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Congress Trump directed lies : Michael Cohen

US President Donald Trump’s ex-lawyer Michael Cohen has claimed Mr Trump wanted him to lie about a property deal in Moscow amid his election campaign.

In congressional testimony, Cohen said Mr Trump directed covert plans for the skyscraper, even while he denied having any business in Russia.

He also said Mr Trump knew about a leak of hacked Democratic emails, and called him a “racist”, “conman” and “cheat”.

Mr Trump hit back: “He is lying in order to reduce his prison time.”

The US president took time out from preparing to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Hanoi, Vietnam, on Wednesday to lash out in a tweet at his former fixer.

Cohen, 52, will start a three-year prison term in May for the campaign finance violation of paying hush money to one of Mr Trump’s alleged mistresses, tax evasion and lying to Congress.

What did Cohen say about the Moscow project?

In his public testimony to the House of Representatives Oversight Committee on Wednesday, he said Mr Trump “knew of and directed” plans for a Trump Tower Moscow, while stating publicly that he had no dealings in Russia.

“At the same time I was actively negotiating in Russia for him,” Cohen testified, “he would look me in the eye and tell me there’s no business in Russia and then go out and lie to the American people by saying the same thing. In his way, he was telling me to lie.”

“He wanted me to lie,” the witness added.

However, Cohen has been convicted of lying to Congress when he testified in 2017 that attempts to build a Trump skyscraper in Moscow had stopped by January 2016.

He has since acknowledged negotiations actually continued until June 2016 in the midst of the election campaign, though the real estate project ultimately did not go ahead.

Cohen apologised on Wednesday for his earlier false statements to Congress, which he claimed were “reviewed and edited” by Mr Trump’s lawyers.

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