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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

Go deeper

GOP implosion: Trump threats, payback

Spotted last week on a work van in Evansville, Ind. Photo: Sam Owens/The Evansville Courier & Press via Reuters

The GOP is getting torn apart by a spreading revolt against party leaders for failing to stand up for former President Trump and punish his critics.

Why it matters: Republican leaders suffered a nightmarish two months in Washington. Outside the nation’s capital, it's even worse.

Erica Pandey, author of @Work
3 hours ago - Economy & Business

The limits of Biden's plan to cancel student debt

Data: New York Fed Consumer Credit Panel/Equifax; Chart: Axios Visuals

There’s a growing consensus among Americans who want President Biden to cancel student debt — but addressing the ballooning debt burden is much more complicated than it seems.

Why it matters: Student debt is stopping millions of Americans from buying homes, buying cars and starting families. And the crisis is rapidly getting worse.

Why made-for-TV moments matter during the pandemic

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photos: Erin Schaff-Pool, Biden Inaugural Committee via Getty Images

In a world where most Americans are isolated and forced to laugh, cry and mourn without friends or family by their side, viral moments can offer critical opportunities to unite the country or divide it.

Driving the news: President Biden's inauguration was produced to create several made-for-social viral moments, a tactic similar to what the Democratic National Committee and the Biden campaign pulled off during the Democratic National Convention.