The Slatest

It Took Trump’s Representatives Fourteen Hours to Deny That He Told Michael Cohen to Lie to Congress

Giuliani, seated in a chair, wipes his head with a handkerchief.
Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani at the White House on July 9, 2018.
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

On Thursday night, BuzzFeed News published a major-league five-alarm bombshell report citing “two federal law enforcement officials” who say that Robert Mueller’s special counsel investigation has compiled evidence, from multiple sources, that Donald Trump directed attorney Michael Cohen to lie to two congressional committees about a Moscow real-estate project.

The special counsel’s office learned about Trump’s directive for Cohen to lie to Congress through interviews with multiple witnesses from the Trump Organization and internal company emails, text messages, and a cache of other documents. Cohen then acknowledged those instructions during his interviews with that office.

That’s what law-talking folk call “suborning perjury,” and even Trump’s attorney general nominee has said it would be a crime if the president did it. Naturally, Trump and his spokespeople and lawyers immediately denied it, right?

Nope! Here’s Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani last night:

Note that Giuliani does not respond to the article’s assertion that Mueller learned about the alleged crime before speaking to Cohen about it. Here, then, is Trump this morning:

Again, no denial, no acknowledgement of the reputed non-Cohen sources. (You can read more about Trump’s hazily articulated premise that Cohen is falsifying allegations against him in order to keep prosecutors from looking into his father-in-law, who has some sort of involvement in the Chicago taxi business, here.)

And White House spokesman Hogan Gidley on Fox News Friday morning:

The premise is ridiculous. We’re talking about a person in Michael Cohen who quite frankly has been proven to be a liar … to give him any credibility, it just doesn’t warrant any response from the White House or this president.

Finally, about fourteen hours after BuzzFeed’s story was published—and, going by one report, nineteen hours after Trump’s team had been first notified about the allegations—Giuliani finally issued a denial:

So, there you have it!

This post was updated with Giuliani’s denial.