'So what?' If Trump and Cohen discussed testimony, Giuliani says

Clay Curtis
January 21, 2019

During the early stages of the 2016 race for the Republican presidential nomination, Trump often said he had no business ties to Russian Federation.

The Kremlin was not engaged in any discussions regarding the potential construction of a Trump Tower skyscraper in Moscow, even though it received several emails regarding the matter, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has stated.

"It's our understanding that it, that they went on throughout 2016", Giuliani said of the discussions on NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday.

Giuliani's suggestion to NBC that dialogue about the Trump Tower project could have stretched into the fall of 2016 extends the timeline well beyond what the president has publicly acknowledged.

BuzzFeed has stood by its reporting.

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.

Giuliani portrayed Trump's role in the Moscow negotiations as that of a passive participant who was too busy running for president to pay much attention to it.

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Giuliani, in case you missed it over the weekend, told CNN's Jake Tapper that maybe Trump did or maybe Trump didn't talk to Michael Cohen before Cohen lied to Congress about the Moscow Project. That, the people said, is in part why it took Mueller's office almost a day to dispute the story publicly.

The two anonymous federal law enforcement officials who served as BuzzFeed's sources are "standing behind" their information, Cormier said.

Giuliani reiterated his previous arguments that Trump was truthful in his repeated insistence that he wasn't doing business in Russian Federation, saying the President was only minimally involved and the involvement only went as far as submitting a nonbinding letter of intent - which he argues isn't the same as doing business.

"Buzzfeed's description of specific statements to the Special Counsel's Office, and characterization of documents and testimony obtained by this office, regarding Michael Cohen's Congressional testimony are not accurate", Peter Carr, a spokesperson for Mueller's office, said in a statement that came out hours after BuzzFeed's story was published. In the advanced stages of those talks, the deputy attorney general's office called to inquire if the special counsel planned any kind of response, and was informed a statement was being prepared, the people said.

Jon Levine, media editor for the Wrap, tweeted that "it's clear" that based on the special counsel's statement, BuzzFeed's story was "not ready for the wall-to-wall cable news coverage it received".

Smith said BuzzFeed is "eager" to understand which parts of the report Mueller's office is challenging as inaccurate.

Cohen declined to comment on Saturday.

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