Certain details

The Times reported Thursday that Giuliani was claiming that Trump’s written answers to Mueller were consistent with what Cohen is now admitting.

Although Mr. Trump’s lawyers have long worried that the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, is trying to catch Mr. Trump in a lie, they said Mr. Cohen’s new account of the Trump Organization’s abortive hotel project in Moscow essentially matches what Mr. Trump himself stated in written answers delivered to prosecutors just nine days ago.

Mr. Cohen might have lied to the authorities about aspects of the deal, as the complaint charges, they said, but the president did not.

“The president said there was a proposal, it was discussed with Cohen, there was a nonbinding letter of intent and it didn’t go beyond that,” said Rudolph W. Giuliani, one of Mr. Trump’s lawyers, who with others negotiated the president’s responses to Mr. Mueller’s questions for nearly a year. He said prosecutors did not raise certain details that Mr. Cohen now says he misled Congress about — including how long the hotel project stayed alive — and that the president did not volunteer those details.

That’s not very credible. How long the hotel project stayed alive is not exactly a “detail”…it’s pretty central. The reporting about Cohen’s confession has been that it radically changes the story by changing the timeline: January 2016 is very different from June 2016. Why? Because of the change in Trump’s status during that window. In January he was just some random bozo with delusions of grandeur, and in June he was the all but certain Republican presidential candidate. In January he wasn’t particularly useful to Putin; in June he was.

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