President Trump’s son told the Senate that negotiations over a Trump Tower in Moscow concluded before his father’s campaign took off. The president’s former attorney said otherwise in court Thursday.
Updated at 1:36 p.m. ET
Donald Trump Jr.’s testimony to Congress about his family’s real estate negotiations with powerful Russians does not comport with the new version laid out by Donald Trump’s ex-attorney Michael Cohen, official transcripts show.
Trump Jr. told the Senate Judiciary Committee in September 2017 that although there had been negotiations surrounding a prospective Trump Tower in Moscow, they concluded without result “at the end” of 2014.
“But not in 2015 or 2016?” Trump Jr. was asked.
“Certainly not ’16,” he said. “There was never a definitive end to it. It just died of deal fatigue.”
The questions and Trump Jr.’s answers do allude to a number of other prospective prospects; he also was asked by Senate investigators about news reports about a Trump Tower Moscow negotiation that took place in 2015 and 2016, which he acknowledged but did not detail.
The accounts by Trump Jr. contrast with a new version of events given by Cohen on Thursday in a guilty plea in federal court. In that new version, Cohen says the discussions with at least one Russian government official and others in Moscow continued through June 2016, well into Trump’s presidential campaign.
In reference to the 2016 negotiations, Cohen initially told Congress he reached out to a spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin and didn’t hear back. The talks, he said then, ended in January of that year.
On Thursday, Cohen’s guilty plea acknowledged that he had heard back and that other negotiations with other Russians went forward.
Trump Jr. told the Senate committee last year that he was “peripherally aware” of those discussions but that he didn’t know that Cohen had sent an email to the Putin aide, Dmitry Peskov.
Cohen said in his guilty plea that he had briefed Trump’s family members about his talks, although the court documents don’t specify which ones.
An attorney for Trump Jr. didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on this story.
Earlier this year, when other potential discrepancies arose between what Cohen was saying and what Trump Jr. told Congress, attorney Alan Futerfas stood by Trump Jr.’s testimony.
“Donald Trump Jr. has been professional and responsible throughout the Mueller and congressional investigations,” he said in the summer. “We are very confident of the accuracy and reliability of the information that has been provided by Mr. Trump Jr., and on his behalf.”
Separately, an attorney for President Trump, Rudy Giuliani, said on Thursday that no laws have been broken and that the information that underpins Cohen’s plea actually came from the Trump Organization — confirming that it has been supporting the ongoing investigations.
“Michael Cohen is a liar,” Giuliani said. “It’s no surprise that Cohen lied to Congress. He’s a proven liar who is doing everything he can to get out of a long-term prison sentence for serious crimes of bank and tax fraud that had nothing to do with the Trump Organization.”
Continued Giuliani: “It is important to understand that documents that the special counsel’s office is using to show that Cohen lied to Congress were voluntarily disclosed by the Trump Organization because there was nothing to hide.”
President Trump downplayed the importance of the negotiations in a Twitter post on Friday that said he’d only “lightly” looked into a Moscow project and underscored how it never moved forward.