Michael Cohen and Donald Trump. Photos: Eduardo Munoz Alvarez and Martin H. Simon - Pool via Getty Images

President Trump directed his former personal attorney Michael Cohen to lie to Congress about the extent of his plans to build a Trump Tower in Moscow — charges to which Cohen has since pleaded guilty, BuzzFeed News' Jason Leopold and Anthony Cormier report.

Details: The report — which cites "two federal law enforcement officials involved in an investigation of the matter" — alleges that Trump and Cohen had at least 10 face-to-face meetings about the Moscow deal during the 2016 campaign, and that Cohen provided "regular, detailed updates" to Trump's children, Donald Jr. and Ivanka. Special counsel Robert Mueller has reportedly obtained evidence that Trump directed Cohen to lie to Congress through witness interviews and internal documents and communications from the Trump Organization.

  • BuzzFeed also reports that Trump supported Cohen's plan to fly the candidate to Russia during the campaign to meet with President Vladimir Putin to further negotiate the deal.
  • Cohen declined to comment to Buzzfeed News. The White House and attorneys for Trump Jr. and the Trump Organization did not return a request for comment. A spokesperson for Ivanka's attorney told Buzzfeed that she was only "minimally involved" in the project.

Why it matters: If true, the report would suggest that Trump downplayed Russian interference and repeatedly lied about having business dealings in Russia during the 2016 campaign, all while secretly pushing the lucrative Moscow project behind the scenes. It would also suggest, for the second time, that investigators have evidence Trump personally directed his attorney to commit a felony.

  • Bill Barr, Trump's nominee for attorney general, wrote in a now-famous memo: "[I]f a President knowingly...suborns perjury, or induces a witness to change testimony...then he, like anyone else, commits the crime of obstruction."

Go deeper: Michael Cohen pleads guilty in Mueller investigation for lying to Congress

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Fauci says if people won't wear masks, maybe it should be mandated

Anthony Fauci. Photo: Graeme Jennings- Pool/Getty Images

NIAID director Anthony Fauci told CNN on Friday evening that if "people are not wearing masks, then maybe we should be mandating it."

Why it matters: Fauci made the comments the same day the U.S. hit its highest daily COVID-19 case count since the pandemic began.

Harris to Black voters: Casting a ballot is about honoring your ancestors

Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris speaks at a "Get Out The Vote" rally at Morehouse College. Photo: Elijah Nouvelage/AFP via Getty Images

Sen. Kamala Harris appealed to Black voters in Georgia on Friday, urging them to "honor the ancestors" by casting ballots, and again calling President Trump a "racist."

Why it matters: The U.S. saw a significant decline in African-American voter turnout between 2012 and 2016, reaching its lowest point since 2000. Higher turnout among Black Americans this year could tip the balance in favor of Democrats in key battleground states, including Georgia.

Updated 9 hours ago - Politics & Policy

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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

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