Kentucky congressman: If Trump told Cohen to lie to Congress, it’s ‘impeachable’

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U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth (D-KY3) joined his fellow Democrats in expressing deep concern about allegations published in a report late Thursday claiming President Donald Trump personally ordered his former attorney Michael Cohen to lie to Congress about a potential real-estate deal in Moscow.

The BuzzFeed News report, citing two unnamed law enforcement officials, alleges Trump directed Cohen to mislead lawmakers about when negotiations to launch a condo project in Russia’s capital ended, as well as the extent of the president’s involvement in the deal during the 2016 presidential race.

The president took to Twitter on Friday to push back against the story. Trump said Cohen was, “(l)ying to reduce his jail!”

The USA TODAY Network has not independently confirmed the report as of Friday morning.

”If true, which it appears to be, the report that Trump suborned perjury is an impeachable offense, and the House should begin the process,” Yarmuth, Kentucky’s lone Democrat in Washington, told the Courier Journal on Friday.

A spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said if he had any comment on “anonymous sources in the BuzzFeed story,” his office would let the Courier Journal know.

U.S. Rep. James Comer, a Republican who represents the bulk of Western Kentucky, said as a member of the oversight committee, he is responsible for conducting, “serious fact-based” investigations. He pointed out Cohen is scheduled to testify Feb. 7 before the panel.

“Until all necessary information is gathered, I will reserve the right to make a full, accurate judgement,” Comer said. “I look forward to hearing and exploring the facts.”

Other members of the Kentucky delegation, including U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, did not immediately respond to a request for comment Friday.

U.S. Rep. Thomas Massie, a Kentucky Republican, declined to comment through a spokeswoman.

Cohen, known as Trump’s longtime “fixer” by many, is cooperating with special counsel Robert Mueller, who has been conducting a months-long probe into Trump’s ties to Russia. He had previously testified he falsely told Congress that the president’s attempt to get the Moscow project off the ground concluded in January 2016, when he actually continued to pursue the project through June of that year.

Cohen pleaded guilty in November to lying to Congress on this matter.

U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff, a California Democrat, is chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. He said Friday that the claims against Trump were “among the most serious to date” and that his panel will “do what is necessary” to confirm the report.

Cohen is set to begin a three-year federal prison sentence in March for crimes that include arranging for payments during the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign to silence women who claimed they had affairs with Trump.

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Written by Phillip M. Bailey. Cross-posted from the
Courier-Journal via the Kentucky Press News Service.