Will Donald Trump Be Impeached? Odds Soar After Report President Told Michael Cohen to Lie to Congress

Following a report claiming that President Donald Trump instructed his former longtime personal lawyer Michael Cohen to lie under oath to Congress about plans to build a Trump Tower in Moscow, the word "impeachment" has reverberated around Democratic circles with renewed vigor. And betting markets have reacted similarly, with the odds of Trump being impeached during his first term soaring.

On political betting market PredictIt, the release of Buzzfeed's exclusive report late Thursday evening coincided with a 12-point rise on the price of Trump being impeached. The price rose from 47 cents to 59 cents in just a couple of hours. PredictIt involves users buying shares based on the probability of events happening between 1 cent and $1.

Not all betting markets reacted similarly. Such has been the stream of negative news surrounding the president, including prosecutors in New York already concluding that Trump directed Cohen to direct campaign finance violations, that some bookmakers left their already strong odds unmoved.

Irish bookmaker Paddy Power still values Trump as more likely than not to be impeached, at odds of 10/11, an implied probability of 52 percent.

What shifts did materialize occurred before the special counsel's office took the unusual step of issuing a statement in response to the Buzzfeed report.

Almost 24 hours after the story published, the special counsel's office took the unusual step of issuing a statement addressing the report.

"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," spokesman for the special counsel's office Peter Carr told Buzzfeed News.

Buzzfeed's Editor-in-Chief Ben Smith subsequently released his own statement, making clear that the outlet stood by its reporting. He also urged the special counsel's office to make clear what specific parts of the story it was disputing.

Following the explosive allegations, multiple Democrats raised the specter of impeachment.

"If the @BuzzFeed story is true, President Trump must resign or be impeached," tweeted Democratic congressman Julian Castro, a member of the House Intelligence Committee.

If the @BuzzFeed story is true, President Trump must resign or be impeached.

— Joaquin Castro (@JoaquinCastrotx) January 18, 2019

That message was echoed by Eric Holder, a former attorney general during the Obama administration.

"If true - and proof must be examined - Congress must begin impeachment proceedings and [attorney general nominee, William] Barr must refer, at a minimum, the relevant portions of material discovered by Mueller. This is a potential inflection point," he wrote on Twitter.

While the White House initially declined to outright deny the allegation that Trump counseled Cohen to lie under oath, Rudy Giuliani, the president's personal lawyer, issued a forceful denial Friday.

New statement from Rudy Giuliani is the first denying Buzzfeed's article

"Any suggestion – from any source – that the President counseled Michael Cohen to lie is categorically false."

— Chris Megerian (@ChrisMegerian) January 18, 2019

Still, the leaders of two powerful congressional committees have already said that they intend to investigate the claims.

"The allegation that the president of the United States may have suborned perjury before our committee in an effort to curtail the investigation and cover up his business dealings with Russia is among the most serious to date," Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff said. "We will do what's necessary to find out if it's true."

Added Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler: "Directing a subordinate to lie to Congress is a federal crime. The Committee's job is to get to the bottom of it, and we will do that work."

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has not yet commented on the report, and has so far urged talk of impeachment to remain on hold until special counsel Robert Mueller delivers his final report on Russia's interference in the 2016 election and possible collusion with the Trump campaign.

Having regained control of the House of Representatives in the 2018 midterms, Democrats have the unilateral power to make Trump just the third president in history to be impeached. However, if Trump is to be removed from office, it will require the support of a significant number of Republicans in order to get the two-thirds majority needed to convict in the Senate.

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President Donald Trump during a Missile Defense Review announcement at the Pentagon on January 17. Martin H. Simon - Pool/Getty Images

Update 1/18/19, 9:40 p.m. ET: This story has been updated to include statements from the special counsel's office and Buzzfeed News.