The Next Watergate? President Trump Allegedly Telling Michael Cohen to Lie Under Oath Similar to Nixon's Crimes

Update: 8:45 p.m. ET—The special counsel's office took the unusual step on Friday evening of issuing a statement in response to a report from Buzzfeed News that alleged President Donald Trump told his former lawyer Michael Cohen to lie under oath.

"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, spokesman for the special counsel's office, in a statement to Buzzfeed News.

Buzzfeed's Editor-in-Chief Ben Smith responded with a statement of his own, insisting that the outlet stood by it's reporting. "In response to the statement tonight from the special counsel's spokesman. He added that "we urge the Special Counsel to make clear what he's disputing."

Original story:

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Former Watergate prosecutor Jill Wine-Banks compared Donald Trump to Richard Nixon Thursday evening, and called allegations that the president had instructed Michael Cohen to lie to Congress about his communications with Russia "Nixonian."

"Even the Republican Senate is going to have to say, 'We've been had, we can't have him lying to us,'" she told MSNBC anchor Lawrence O'Donnell. "In the end of Watergate, it was the Republicans who went to Nixon and said, 'You have to resign or we will convict you in the Senate.' And that's what's going to happen here, we're getting closer and closer."

The first article of impeachment against former President Nixon is in fact quite similar to what Buzzfeed alleges Trump did. In the official papers, Congress wrote, "Richard M. Nixon, using the powers of his high office, engaged personally and through his close subordinates and agents, in a course of conduct or plan designed to delay, impede, and obstruct the investigation of such illegal entry; to cover up, conceal and protect those responsible; and to conceal the existence and scope of other unlawful covert activities."

Presidential historian Jon Meacham said Friday, "The first article of impeachment against Nixon was just this: obstruction by directing others to lie. This is not hysteria or hyperventilating. It's history."

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Late Thursday evening, Buzzfeed News released a bombshell report alleging that Trump had advised his "fixer" Michael Cohen to do business with Russia through his 2016 presidential campaign and then instructed Cohen to lie about it to Congress multiple times. The story cited two anonymous federal law enforcement officials involved in an investigation around the matter.

The House Judiciary Committee, led by Democrats, will conduct an independent investigation into the allegations.

Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler said that his committee knows "that the president has engaged in a long pattern of obstruction," and that "directing a subordinate to lie to Congress is a federal crime. The [House Judiciary] Committee's job is to get to the bottom of it, and we will do that work."

Cohen is currently facing a three-year sentence in prison for financial crimes and lying to Congress. President Trump tweeted Friday that Cohen was "lying to reduce his jail time." Cohen did testify to special counsel Robert Mueller about the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

Earlier on Friday, Hogan Gidley, special assistant to the president and deputy press secretary, condemned the story, but did not deny it. "The president's attorney has also addressed this. I'm not going to give any credence or credibility to Michael Cohen, that's just ridiculous," he said when asked if the story was "false or true."

Update 01/18/19, 8:35 p.m. ET: This story was updated to include a statement from the special counsel's office.

The Next Watergate? President Trump Allegedly Telling Michael Cohen to Lie Under Oath Similar to Nixon's Crimes | U.S.