One of the key figures named in the unverified anti-Trump dossier has delivered a point-by-point rebuttal shooting down more than a dozen allegations contained in its pages.
Fox News obtained a letter to the House Intelligence Committee sent Aug. 14 by the attorney representing Michael Cohen, who has served as President Trump's personal attorney. In it, he discredits the 35-page dossier, noting that without the “sensational allegations” contained in the document, Cohen “would not be involved” in the committee’s Russia probe.
“We have not uncovered a single document that would in any way corroborate the Dossier’s allegations regarding Mr. Cohen, nor do we believe that any such document exists,” Cohen’s attorney, Stephen Ryan, wrote in the letter.
Cohen's name has been in headlines this week after an email surfaced in which he wrote to Russian President Vladimir Putin's press secretary about a possible "Trump Tower" in Moscow.
The dossier is a separate issue, and is known more for the salacious and unfounded allegations made against Trump. But Cohen was also named, and the letter said he “vehemently denies” all allegations, calling them "totally false." The letter noted that based on Cohen’s “proffered responses” to the allegations, they did not believe an interview or testimony with the committee was “warranted.”
The first allegation Ryan rejected was that Cohen had “secret meeting/s with Kremlin officials in August 2016” in Prague, stating that Cohen had “never traveled to Prague, Czech Republic, as evidenced by his passport” and “did not participate in meetings with Kremlin officials in Prague in August 2016.” When the dossier was first published by Buzzfeed in January, Cohen tweeted “I have never been to Prague in my life. #fakenews.”
Ryan went on to deny allegations that Cohen had traveled to Moscow to meet with “officials from the PA Legal Department” in August 2016 to “clean up the mess” of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort’s “corrupt relationship with pro-Russian Yanukovych regime in Ukraine and Trump foreign policy advisor, Carter Page’s secret meetings in Moscow with senior regime figures in July 2016.”
Ryan denied allegations that Cohen played “a key role in the secret Trump campaign/Kremlin relationship,” and said he was “not aware” of any such “fictitious relationship.”
The dossier also alleged that Cohen’s wife was of Russian descent and that her father was a “leading property developer in Moscow.” Ryan denied the “implication” of the statement as “both offensive and patently absurd,” stating that Cohen’s wife was from Ukraine and moved to the United States when she was five years old, and that his father in law is not a leading developer in Moscow, “nor does he own a dacha in Russia.”
“Mr. Cohen is not aware of any impropriety relating to Mr. Trump’s ‘relationship’ with Russia, nor is he aware of Mr. Trump having any improper political relationship with officials of the Russian Federation,” Ryan said.
The dossier has gotten renewed attention ever since a Senate witness testified last month that the company involved in commissioning the dossier, Fusion GPS, was at the same time working with a Russian attorney on what he called a “smear campaign” against him.
Bill Browder, CEO of Hermitage Capital, testified that Natalia Veselnitskaya hired Fusion GPS in that effort. Veselnitskaya is the same attorney who brokered a meeting at Trump Tower with Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, and then-campaign chairman Paul Manafort in June 2016.
In an email to Fox News last week, Veselnitskaya acknowledged that Fusion GPS was hired by “our lawyers” from law firm Baker Hostetler to look into Browder’s background and connections with allegations against her client, but distanced herself from the dossier.
“When I read some parts of this ‘dossier’ in the media I laughed,” Veselnitskaya told Fox News. “What kind of idiots does one have to take Americans for to think they can believe that stupid and incompetent [and] absurd [dossier]?”
She went onto slam the dossier as “cheap gossip” and “tall tales.”
Fusion GPS acknowelegded the timeline matched, but said the two were "separate" projects.
Co-founder of Fusion GPS Glenn Simpson met with Senate Judiciary Committee staff behind closed doors on Capitol Hill for hours last week to give a transcribed interview. Fusion GPS told Fox News they turned over “more than 40,000 documents” to the committee for their investigation, but a committee spokesperson told Fox News that nearly 7,500 pages were blank.
Donald Trump Jr. is expected to meet with that same committee next month.
Fox News' John Roberts contributed to this report.