U.S.

Trump: Michael Cohen Trying to Fix 'Unrelated Jam' With Trump Tower Meeting Claims

President Donald Trump lashed out on Twitter Friday morning for the first time since Thursday night’s bombshell report that Michael Cohen, Trump’s former personal lawyer, is prepared to tell special counsel Robert Mueller that Trump knew in advance about a 2016 meeting between his aides and a Russian delegation offering dirt on Hillary Clinton.

Trump claimed he did not know about the meeting beforehand and that Cohen is “[making] up stories.”

“I did NOT know of the meeting with my son, Don jr.,” Trump said in a series of tweets. “Sounds to me like someone is trying to make up stories in order to get himself out of an unrelated jam (Taxi cabs maybe?). He even retained Bill and Crooked Hillary’s lawyer. Gee, I wonder if they helped him make the choice!”

The president also said the only collusion “with Russia was with the Democrats.”

Trump appears to be referencing Cohen’s past involvement in the New York City taxi cab business, where he borrowed millions of dollars and partnered with foreign individuals who have since agreed to cooperate with prosecutors.

Thursday night’s report by CNN said then-candidate Trump was told by his son, Donald Trump Jr., that Russians were offering to help the Trump campaign by offering compromising information on Clinton. Cohen reportedly alleges that he and several others were in the room when Trump gave the go-ahead to his son to have the meeting with the Russians, according to anonymous sources close to Cohen.

Lanny Davis, Cohen's attorney, told Newsweek that "the CNN leak did not come from us."

There were at least eight people present at the June 2016 meeting in Trump Tower. They include Paul Manafort, Trump’s ex-campaign chairman who is currently in jail awaiting trial; Donald Trump Jr., the president's eldest son; Jared Kushner, the president's son-in-law; Natalia Veselnitskaya, a Russian lawyer and lobbyist with close ties to the Kremlin; Rinat Akhmetshin, a Russian-American lawyer and former Soviet counterintelligence officer; Rob Goldstone, the publicist of Emin Agalarov, who is connected to Trump Jr.'s attorney and Ike Kaveladze, a Georgian-American executive at Aras Agalarov's real estate company.

In July 2017, Trump told The New York Times it was the first he had heard of the meeting. Around the same time, Don Jr. appeared on Fox News and stated that the meeting turned out to be about “Russian adoption.”

The president’s current personal lawyer, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, appeared on CNN immediately following the report and accused Michael Cohen of being a “pathological liar” who has “been lying for years,” despite previously offering praise for the man once known as Trump’s “fixer.” He asserted Cohen’s claims are untrue and that Trump did not know in advance of the Trump Tower meeting.

Trump has continued to call Mueller's investigation a “witch hunt” and to downplay Russian interference in the 2016 elections, despite the intelligence community saying otherwise.

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