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.
Revelations of Cohen’s possible testimony come just days after a 2016 recording of a conversation between Trump and Cohen appeared to show the president was informed of a payment designed to prevent news of an alleged affair with a Playboy model from coming to light. Spokespeople for Trump had previously denied the affair and knowledge of a scheme to have American Media Inc., the parent company of the National Enquirer, pay her for her story.