Lanny Davis: Reports About Michael Cohen’s Trump Tower Claims Were ‘Garbled’

Chuck Ross | Reporter
  • Michael Cohen’s attorney Lanny Davis said there is a “complication” in a report that President Donald Trump had prior knowledge of the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting.
  • In an interview on CNN, Davis said that Cohen’s legal team was “never able to correct” the “complication.”
  • Cohen’s attorneys also recently told the Senate Intelligence Committee he stands by his testimony that he did not know about the Trump Tower meeting until a year after it occurred.

Lanny Davis said Tuesday that there is a “complication” to the bombshell story published in 2017 that Michael Cohen claims President Donald Trump had prior knowledge of the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting.

In two separate interviews with CNN, Davis said there is “some truth” to reports that Cohen is willing to tell special counsel Robert Mueller that Trump knew about the meeting, which took place between Donald Trump Jr. and a group of Russians on June 9, 2016.

But Davis said there was a “complication” in the reporting that Cohen’s legal team was “never able to correct.” He also said the reporting on the topic was “garbled.”

CNN reported on July 27 that Cohen is willing to tell Mueller he was present when Trump Jr. informed his father of an offer to meet with a group of Russians about possible dirt on Hillary Clinton. Trump also approved of the meeting, CNN’s anonymous sources claimed.

The report, published by reporters Jim Sciutto, Carl Bernstein and Marshall Cohen, was a major development in the Trump Tower saga because both Trump and Trump Jr. have denied that Trump knew about the meeting before it was reported in July 2017. Democrats have cited the Trump Tower meeting, which occurred on June 9, 2016, as the strongest public evidence of collusion between the campaign and Russians.

Trump Jr. accepted the meeting after an acquaintance told him that a “Russian government attorney” wanted to provide the campaign with dirt on Hillary Clinton. Trump Jr. and other meeting participants have claimed that the meeting was a dud, and that the Russian lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, did not provide information on Clinton.

The story about Cohen’s claims in regard to the meeting took an interesting twist Tuesday when North Carolina Republican Sen. Richard Burr and Virginia Democratic Sen. Mark Warner issued a statement saying Cohen’s attorneys claim he is standing by testimony he gave in 2017 that he did not know about the Trump Tower meeting before it was reported in July 2017.

“Mr. Cohen had testified before the Committee that he was not aware of the meeting prior to its disclosure in the press last summer,” Burr and Warner said.

But Burr and Warner said they reached out to Cohen’s legal team after CNN’s report from July to see whether Cohen “stood by his testimony.”

“They responded that he did stand by his testimony,” Burr and Warner said.

Davis, a longtime friend of Bill and Hillary Clinton, confirmed in a CNN interview with John Berman on Wednesday that Cohen’s testimony was accurate, that he did not know about the Trump Tower meeting until it was reported in the press.

But Davis added that “the reporting was a bit garbled.”

“We take a good amount of responsibility under the difficulties of facing a criminal investigation and not being able to explain or correct or straighten things out that there is some truth to the news reporting, but we weren’t able to do anything further in the middle of a criminal investigation, and now in the middle of waiting to cooperate with Mr. Mueller,” Davis said. 

In an interview with CNN’s Don Lemon on Tuesday night, Davis said “there is a certain complication in [the Trump Tower story] that we were never able to correct.”

WATCH:

Trump has accused Cohen of lying about his knowledge of the Trump Tower meeting.

“I did NOT know of the meeting with my son, Don jr. Sounds to me like someone is trying to make up stories in order to get himself out of an unrelated jam,” he tweeted on July 27. (RELATED: Trump Accuses Michael Cohen Of Lying About Russian Meeting)

Alan Futerfas, a lawyer for Trump Jr., issued a statement in July stating that Trump Jr. told the truth when he testified to Congress that his father was unaware of the Trump Tower meeting.

“Donald Trump Jr. has been professional and responsible throughout the Mueller and congressional investigations. We are very confident of the accuracy and reliability of the information that has been provided by Mr. Trump Jr. and on his behalf,” Futerfas said at the time.

Futerfas did not respond to a request for comment about the Burr and Warner statement.

Davis made other news in his interviews Tuesday. He suggested Cohen also has information about campaign-related hacking that would be of interest to Mueller. (RELATED: Lanny Davis Suggests Michael Cohen Has Information On Election-Related Hacking)

“Michael Cohen has information that would be of interest to Mr. Mueller in his probe of a conspiracy to corrupt american democracy, very similar to the indictment of the 12 Russians,” Davis said.

“I believe that Mr. Cohen would be able to provide information useful to the special counsel. I won’t call it a smoking gun information, someone else will have to judge that. I believe that he does relevant information.”

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