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Cohen claims Trump knew of Trump Tower meeting beforehand


President Trump's attorney Michael Cohen claims the president knew about a controversial meeting between members of his campaign and Russians at Trump Tower in 2016. Cohen claims that he was with Trump when Donald Trump Jr. told him of the offer from Russians and that Trump approved going ahead with the meeting.

CNN reported that Cohen does not have evidence to back up his story, such as audio recordings, but that he is willing to discuss it with special counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating any ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.
Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani pushed back on the report during an appearance Thursday night on CNN's "Cuomo Prime Time," pointing to past denials that Trump had advance knowledge of the Trump Tower meeting.

"He didn't know about it," Giuliani asserted.

He also blasted Cohen during the interview, calling him a "pathological liar" days after news emerged that Cohen had secretly recorded some of his conversations with Trump.

Cohen's attorney had provided CNN with a tape earlier this week of then-candidate Trump and Cohen discussing a payment related to a former Playboy model alleging an affair with Trump in 2006.

"He's been lying all week. He's been lying for years," Giuliani said of Cohen. "I don't see how he has any credibility."

Cohen’s reported claims contradict statements from the president, Trump Jr. and their legal teams that Trump did not know about the Trump Tower meeting, where Russians were expected to offer dirt on then-Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, until The New York Times reported on its existence last year.

CNN reported that Cohen, who is under federal scrutiny by prosecutors in New York, reportedly believes that telling Mueller of Trump's knowledge of the meeting will alleviate some of the pressure he's facing from investigators.

Cohen's attorney, Lanny Davis, declined to comment to CNN.

"Donald Trump Jr. has been professional and responsible throughout the Mueller and Congressional investigations," Trump Jr.'s attorney told the network. "We are very confident of the accuracy and reliability of the information that has been provided by Mr. Trump, Jr., and on his behalf."

Trump Jr., along with then-Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and current White House adviser Jared Kushner, who is also Trump's son-in-law, met with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya at Trump Tower in the lead up to the 2016 presidential election.

Music producer Rob Goldstone arranged the meeting and told Trump Jr. in an email that a “Russian government lawyer” was offering information that “would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father.”

Goldstone said the information was “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.”

“If it's what you say I love it especially later in the summer,” Trump Jr. replied.

The president and his allies have repeatedly said he did not have advance knowledge of the meeting.

Trump said in July 2017 that he "only heard about it two or three days ago," referring to the Trump Tower meeting.

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