US President Donald Trump's former lawyer Michael Cohen admitted on Thursday that he lied to Congress about Trump's business plans in Moscow in order to be consistent with the then-candidate's public disavowals of Russian Federation.
On the heels of a New York Post interview in which President Donald Trump said a pardon for former campaign chairman Paul Manafort was not "off the table", incoming Democratic chairman of the House Judiciary Committee Jerrold Nadler told Newsweek that, should the president pardon Manafort, the committee was prepared to investigate.
Trump Jr. has said he did not take any action based on that tip.
"He's a weak person", Trump told reporters on the White House South Lawn before departing for Buenos Aires, Argentina. "He's got himself a big prison sentence".
Trump Jr. also confirmed that his father had signed the letter of intent, and told the committee his company could probably provide a copy of it if they wanted it.
He added: "He's lying about a project that everybody knew about".
"We had looked at it earlier than that, but it sort of faded away I believe at the end of '14", he replied.
Cohen had originally told Congress he stopped pursuing a business deal for Mr. Trump in Russian Federation in January 2016, before the first voting in the GOP primaries.
Cohen said he made the misstatements to be consistent with Trump's political messaging and out of loyalty to his former client.
Cohen was interviewed in October last year behind closed doors by lawmakers conducting their own investigation into whether Mr Trump's campaign worked with Russian Federation to sway the U.S. election two years ago.
Cohen said publicly in September 2017, in advance of his questioning before the Senate Intelligence Committee, that the Moscow project was terminated "before the Iowa caucus and months before the very first primary".
The President, who last week submitted written answers to questions posed in the Mueller investigation, called the project a "deal that didn't happen", mostly because he was busy running for president, but defended its propriety.
"He was convicted with a fairly long-term sentence with things unrelated to the Trump Organization", Trump said, citing Cohen's legal issues with mortgages and the IRS.
Adam Schiff, the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, said there was a "counterintelligence imperative" for its members, in the new Congress, to continue to probe the Trump Organization's financial links to Russian Federation.
What else has Cohen admitted?
On April 9, after receiving a referral from Mueller, the Federal Bureau of Investigation raided the office, home and hotel room of Cohen.
Cohen previously pleaded guilty in NY to violating federal campaign finance laws by arranging hush-money payments to women in 2016 "at the direction" of then-candidate Trump.
Mr Cohen testified in August that Mr Trump had directed him to commit a crime by arranging payments to silence two women who alleged before the 2016 election they had affairs with Mr Trump.
Undisclosed payments to bury embarrassing stories about a political candidate can be treated as a violation of USA campaign finance laws.
It's no coincidence that in 2018, major media outlets like MSNBC and CNN have made a point of inviting Jill Wine-Banks, John Dean, Dan Rather and Carl Bernstein to appear as guests and comment on Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russia-related investigation.