Michael Cohen pleads guilty to lying to Congress

Hannah Rogers
November 30, 2018

President Donald Trump's former attorney Michael Cohen has pleaded guilty to lying to Congress as part of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, CBS News confirms.

US President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Michael Cohen leaves the US Courthouse in NY on April 26, 2018.

The Cohen case was filed in NY a week after Trump and his lawyers provided Mueller with responses to written questions and is the first new charge filed by the special counsel since the appointment of Matthew Whitaker, who has spoken critically about the investigation, as acting attorney general with oversight of the probe.

Cohen admitted he lied to Congress about the extent of Trump's involvement with the project in an attempt to hinder the Trump-Russia investigation and to protect Trump.

Michael Cohen, former personal attorney to President Donald Trump, exits federal court, November 29, 2018 in New York City.

What has he told Mr Mueller about that fateful Trump Tower meeting in which members of the Trump campaign team met Russians promising dirt on Hillary Clinton?

But the criminal complaint filed Thursday depicts Cohen in regular contact with Putin's top spokesman Dmitry Peskov during that period, seeking to arrange a trip by Trump to Russian Federation to meet Putin. Given he was Trump's right-hand man for so many years, he is likely to have useful information on many topics of interest to Mueller.

"Now here's the thing". I wanted that to be my primary focus. He has said the project was in its early stages in the fall of 2015, as Trump's presidential campaign heated up. Cohen had been referring to Trump as Individual One throughout.

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.

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

Paul Manafort President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman leaves the Federal District Court after a hearing in Washington. Manafort’s attorneys are heading to court Friday at a time of frenetic acti

In August, Mr Cohen pleaded guilty to campaign finance violations, tax evasion and bank fraud in a case brought by federal prosecutors in NY.

Cohen initially told Congress that the Trump Tower project in Moscow had ended by January 2016.

"Individual 1" is, as the document points out, who Cohen worked for at a Manhattan-based real estate company.

Cohen says he mislead Congress because he didn't want to contradict Trump's political messaging. "Sentencing is set for December 12", said Guy Petrillo, another of Cohen's lawyers.

Nadler did not go so far as to say the president could face impeachment, but rather that the issue should be revisited if a congressional investigation were to uncover further troubling evidence.

It was actually discussed "multiple times" within the Trump Organization, and these discussions carried on into June 2016, less than six months before the election.

Adult-film star Stormy Daniels was given $US130,000 ($178,000) and former Playboy model Karen McDougal was paid $US150,000 ($205,385).

"Michael Cohen is lying and he's trying to get a reduced sentence", Trump said. And lying to investigators, Mueller's office asserted, was an egregious violation of that agreement. As for why the most recent deal failed, Trump said he made the decision himself for one main reason.

As he spoke, a member of Robert Mueller's team looked on at the investigation's newest cooperating witness in action. "Downing's discussions with the president's team violated no laws, they helped contribute to a deteriorating relationship between lawyers for Mr. Manafort and Mr. Mueller's prosecutors, who accused Mr. Manafort of holding out on them despite his pledge to assist them in any matter they deemed relevant".

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Thankfully, ITV's stepped in to quash the rumours, calling them "absolute rubbish", as Digital Spy reports. Earlier in the day, McPartlin had wished Willoughby good luck before taking on her new TV job.

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