Cohen was named as a key player in a New York Times story about an effort to enlist now-deposed National Security chief Michael Flynn in a deal to help resolve the Ukraine civil war, in exchange for Russia maintaining de facto control over rebel-held regions.
A deal could lead to sanctions being lifted against Russia.
Cohen, who has business and family ties through his wife to Ukraine, told the Times he delivered a proposal from a sometime business partner in the region, Felix Sater, to Flynn’s White House office.
But he later backtracked on that assertion and told the Washington Post he merely accepted the proposal and told Sater to send it to Flynn, branding the Times report “fake news.”
The papers say Cohen could be one of the figures close to Trump whom American intelligence suspects maintained contact with Russia during the presidential campaign, contacts that Trump has mocked as “fake news.”