Donald Trump knew in advance about Russian Federation meeting, says Michael Cohen

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He similarly told ABC News in early July, "I have no concerns that Michael Cohen is going to do anything but tell the truth". The moves suggest Cohen is looking for a way out of looming trouble. But his behaviour doesn't quite line up with a clear strategy, legal experts say. And if his signals are aimed at Trump, they've largely served to infuriate the president.

In a bombshell claim, Mr Cohen said he was with the President when Donald Trump Jr told him Russians were expected to offer his campaign dirt on Hillary Clinton at a June 2016 meeting, CNN reports.

US President Donald Trump on Friday denied that he knew in advance about the meeting his son had with a Russian lawyer ahead of the 2016 US presidential election.

No evidence has publicly emerged that the Trump campaign has engaged in these activities, though special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation is ongoing.

Cohen's friends and associates said that as he has fallen deeper into legal trouble this year, the NY lawyer still held onto hope that he would receive Trump's support.

Around that same time, CNN's Jake Tapper asked Sekulow to confirm Trump's claims that he only recently learned about the controversial meeting.

The specter of the potentially damaging information, which would run counter to months of denials and point toward a willingness to collude with a foreign power by Trump himself, again raised the possibility of what Cohen could deliver to prosecutors if he decides to cooperate.

Those who have known Trump for years said Cohen was a constant presence by his boss' side and eager to use the Trump name around NY.

If Trump knew beforehand and approved the meeting, he was knowingly accepting the assistance of a foreign power in the election - arguably a violation of USA campaign finance law, which prohibits all foreign sources of contributions and benefits in-kind - and he or other campaign aides may have gone on afterward to continue to work with that same foreign power. If Cohen, who specialized in making deals and making Trump's problems go away, were to cut a deal, he would do so with an eye toward eliminating or cutting his potential punishment.

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Contacted by CNN, one of Cohen's attorneys, Lanny Davis, declined to comment. "Mr. Giuliani seems to be confused", Davis said. "He hit the reset button on his life and what he had done previously". "Look, they're obviously trying to undermine Cohen's credibility", Abrams said.

Rudolph Giuliani, one of the president's private attorneys with regard to the Russian Federation investigation, told NPR on Thursday that the CNN report was not true and labeled Cohen the "liar in chief". It's a "high stakes gambit" that could backfire if he's angling to become a cooperator, Mintz said.

The Thursday reports of Cohen's claims is further evidence that Cohen could flip on Trump in the Russian Federation investigation - which would be a nightmare for Trump's legal team.

Giuliani's and Trump's opinions of Cohen have evolved in recent months, as the former fixer has been dragged into the public eye over his work for Trump.

Trump and his legal team have consistently denied that he had any knowledge of the June 2016 meeting in Trump Tower. Cohen's claims weren't mentioned in separate reports issued by Republicans and Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee.

That inconsistency was seized upon by Rudy Giuliani, the president's attorney. On Friday he called Cohen "an incredible liar who's got a tremendous motive to lie now because he's got nothing to give".

Cohen recorded conversations he had with Trump and others, and the recordings are now in the hands of federal investigators.

A person familiar with the matter has confirmed to USA TODAY that Cohen is aware that Trump had advance knowledge of the meeting. As a prosecutor, Christie said that before he would make a deal with Cohen "there would be a long come-to-Jesus meeting with [him] and with his attorneys about from this moment forward, if you have a deal, keep your mouth shut, because it doesn't help the prosecution to have all this information out there".

The release of the sensitive, private conversation was a stunning betrayal for a man who has prided himself over the years on his reputation as Trump's pit bull and who once said he "would take a bullet" for Trump.