by Chuck Ross
NPR published a report Friday asserting that Donald Trump Jr.’s testimony to the Senate about efforts to build a Trump Tower in Moscow were inconsistent with Michael Cohen’s claims about the same project in his plea deal Thursday.
A transcript from Trump Jr.’s Sept. 7, 2017 testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee shows that he claimed the Trump Organization ceased pursuing a deal to build Trump Tower in Moscow by the end of 2014, NPR reported.
The news organization quoted Trump Jr. as saying that the project “faded away” by “the end of ’14.”
“But not in 2015 or 2016?” Trump Jr. was asked.
“Certainly not ’16,” the president’s son replied. “There was never a definitive end to it. It just died of deal fatigue.”
NPR asserted that the testimony would pose a problem for Trump Jr. since attorney Cohen said in his plea agreement with the special counsel’s office that he continued negotiating the building through June 2016. He also said he briefed President Donald Trump and his children that year before the deal fell through.
NPR issued a lengthy editor’s note to the article five hours after publication but did not retract the piece.
As The Federalist’s Sean Davis noted on Twitter, NPR left out parts of Trump Jr.’s testimony where the real estate executive acknowledged that Trump Tower Moscow was being discussed into 2016.
“It’s been reported that in late 2015 or 2016 when now President Trump was running for office the Trump Organization was pursuing a plan to develop a massive Trump Tower in Moscow. Is that accurate?” Trump Jr. was asked.
“Yes,” he replied.
Trump Jr.’s statements about work on a Trump Tower Moscow that ended in 2014 referred to negotiations with Aras Agalarov, a Russian real estate mogul who partnered with Trump to host the Miss Universe pageant in Moscow in 2013.
The Trumps and Agalarovs attempted to build a Trump Tower facility, but the deal petered out.
Felix Sater, a businessman with links to Cohen and Russian officials, tried to make a Trump Tower Moscow happen in 2015.
Sater and Cohen worked on the project through June 2016.
Cohen pleaded guilty to the special counsel for lying to Congress in his own testimony in 2017 when he claimed that he stopped pursuing the deal with Sater in January 2016. He also lied about the extent of his meetings with Trump and his children about the project.
This is not the first time that Trump Jr. has been the victim of false reporting. Trump Jr. received an email on Sept. 4, 2016 that included a link to WikiLeaks documents that had yet to be made public, CNN reported on Dec. 8, 2017. But CNN got the date wrong. The email was actually dated Sept. 14, 2016, a day after WikiLeaks had published the documents referred to in the email.
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