President Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen pleaded guilty on Thursday to lying to Congress about a real estate project Trump was pursuing in Moscow until June 2016, which Cohen previously said had ended far sooner.
Reuters reported that Trump denied pursuing the deal, accusing Cohen of lying in order to get a more favorable sentence for unrelated crimes.
At issue is a proposal to build a skyscraper bearing Trump’s name in Moscow. Cohen told both the Senate and House intelligence panels the real estate project had ended before the political primary season began, according to a court document.
Speaking to reporters outside the White House, Trump said he had decided against putting up the building in Moscow, though Reuters noted the president did not offer a time frame for that decision.
“That was a project that we didn’t do, I didn’t do. That was a project that wasn’t done for a lot of reasons ... I was focused on running for president. I wanted that to be my primary focus. Not running or building a building,” Trump said.
“Michael Cohen is lying and he’s trying to get a reduced sentence for things that have nothing to do with me,” he added.