May 27, 2020

Trump lawyer denies NY Times claim he gave Ukrainian plan to White House


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By Bill Hoffmann From Newsmax

Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, told Newsmax on Monday that a New York Times article claiming he delivered a “sealed proposal” from a Ukrainian lawmaker to Trump’s national security adviser is a “fake news” story written as part of the newspaper’s ongoing plot to “delegitimize” the commander-in-chief.

“It’s more fake news…. It’s a nonsense story,” Cohen said of the Times’ front-page accusation, adding that he will no longer speak with any reporters from the newspaper.

“The New York Times has consistently gone after the president, consistently gone after each person in the administration. It’s unacceptable.”

In its Monday editions, the Times reported that Cohen delivered the document about Russia and to , who resigned as national security adviser last week.

The handover is said to have occurred a week before Flynn resigned following a Washington Post story that he had misled Vice President Mike Pence about his discussions with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. about President Barack Obama’s sanctions against Russia.

The proposal, reportedly outlining a way for Trump to lift the sanctions against Russia, was said to have been delivered to Cohen during a meeting he had with Andrey Artemenko, a member of the Ukrainian parliament and Felix Sater, who has worked on real estate projects with Trump’s company and the Times says has helped Trump “scout deals in Russia.”

Cohen, a lawyer with the Trump Organization since 2007, told Newsmax the meeting occurred — but he insisted he did not deliver the envelope to the and did not discuss it with anybody.

He said when Artemenko suggested a hand-delivery he turned it down.

“The whole meeting was under 10 minutes … I told him it was above my pay grade, not what I do. I said, mail it to 1600 ,” Cohen said.

Cohen said that Sater arranged the meet-up which took place at a New York City hotel last month.

“I went to meet somebody for a cup of coffee … I didn’t know who I was meeting,” he said.

He also bristled at the Times’ assertion that he has a “personal connection” to Ukraine” in that he is married to a Ukrainian woman and “once worked with relatives there to establish an ethanol business.”

“My wife left there when she was three years old,” Cohen told Newsmax. “Can you imagine hypothetically if my wife was African or Hispanic if they’d be asking me about the Ukraine?”

Cohen said the Times story, written by Megan Twohey and Scott Shane, was published to “delegitimize” Trump’s presidency.

“[The Times is] the epitome of the liberal mainstream media and they are the reason why people don’t trust the news any longer. They disseminate all of this fake news. They are not reporting,” he said.

“There was no delivery of documents… I never brought it to D.C.”

In a statement to The Washington Post, the Times stood by its reporting.

“Mr. Cohen told the Times in no uncertain terms that he delivered the Ukraine proposal to Michael Flynn’s office at the White House. Mr. Sater told the Times that Mr. Cohen had told him the same thing,” said Matt Purdy, a Times deputy managing editor.

In its Page One story, the Times said the alleged document passing came “at a time when Mr. Trump’s ties to Russia, and the people connected to him, are under heightened scrutiny — with investigations by American intelligence agencies, the F.B.I. and Congress….”

The article said despite the scrutiny, some of Trump’s associates remain willing and eager to wade into Russia-related efforts behind the scenes.”

Artemenko told the Times the proposal he offered was plan for peace between Russia and Ukraine, and while “a lot of people will call me a Russian agent, a U.S. agent, a C.I.A. agent … how can you find a good solution between our countries if we do not talk?”

On Monday afternoon, the Kremlin issued a statement that the whole plan was “absurd.”

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov echoed the comments of Putin’s spokesman. “It is difficult for me to comment because it is not possible to lease something from oneself,” Lavrov said, according to state news agency RIA Novosti.”

IMAGE: Trump Lawyer Denies NY Times Claim He Gave Ukrainian Plan to White House
Michael Cohen (AP)

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