The New York Times reported Sunday President Trump’s personal attorney returned from a meeting with a Ukrainian official with a peace proposal for Ukraine that he gave to former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn prior to Flynn’s departure as head of the agency.
According to the report appearing in the Times, Trump attorney Michael Cohen, New York businessman Felix Sater and Ukrainian parliament member Andriy Artemenko met in a Manhattan hotel at the end of Jaunary to discuss a possible peace plan for Ukraine to be delivered to Flynn.
Mr. Artemenko is a member of the Ukrainian Radical Party opposed to President Petro Poroshenko and is alleged to have ties to the Kremlin.
Under the terms of the plan advanced by Artemenko, if the U.S. were to end sanctions imposed against Russia, the Kremlin would in return end support for pro-separatists in Ukraine.
The Times‘ story states Cohen conceded he delivered the peace proposal to Flynn and Mr. Sater confirmed the account in a separate interview with the newspaper.
In the 24-hour period following publication, Cohen, who did submit for an interview with the Washington Post, offered varying accounts: Cohen originally told the Post he had neither discussed nor delivered a plan to the White House or Flynn, but did admit to meeting with the two men.
Later, Cohen reversed himself, telling Business Insider in a series of text-message exchanges he was not familiar with a Ukraine peace plan, but again acknowledged meeting with the pair in New York and indicated the proposal offered by Artemenko had been approved by the Kremlin.
Shortly after news stories appeared in the Times, Post and Business Insider, NBC News reported Cohen had again changed his story, dismissively responding there was no harm in him assuming the role of a courier for a peace plan to the crisis in Ukraine.
Since details of the matter have emerged, Cohen has rejected news stories related to the episode as “fake news” and has maintained he never delivered the proposal to the White House or Flynn.
Radio Free Europe reported on Tuesday that Mr. Artemenko is under investigation for possible treasonous activity over his role in the ploy.
The New York Times told NBC News it stands by its reporting on the story.
[NBC News] [Business Insider] [Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty] [Photo courtesy CNN via New York Daily News]