Giuliani says Trump pursued Moscow tower
throughout '16, raising questions
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[January 21, 2019]
By David Morgan
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President
Donald Trump pursued a business deal to erect a tower bearing his name
in Moscow throughout 2016, his attorney said on Sunday, raising new
questions for congressional investigators looking into possible ties
between the president and Russia.
Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani said he may have continued to pursue the
project and had discussions about it with his former personal attorney,
Michael Cohen, until as late as October or November 2016, when Trump was
closing in on his election victory against Democrat Hillary Clinton.
"It's our understanding that they (the discussions) went on throughout
2016," Giuliani, a former New York City mayor, told NBC's "Meet the
"Probably up to, could be up to as far as October, November," he said.
"But the president's recollection of them is that the thing had petered
out quite a bit."
The Moscow deal ultimately did not materialize but Giuliani's remarks
suggest that Trump's discussions about the project with Cohen may have
dragged on months longer than had been publicly known.
"That is news to me. And that is big news," Senator Mark Warner, the top
Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, also said on "Meet the
Press." "It's remarkable that we're two years after the fact and just
discovering it today."
An investigation into Russia's interference in the 2016 election and
possible collusion between Moscow and Trump's campaign has loomed large
over the Trump presidency amid media reports of his team's connections
On Friday, the office of Special Counsel Robert Mueller who leads the
investigation took the rare step of disputing elements of a BuzzFeed
News report that Trump directed Cohen to lie to Congress about the
Moscow real estate deal.
Trump has denied the BuzzFeed article's claim and Giuliani backed him:
"I can tell you his counsel to Michael Cohen throughout that entire
period was: 'Tell the truth'."
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Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani speaks at the 2018 Iran Freedom
Convention in Washington, U.S., May 5, 2018. REUTERS/Joshua
Trump has repeatedly condemned the Mueller probe as a "witch hunt"
while denying any collusion with Moscow. Russia also denies any
interference in the U.S. elections.
Warner, whose panel is conducting its own Russia probe, said the
possibility that Trump pursued a business deal with Russia until as
late as the 2016 election increases the need to know about his
dealings as president with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin.
"That raises a whole host of questions that the American public
needs an answer to and the Congress needs an answer to," Warner
Cohen pleaded guilty in November to charges he lied to Congress when
he testified that the discussions ended in January 2016. Instead,
Cohen said they actually continued until that June, after Trump had
clinched the Republican nomination.
Cohen, who has been sentenced to three years in prison for lying to
lawmakers, is expected to testify before the Democratic-led House
Oversight Committee on Feb. 7. The House and Senate intelligence
committees also want to hear from Cohen.
The president has provided written answers to questions from Mueller
on the Moscow project, according to Giuliani.
"Our answers cover until the election. So any time during that
period, they could have talked about it," he said.
(Reporting by David Morgan; Editing by Tomasz Janowski and Jeffrey
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