President Donald Trump directed his former lawyer Michael Cohen to lie to Congress about his business dealings in regard to a Trump Tower in Moscow, according to a new bombshell report from BuzzFeed News. Democrats are saying if the report is true, Trump committed an impeachable offense.
“If” is the big word here, and the word echoed by many of the Democrats who publicly expressed the desire to investigate further after the story dropped late Thursday night.
BuzzFeed’s sources are two anonymous FBI officials, as well as others off the record. They also claim Special Counsel Robert Mueller has physical evidence.
“The special counsel’s office learned about Trump’s directive for Cohen to lie to Congress through interviews with multiple witnesses from the Trump Organization and internal company emails, text messages, and a cache of other documents. Cohen then acknowledged those instructions during his interviews with that office.”
Some Democratic lawmakers have been itching to impeach Trump since he took office, others have strayed away from the discussion. But the report is uniting lawmakers who believe an investigation is necessary.
Member of the House Intelligence Committee Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas) took to Twitter soon after the published report and made a straightforward statement: “If the @BuzzFeed story is true, President Trump must resign or be impeached.”
If the @BuzzFeed story is true, President Trump must resign or be impeached.
— Joaquin Castro (@JoaquinCastrotx) January 18, 2019
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) has been butting heads with the Trump throughout his presidency. He called the report one of the “most serious to date” and called for an investigation.
The allegation that the President of the United States may have suborned perjury before our committee in an effort to curtail the investigation and cover up his business dealings with Russia is among the most serious to date. We will do what’s necessary to find out if it’s true. https://t.co/GljBAFqOjh
— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) January 18, 2019
Rep. Katherine Clark (D-Mass.) called the allegation “criminal” and said she would take Trump’s actions seriously, implying impeachment.
It isn't news that Trump lies, but this allegation isn't just misinformation- it's criminal. We will investigate, get the facts, and take his actions seriously. https://t.co/cKZa1yZ1Hp
— Katherine Clark (@RepKClark) January 18, 2019
Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.) called the allegation “obstruction of justice,” which many Democrats have expressed is an impeachable offense.
If the President directed Cohen to lie to Congress, that is obstruction of justice. Period. Full stop.
— David Cicilline (@davidcicilline) January 18, 2019
In fact, Sen. Amy Klochubar (D-Minn.) clarified with Attorney General nominee William Barr at his confirmation hearing this week what he considered acts of obstruction of justice. Klochubar almost exactly laid out the situation unraveled in the BuzzFeed report.
Watch the video below:
Senator Amy Klobuchar quizzing William Barr on exactly what he would consider an act of obstruction. pic.twitter.com/tibx2ud2ed
— Maddow Blog (@MaddowBlog) January 18, 2019
Former Attorney General Eric Holder certainly found the report damning enough to begin impeachment proceedings, but clarified that the “proof must be examined.”
If true – and proof must be examined – Congress must begin impeachment proceedings and Barr must refer, at a minimum, the relevant portions of material discovered by Mueller. This is a potential inflection point. https://t.co/iaZmiHgL7L
— Eric Holder (@EricHolder) January 18, 2019
The White House has not commented on the report yet. Michael Cohen’s lawyer Lanny Davis released a statement to MSNBC: “Out of respect for Mr. Mueller’s and the Office of Special Counsel’s investigation, Mr. Cohen declined to respond to the questions asked by the reporters and so do I.”