Former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen pleads guilty to lying to Congress

Hugh Fox
November 30, 2018

Following news of Michael Cohen's new plea deal with Special Counsel Robert Mueller, his longtime friend Donny Deutsch hinted that while he's in hot water for admittedly lying to Congress, he remains a key Russian Federation probe source from President Donald Trump's inner circle.

Cohen pled guilty on Thursday for lying to Congress as part of its investigation. And nothing said in court, or in associated court filings, addressed whether Trump or his aides had directed Cohen to mislead Congress.

"He's a weak person", Trump told reporters on the White House South Lawn before departing for Buenos Aires, Argentina.

"That was a project that we didn't do, I didn't do".

However, Trump maintained that "there would've been nothing wrong if I did do it".

Cohen told a NY court that he had made false statements to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence about an aborted Trump organization real estate project in Russian Federation.

At issue with Stone, a GOP political operative and Trump confidante, is what he knows about the timing and release of WikiLeaks publication of hacked emails from John Podesta and other Democrats during the 2016 presidential campaign.

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Cohen told congressional investigators a year ago that he had sent an email in January 2016 to Dmitry Peskov, Putin's spokesman.

He also said he falsely told Congress he never took any steps toward traveling to Russian Federation, when in fact he had discussed travelling there, although he never did.

Cohen on Thursday morning pleaded guilty to lying to Congress about his involvement in a plan to build Trump Tower in Moscow.

Prosecutors also said that Cohen continued to have contact into the summer of 2016 with Felix Sater, the Russian-born developer who was assisting on the project.

In June 2016, Sater invited Cohen to attend an economic conference in St Petersburg, assuring Cohen he could be introduced to Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, top financial leaders and perhaps Putin, The Post reported.

"Cohen discussed the status and progress of the Moscow Project with [Trump] on more than the three occasions Cohen claimed to the Committee, and he briefed family members of [Trump] within the Company about the project", according to the charging document.

Senior Democrats on the Senate intelligence and judiciary committees believe Donald Trump junior may have given false evidence when testifying about a now famous Trump Tower meeting with Russians in June 2016.

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It also references "Individual 1" in the context of winning the nomination ahead of the 2016 election.

Manafort faces up to five years in prison on the two charges in his plea agreement - conspiracy against the United States and conspiracy to obstruct justice.

On Monday Mueller accused former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort of violating a cooperation deal by lying to investigators.

Outside the courthouse on Thursday (Friday NZT), Guy Petrillo, a lawyer for Cohen said, "Mr Cohen has cooperated".

"Mr Cohen has cooperated, Mr Cohen will continue to cooperate".

The questions turned to the report that Cohen had reached out, via a publicly available email account, to a spokesman for the Kremlin. His lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, said that Cohen was a "proven liar" and that Trump's business organization had voluntarily given Mueller the same documents cited in the guilty plea "because there was nothing to hide". He previously pleaded guilty to arranging illegal payments in the closing days of the 2016 campaign to a porn actress and a Playboy model to keep them from discussing the affairs they said they had with Trump.

Mueller earlier this week said Manafort could face additional charges related to lies they say he told investigators in the almost three months since he cut a plea deal.

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He said Trump is clearly ready for the investigation to come to a close, but more importantly, the country is ready for it to end.

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