US. Department of Justice
Afiermy—Werk—Pmduet // May-Gefmn-Matefial—Preteeted-H-nder-Fed—R—GFm—P-éée)


In analyzing the President’s conduct related to Cohen, the following evidence is relevant
to the elements ofobstruction ofjustice.

a. Obstructive act. We gathered evidence of the President’s conduct related to Cohen
on two issues: (i) whether the President or others aided or participated in Cohen’s false statements
to Congress, and (ii) whether the President took actions that would have the natural tendency to
prevent Cohen from providing truthful information to the government.

i. First, with regard to Cohen’s false statements to Congress, while there is
evidence, described below, that the President knew Cohen provided false testimony to Congress
about the Trump Tower Moscow project, the evidence available to us does not establish that the
President directed or aided Cohen’s false testimony.

Cohen said that his statements to Congress followed a “party line” that developed within
the campaign to align with the President’s public statements distancing the President from Russia.
Cohen also recalled that, in speaking with the President in advance of testifying, he made it clear
that he would stay on message—which Cohen believed they both understood would require false
testimony. But Cohen said that he and the President did not explicitly discuss whether Cohen’s
testimony about the Trump Tower Moscow project would be or was false, and the President did
not direct him to provide false testimony. Cohen also said he did not tell the President about the
specifics of his planned testimony. During the time when his statement to Congress was being
drafted and circulated to members of the IDA, Cohen did not speak directly to the President about
the statement, but rather communicated with the President’s personal counsel—as corroborated by
phone records showing extensive communications between Cohen and the President’s personal
counsel before Cohen submitted his statement and when he testified before Congress.

Cohen recalled that in his discussions with the President’s personal counsel on August 27,
2017#the day before Cohen’s statement was submitted to Congre557Cohen said that there were
more communications with Russia and more communications with candidate Trump than the
statement reflected. Cohen recalled expressing some concern at that time. According to Cohen,
the President’s personal counselgwho did not have first—hand knowledge of the project——
responded by saying that there was no need to muddy the water, that it was unnecessary to include
those details because the project did not take place, and that Cohen should keep his statement short
and tight, not elaborate, stay on message, and not contradict the President. Cohen’s recollection
of the content of those conversations is consistent with direction about the substance of Cohen’s
draft statement that appeared to come from members of the IDA. For example, Cohen omitted
any reference to his outreach to Russian government officials to set up a meeting between Trump
and Putin during the United Nations General Assembly, and Cohen believed it was a decision of

of conversations beyond that contained in the President’s [written responses to the Special Counsel’s
Office].” 2/6/19 Letter, President’s Personal Counsel to Special Counsel’s Office.


U.S. Department of Justice
Attorney—Worm // WWW—F666)

the IDA to delete the sentence, “The building project led me to make limited contacts with Russian
government officials.”

The President’s personal counsel declined to provide us with his account of his
conversations with Cohen, and there is no evidence available to us that indicates that the President
was aware of the information Cohen provided to the President’s personal counsel. The President’s
conversations with his personal counsel were presumptively protected by attorney-client privilege,
and we did not seek to obtain the contents of any such communications. The absence of evidence
about the President and his counsel’s conversations about the drafting of Cohen’s statement
precludes us fi'om assessing what, if any, role the President played.

ii. Second, we considered whether the President took actions that would have
the natural tendency to prevent Cohen from providing truthful information to criminal
investigators or to Congress.

Before Cohen began to cooperate with the government, the President publicly and privately
urged Cohen to stay on message and not “flip.” Cohen recalled the President’s personal counsel
telling him that he would be protected so long as he did not go “rogue.” In the days and weeks
that followed the April 2018 searches ofCohen’s home and office, the President told reporters that
Cohen was a “good man” and said he was “a fine person with a wonderful family . . . who I have
always liked & respected.” Privately, the President told Cohen to “hang in there” and “stay
strong.” People who were close to both Cohen and the President passed messages to Cohen that
“the President loves you,” “the boss loves you,” and “everyone knows the boss has your back.”
Through the President’s personal counsel, the President also had previously told Cohen “thanks
for what you do” after Cohen provided information to the media about payments to women that,
according to Cohen, both Cohen and the President knew was false. At that time, the Trump
Organization continued to pay Cohen’s legal fees, which was important to Cohen. Cohen also
recalled discussing the possibility ofa pardon with the President’s personal counsel, who told him
to stay on message and everything would be fine. The President indicated in his public statements
that a pardon had not been ruled out, and also stated publicly that “[m]ost people will flip if the
Government lets them out oftrouble” but that he “d[idn’t] see Michael doing that.”

After it was reported that Cohen intended to cooperate With the government, however, the
President accused Cohen of “mak[ing] up stories in order to get himself out of an unrelated jam
(Taxi cabs maybe?),” called Cohen a “rat,” and on multiple occasions publicly suggested that
Cohen’s family members had committed crimes. The evidence concerning this sequence of events
could support an inference that the President used inducements in the form of positive messages
in an effort to get Cohen not to cooperate, and then turned to attacks and intimidation to deter the
provision ofinformation or undermine Cohen’s credibility once Cohen began cooperating.

b. Nexus to an official proceeding. The President’s relevant conduct towards Cohen
occurred when the President knew the Special Counsel’s Office, Congress, and the U.S. Attorney’s
Office for the Southern District of New York were investigating Cohen’s conduct. The President
acknowledged through his public statements and tweets that Cohen potentially could cooperate
with the government investigations.


U.S. Department of Justice


c. Intent. In analyzing the President’s intent in his actions towards Cohen as a
potential witness, there is evidence that could support the inference that the President intended to
discourage Cohen from cooperating with the government because Cohen’s information would shed
adverse light on the President’s campaign-period conduct and statements.

i. Cohen’s false congressional testimony about the Trump Tower Moscow
project was designed to minimize connections between the President and Russia and to help limit
the congressional and DO] Russia investigations#a goal that was in the President’s interest, as
reflected by the President’s own statements. During and after the campaign, the President made
repeated statements that he had “no business” in Russia and said that there were “no deals that
could happen in Russia, because we’ve stayed away.” As Cohen knew, and as he recalled
communicating to the President during the campaign, Cohen’s pursuit of the Trump Tower
Moscow project cast doubt on the accuracy or completeness of these statements.

In connection with his guilty plea, Cohen admitted that he had multiple conversations with
candidate Trump to give him status updates about the Trump Tower Moscow project, that the
conversations continued through at least June 2016, and that he discussed with Trump possible
travel to Russia to pursue the project. The conversations were not off-hand, according to Cohen,
because the project had the potential to be so lucrative. In addition, text messages to and from
Cohen and other records further establish that Cohen’s efforts to advance the project did not end
in January 2016 and that in May and June 2016, Cohen was considering the timing for possible
trips to Russia by him and Trump in connection with the project.

The evidence could support an inference that the President was aware of these facts at the
time of Cohen’s false statements to Congress. Cohen discussed the project with the President in
early 2017 following media inquiries. Cohen recalled that on September 20, 2017, the day after
he released to the public his opening remarks to Congress—which said the project “was terminated
in January of 2016”—the President’s personal counsel told him the President was pleased with
what Cohen had said about Trump Tower Moscow. And after Cohen’s guilty plea, the President
told reporters that he had ultimately decided not to do the project, which supports the inference
that he remained aware of his own involvement in the project and the period during the Campaign
in which the project was being pursued.

ii. The President’s public remarks following Cohen’s guilty plea also suggest
that the President may have been concerned about what Cohen told investigators about the Trump
Tower Moscow project. At the time the President submitted written answers to questions from
this Office about the project and other subjects, the media had reported that Cohen was cooperating
with the government but Cohen had not yet pleaded guilty to making false statements to Congress.
Accordingly, it was not publicly known what information about the project Cohen had provided
to the government. In his written answers, the President did not provide details about the timing
and substance of his discussions with Cohen about the project and gave no indication that he had
decided to no longer pursue the project. Yet afier Cohen pleaded guilty, the President publicly
stated that he had personally made the decision to abandon the project. The President then declined
to clarify the seeming discrepancy to our Office or answer additional questions. The content and
timing of the President’s provision of information about his knowledge and actions regarding the
Trump Tower Moscow project is evidence that the President may have been concerned about the
information that Cohen could provide as a witness.


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