Cohen says Trump knew of 2016 Trump Tower meeting ahead of time

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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. Cohen's claim comes as special counsel Robert Mueller continues to investigate an array of allegations tied to Trump, including whether his campaign officials colluded with Russians in an effort to win the 2016 presidential election.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpMeadows threatens to force a vote on Rosenstein impeachment Republican feels "victimized" by Twitter "shadow banning" GOP senators surprised to attend Trump's tariffs announcement MORE's former longtime personal attorney Michael Cohen claims that Trump had prior knowledge of the infamous June 2016 Trump Tower meeting between Trump campaign officials and a Russian lawyer, CNN reported Thursday.

Trump Jr gave sworn testimony to that effect at a congressional hearing in May 2017.

Mr Trump's personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, has blasted Mr Cohen in response, reiterating their ongoing line that the president knew nothing about the Trump Tower meeting.

The quiet feud between the pair was catapulted into the national spotlight this week with the airing of a taped conversation the two men had in 2016 about payments revolved around Karen McDougal, a former Playmate who alleges to have had an affair with Trump.

Michael Cohen in NY on May 30, 2018.

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Rep. Eric Swalwell, the top Democrat for the CIA on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, told CNN on Thursday: "Rudy Giuliani described him [Cohen] as a proven liar but all of his lies in the past were on behalf of Donald Trump".

'He can not be believed, ' Rudy Giuliani, a lawyer for Trump, told Reuters on Thursday, referring to Cohen. "Sounds to me like someone is trying to make up stories in order to get himself out of an unrelated jam", the President tweeted.

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Although Cohen worked for the Trump Organization before resigning at the start of Trump's presidency, he also has maintained private business interests, including ownership of a taxi medallion operation and real-estate investments.

Cohen mentioned his name in the secret recording between himself and then-candidate Trump.

Robert Mintz, a former federal prosecutor now in private practice, said Cohen "seems to be taking a page out of President Trump's playbook by having his lawyers aggressively respond in the media to attacks on his credibility and reputation".

President Donald Trump's lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, said Monday that he's not sure collusion with Russian Federation would be considered a crime, marking a sharp advancement of the President's longtime defense that there was no collusion between his campaign and Moscow.

Trump has consistently denied that he knew about the meeting, and he did so again on Friday. Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort were also present at the meeting.

In the tape, the two men discuss how to buy the rights to a former Playboy model's story of her affair with Trump. But he also left open the possibility that Trump might have known but later forgot about it. The Russian government said through intermediaries to Trump Jr. that it was supporting Trump and wanted to help the campaign.

Sources tell CNN numerous tapes include discussions with reporters and conversations relating to President Trump.

Friday's tweet storm from the President included another denunciation of Mueller's investigation as "the rigged Witch Hunt".

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