President Donald Trump has regularly disparaged his former attorney and fixer Michael Cohen as a liar since Cohen began cooperating with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of the Trump campaign. However, the President did have one bit of praise for Cohen’s testimony before the House Oversight and Reform Committee.
Asked about Cohen after his summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un dissolved, Trump said:
“He lied a lot, but it was very interesting because he didn’t lie about one thing, he said no collusion with the Russian hoax… I was actually impressed that he didn’t say, ‘Well, I think there was collusion for this reason or that.’ He didn’t say that. He said no collusion, and I was a little impressed by that, frankly… The most important question up there was the one on collusion, and he said he saw no collusion.”
Trump, at the exact same time, tries to slam Michael Cohen for being a liar and praise him for saying he has no proof of Russian collusion.
"He lied a lot, but it was very interesting, because he didn’t lie about one thing: He said no collusion." Via ABC pic.twitter.com/2pSB1l3bxp
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) February 28, 2019
That is, in fact, false.
Cohen’s prepared statement addresses collusion directly: “Questions have been raised about whether I know of direct evidence that Mr. Trump or his campaign colluded with Russia. I do not. I want to be clear. But, I have my suspicions,” he said.
Sometime in the summer of 2017, I read all over the media that there had been a meeting in Trump Tower in June 2016 involving Don Jr. and others from the campaign with Russians, including a representative of the Russian government, and an email setting up the meeting with the subject line, “Dirt on Hillary Clinton.” Something clicked in my mind. I remember being in the room with Mr. Trump, probably in early June 2016, when something peculiar happened. Don Jr. came into the room and walked behind his father’s desk – which in itself was unusual. People didn’t just walk behind Mr. Trump’s desk to talk to him. I recalled Don Jr. leaning over to his father and speaking in a low voice, which I could clearly hear, and saying: “The meeting is all set.” I remember Mr. Trump saying, “Ok good…let me know.”
Trump claims Michael Cohen said there was no collusion. What Cohen said was: “Questions have been raised about whether I know of direct evidence that Mr. Trump or his campaign colluded with Russia. I do not. I want to be clear. But, I have my suspicions.”
— Keith Boykin (@keithboykin) February 28, 2019
The president’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., came under fire for revealing that he met with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya during the 2016 presidential campaign. An intermediary for Veselnitskaya promised damaging information about Hillary Clinton, the Democratic opponent. Trump Jr.’s emails––”If it’s what you say I love it especially later in the summer,” he wrote––contradicted what at the time were months of denials by the Trump administration of any collusion with Russian operatives.
Trump Jr. and the others who attended the meeting (including the president’s son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner and former campaign chairman Paul Manafort) claimed nothing came of it, insisting they met with Veselnitskaya to discuss issues related to U.S. sanctions against Russia and the adoption of Russian children by Americans.
But Cohen’s testimony adds another layer to a story Congressional investigators have already accused Trump Jr. and his associates of concocting. And observers say it’s odd that in the world according to Donald Trump, Cohen is lying… just not about this.
Is it incredible how in Trump’s world, Michael Cohen can lie about everything else, but be telling the truth when he testifies he’s unaware of direct evidence of collusion.
— Joyce Alene (@JoyceWhiteVance) February 28, 2019
Incredible that Donald chooses to lie about this. Cohen did not tell the committee there was "no collusion". He said he did not know if there had been direct collusion, but had his "suspicions", given what he later came to know of the Trump Tower meeting.https://t.co/gmDfSOk99a pic.twitter.com/tnvkr800gW
— Justin Hendrix (@justinhendrix) February 28, 2019
If you think there was no evidence of collusion in this hearing, you didn't watch it or don't understand the law, evidence, or anything about the Trump-Russia probe. Collusion investigators would've benefitted *greatly* from this hearing—if they didn't already have the evidence.
— Seth Abramson (@SethAbramson) February 27, 2019
Trump knew Manafort gave detailed internal polling data to Russia.
Trump knew Roger Stone coordinated with WikiLeaks.
Trump knew Don Jr. and Jared Kushner met with Russians in Trump Tower.
That’s the collusion and it’s impeachable.
— Nate Lerner (@NathanLerner) February 27, 2019
The story of what happened that day in Trump Tower has remained a sore spot for the Trump camp.
An executive at Vkontakte, or VK, Russia’s equivalent to Facebook, emailed Donald Trump Jr. and social media director Dan Scavino in January and November 2016, offering to help promote Trump’s campaign to its millions of users, according to previously undisclosed emails which show follow-up after a meeting at Trump Tower in June of last year. The emails were read to The Washington Post. Their authenticity was confirmed by individuals with knowledge of their contents. They show a new direct “point of contact” between an influential Russian and members of the Trump campaign.