Democratic lawmakers will turn their attention to the possibility that President Donald Trump was vulnerable to blackmail by Russia — which was aware of his lies about building a high-rise in Moscow.
Trump insisted during his campaign and right up until last week that he had no business involvement in Russia, but his attorney Michael Cohen revealed last week in court that those denials were false, and now Democrats want to explore how badly the president was compromised, reported The Atlantic.
“They knew that he had major business dealings, or that Cohen, on his behalf, had major business dealings in Moscow during the campaign, and that he was lying about that,” said Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY), who will take over the House Judiciary Committee next month. “There may be other things that they know that give them leverage.”
Nadler and other Democratic lawmakers said this weekend that Trump’s misleading statements gave the Kremlin compromising material over the U.S. president.
“Why was Donald Trump, who was willing to whack almost anyone, never willing to say an ill word about Vladimir Putin?” said Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA), the ranking Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee. “Was it because of his potential business dealings with Russia?”
Warner said the committee has made a number of referrals to special counsel Robert Mueller’s office about Trump associates suspected of lying under oath, but declined to offer more specifics.
But one Democratic lawmaker suggested Trump’s business dealings — and the conflicts of interest they presented — would be investigated by the incoming majority.
“Now we have Michael Cohen saying that what the president was saying, what Michael Cohen was saying and others were saying about when this business deal ended was not true,” said Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), who is set to take over the House Intelligence Committee. “And what’s more, the Russians knew it wasn’t true, that at the same time that Donald Trump was the presumptive nominee of the GOP and arguing in favor of doing away with sanctions, he was working on a deal that would require doing away with sanctions for him to make money in Russia.”
“That is a real problem,” he added. “It means that the compromise is far broader than we thought.”