In his closing press conference at the North Korean Summit in Vietnam today Donald Trump claimed that Michael Cohen’s testimony before Congress yesterday cleared him of charges of conspiring with Russia to win election to the U.S. presidency.
Trump: Cohen’s testimony cleared me of Russian collusion https://t.co/Z5lR79fVD7
— The Daily Beast (@thedailybeast) February 28, 2019
The president was asked about the testimony of his former lawyer during the press conference which took place after his meetings with North Korea’s Kim Jong-un were cut short due to a disagreement over sanctions.
During the press conference Trump stated:
“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.”
The truth is that Cohen did address Russian collusion in his prepared statement that was released to the media early yesterday morning. In it he wrote:
“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.”
In the statement Cohen referred to an incident in June of 2016 in Trump Tower when Cohen was in Trump’s office and Don Jr. came in and told his father, “The meeting is all set,” to which Trump reportedly replied, “OK good… let me know.”
Cohen said he believed that the president’s oldest son was informing his father about the infamous June 2016 Trump Tower meeting with Russians who had promised to provide the campaign with “dirt” about Hillary Clinton. The Russians in the meeting represented the government of Vladimir Putin, and the purpose of the meeting was to see what they could do to help Trump beat Clinton.
It’s not clear if Donald Trump is lying again, or if he is completely delusional. But it is clear that his stated belief that Cohen’s testimony cleared him of Russian collusion charges is totally and completely wrong. In fact, the opposite is probably true if you consider that Cohen is talking to both House and Senate intelligence committees about classified topics such as Russian collusion.
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.