Three words rang out, over and over again, from Democrats' Twitter accounts Thursday night: obstruction of justice.
To Democrats in Congress, the report that President Donald Trump directed his personal attorney to lie to Congress about the Trump Tower Moscow deal looks like a textbook case of obstruction of justice. Many Democrats are now calling for additional investigations into the allegations — and impeachment, should they turn out to be true.
The revelation came to light Thursday night in a BuzzFeed News report citing two unnamed federal law enforcement officials that claims Trump instructed his former fixer Michael Cohen to lie to Congress about the deal to build a Trump Tower in the Russian capital. In addition, Trump instructed Cohen to put together a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin during the 2016 presidential campaign. “Make it happen,” Trump reportedly said.
Even as Trump told the public that he had no business dealings in Moscow, he and his children Don Jr. and Ivanka were receiving regular updates from Cohen about the evolving deal.
The Democrats want answers.
Rep. Jerry Nadler, the Democratic chair of the House Judiciary Committee, tweeted that his committee would be looking into the allegations.
“If this is true, this is plain, slam-dunk, criminal obstruction of justice,” tweeted Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, the Democrat from Rhode Island.
There’s hard evidence that Trump directed Cohen to lie, according to BuzzFeed News’ sources, including a cache of emails and text messages in Special Counsel Robert Mueller's office that provide evidence that the president told Cohen to lie to Congress.
Some are now saying that Congress can’t wait for Mueller to release his findings.
“Listen, if Mueller does have multiple sources confirming Trump directed Cohen to lie to Congress, then we need to know this ASAP,” tweeted Rep. Chris Murphy, the Democrat from Connecticut tweeted on Thursday. “Mueller shouldn’t end his inquiry, but it’s about time for him to show Congress his cards before it’s too late for us to act.”
The new revelations take the Mueller investigation in a new direction. If the allegations are true, any collusion between Trump and Russia may have had more to do with Trump Tower Moscow than with influencing an election, and it raises new questions about the president’s susceptibility to influence through the Trump Organization.
It also establishes a significant potential motive: The Trump Organization stood to make $300 million in profit from a tower in Moscow, the BuzzFeed report said. Cozying up to Russia, for Trump, might have been more about securing a lucrative real estate deal than tipping the scales on an election that Trump didn’t think he would win.
“There was a good chance that I wouldn’t have won, in which case I would have gotten back into the business, and why should I lose lots of opportunities?” Trump told reporters last November.
Democrat after Democrat took to social media Thursday night, citing the seriousness of these allegations, demanding answers from the special counsel’s office, and threatening impeachment.
Cover: President Donald Trump speaks during the Missile Defense Review announcement at the Pentagon in Washington, DC, on January 17, 2019. (Photo: MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)