replied Lanny Davis
Back in July, Kemberlee blogged about CNN’s “explosive” report that, according to “sources,” President Donald Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen claimed the then-presidential candidate knew about the June 2016 meetings at Trump Tower between Donald Trump, Jr., and Russians.
Cohen’s lawyer Lanny Davis appeared on CNN on Wednesday night and directly refuted the story.
The July Report
From CNN’s July report:
Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s former personal attorney, claims that then-candidate Trump knew in advance about the June 2016 meeting in Trump Tower in which Russians were expected to offer his campaign dirt on Hillary Clinton, sources with knowledge tell CNN. Cohen is willing to make that assertion to special counsel Robert Mueller, the sources said.
Cohen’s claim would contradict repeated denials by Trump, Donald Trump Jr., their lawyers and other administration officials who have said that the President knew nothing about the Trump Tower meeting until he was approached about it by The New York Times in July 2017.
Cohen alleges that he was present, along with several others, when Trump was informed of the Russians’ offer by Trump Jr. By Cohen’s account, Trump approved going ahead with the meeting with the Russians, according to sources.
To be clear, these sources said Cohen does not have evidence, such as audio recordings, to corroborate his claim, but he is willing to attest to his account.
Kemberlee also noted this portion in the report that contradicted the other sources:
Cohen privately testified last year to two Congressional committees investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election. A source familiar with Cohen’s House testimony said he did not testify that Trump had advance knowledge. Cohen’s claims weren’t mentioned in separate reports issued by Republicans and Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee.
Wednesday Night on CNN
Before his interview with Anderson Cooper, Davis went on The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer, who asked the lawyer about evidence that Trump knew in advance of the meeting between Trump, Jr., and the Russians.
What evidence does Michael Cohen have that the President knew in advance of the controversial 2016 Trump Tower meeting?
“At this juncture, I can only say that [Cohen] was present during a discussion with [Donald Trump Jr.] and [Trump],” Lanny Davis says pic.twitter.com/l6v501rujQ
— The Situation Room (@CNNSitRoom) August 22, 2018
A few hours later, Davis contradicts himself on Anderson Cooper’s show.
Cooper: You were just on with Wolf Blitzer and you said that Michael Cohen was present in a meeting with then-candidate Trump and his son Don, Jr., about the Trump Tower meeting. This is obviously incredibly important issue. You’ve also said that Michael Cohen testified truthfully to the Senate Intelligence Committee and according to the chair and vice chair of the committee, he told them that he had no knowledge of the meeting until he saw it in the press. How can both of those of things be true? Either he knew about the meeting or he didn’t know about the meeting.
Davis: Well, I think, um, the reporting of this 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.
Cooper: So can you say now whether in fact Michael Cohen has information that President Trump was aware either before the Trump Tower meeting that Don Jr. was part of with Russian attorney claiming to be a part of the Kremlin with dirt on Hillary Clinton, either that Michael Cohen has information that the president knew about it in advance or knew about it immediately after?
Davis: Senator Burr and Senator Warner read the answer to the question about his testimony which is that he said he was not aware ahead of time and did not hear anything to the contrary and that was the testimony before the Senate as well as the House intelligence committees and he said that the testimony was accurate.
Cooper: So Michael Cohen does not have information that President Trump knew about the Trump Tower meeting with the Russians beforehand or even after?
Davis: No he does not.
So which is it, Davis?
The incident came up because only two days ago, Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr and top Democrat Mark Warner released a statement that the committee “re-engaged” Cohen for its investigation:
In their statement, Burr and Warner said Cohen told them he was not aware of any meeting prior to the press reports, and that once the new reports came out about Cohen saying Trump knew of the meeting before it happened, the committee asked Cohen’s legal team whether Cohen stood by his testimony before the committee.
They say his team responded that Cohen did stand by his previous testimony that he did not know of the meeting in advance. The two senators did not say what if anything Cohen said about Trump having advance knowledge of the meeting.
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Whenever I hear ‘Fred said that Bob said…’ I always go to Bob to confirm it. CNN seems to be perfectly happy with repeating any claims about ‘Bob said’ without running it by Bob ever, as long as it matches their narrative.
Still, it seems odd that the media is spending so much time on a fifteen-minute meeting set up by a Clinton-funded oppo research team with Russian ties who was determined to wreck the Trump campaign. There’s an awful lot of fingers in that mess that point to Russian involvement with HRC and very few if any that point to Trump.
Our government has gotten to the point of Highland novel where it’s so corrupt that it accidentally protect itself.
Lanny is a con artist. He got a little hyperbolic so that they would invite him on TV talk shows. Now that he’s on the shows, not so much.
Anyone seen Muh Principles? Bars aren’t open yet.
If Cohen’s plan is to be as unreliable a witness as possible, it’s working.
Lanny Davis is attemtoing to fool people about even more.
There’s the audio tape
First it was not a question of paying by cash or by check, but of paying from an existing checking account that had or could easily get funds in it. With his own money – which in real estate terminology means cash) or of financing it – that is borrowing the money.
Second, it was not a discussion of paying Karen McDougal, but of buying out the contract Karen McDougal had signed with the National Enquirer – reimbursing it, in other words.
Third, the argument made by Michael Cohen to Donald Trump’s for doing that, had nothing to do with the upcoming election. They are talking about a time period well after the election!
Michael Cohen says that the National Enquirer could change its policy or David [Pecker] could be hit by a truck [by the way that should be a bus – the cliche is bus. It’s supposed to be a bus, not a truck! ] Now they are not talking about the possibility of the National Enquirer
changing its position and attitude toward Donald Trump in the next few days. It’s Trump’s long term reputation in general.
Can anyone seriously argue they were thinking of the 2020 campaign or some other possible campaigns??
So, this had nothing very much to do with an election.
Fourth, the part of the recording that was released is chopped off (I think undoubtedly dishonestly) before they go into more detail that could reveal Trump’s thinking or something about the background. But we know the recording is at a point in time when Karen McDougal has been paid off (and she had to misled about becoming a columnist for the National Enquirer etc to agree to that) but Trump hasn’t yet
agreed to pay back the National Enquirer.
Fifth, Trump never paid anything back to the National Enquirer. It could be because the National Enquirer’s parent company consulted other lawyers, who advised that if they sold the rights to Karen McDougal’s story to Donald Trump, that could make what they had done into an illegal uncollaterized loan. It would remove their defense of
journalistic motive. Better to risk it being categorized as an illegal corporate campaign contribution. If they had no contact with Donald Trump it would be, at worst, an independent political expenditure. If Donald Trump paid them for the story, it would be hard to deny co-ordination and a political motive. So the best advice to them might
have been to just eat the cost.
I wonder if the National Enquirer was used to being reimbursed by celebrities when they caught and killed a story the celebrity did not want to get out, and if so, whether we’ll find that out.
That’s count 7. As for count 8, the $130,000 that went to Stephanie
Clifford aka Stormy Daniels , it was so irregular that it boggles the
Would Donald Trump would have expected his lawyer to go into deep
personal debt to pay off “Stormy Daniels ?” What hold or what what
opportunity would he offer to give to Michael Cohen to induce him to
And what would be the reason? To hide the payment? There was no reason
to do that. It came so late in the campaign it would not have been
reported before the election anyway. And in any case it could have
been disguised as legal fees. This is what the Hillary Clinton
campaign and the Democratic National Committee did when they paid
Fusion GPS. (they are still trying to fool people into thinking that
anybody else previously hired Christopher Steele to communicate with
Russian officials to find out the true reason Putin was so much in
favor of Trump.
The Washington Free Beacon had hired Fusion GPS for something much
simpler: a public records search, and Steele was hired by the
Democrats while The Washington Free Beacon was still paying Fusion GPS
for things that did not involve Steele. The DNC did not “take over”
any investigation. They were two totally separate investigations)
So what do we say? Donald Trump did things this way because he was not
as experienced at coverups as was Hillary Clinton, and that’s why he’s
in trouble? Are only the very most venal and corrupt politicians to be
elected, and in this field maybe Donald Trump was still only an
There is some question as to whether or not what the Clinton campaign
and the DNC did in accounting for the Fusion GPS payments in a way
(running it through a law firm) so as to avoid all disclosure was
truly legal – but one thing is there was no avenue of investigation
likely whereby the truth would be disclosed.
It only came out because the Republicans had control of Congress and
the Steele dossier became a big issue.
>> Q Mr. President, did you know about the $130,000 payment to Stormy
THE PRESIDENT: No. No. What else?
Trump later said he meant he didn’t know about the payment at the
time was made.
Q Then why did Michael Cohen make those if there was no truth to
THE PRESIDENT: Well, you’ll have to ask Michael Cohen. Michael is my
attorney. And you’ll have to ask Michael
Q Do you know where he got the money to make that payment?
THE PRESIDENT: No, I don’t know. No.
* Nothing that Trump said in that exchange was true
What? Did Trump know where and how Michael Cohen borrowed the money??
Why should he have? Cohen had to scramble to raise the money! If
Donald Trump had known wouldn’t he have made it easy for Michael
Lying about whether the President knew about Trump Jr’s meeting at Trump Tower? Isn’t that the whole charge behind Mueller’s attempt to indict Trump Jr. for lying to Congress?
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