Michael Cohen is reportedly ready to tell prosecutors that Donald Trump was aware of a June 2016 meeting between top campaign officials and Russians at Trump Tower before it occurred. It’s the sort of development that, if true, could upend what the public knows about the Trump administration, Russian involvement in the 2016 campaign, and allegations of obstruction of justice against the president.
At issue is the June 9 meeting at Trump Tower, during which Donald Trump Jr.; Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and now a senior adviser at the White House; and Paul Manafort, then Trump’s campaign chairman and now jailed facing charges of money laundering and conspiracy, met with Natalia Veselnitskaya, a Russian lawyer who they expected to provide damaging information about Hillary Clinton.
The new reporting about Cohen is hazy. CNN first reported that Cohen says he was with Trump when the then-candidate learned that the meeting would occur, and that Cohen is willing to tell Special Counsel Robert Mueller that. CNN says that Cohen has no material evidence similar to the recording his lawyer recently released in which he speaks with Trump about payments to a woman with whom Trump allegedly had an affair, but that he says several other people were present when Trump heard about the meeting. NBC News soon matched that reporting. Both outlets cited knowledgeable sources, but Lanny Davis, a lawyer for Cohen, said that his side had not leaked the claim. It’s not immediately clear who else might be aware of Cohen’s threat.