Michael Cohen, the former bagman (er…”personal attorney”) for President Trump, has pleaded guilty today to lying to Congress as part of a plea deal with Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Here’s the federal information.
Cohen admitted to making false statements to the House and Senate Intelligence Committees about his work to develop a potential Trump Tower in Moscow after the presidential campaign had begun, and his communications with Trump and the Trump Organization about the project. He also lied about his communications with top Russian officials about the project. Cohen now says that this work was going on at least through the first half of 2016 — including multiple communications with the office of Dmitry Peskov, President Vladimir Putin’s press secretary — and that he was in active communication with Trump about the project as the campaign unfolded. This contradicts various statements that Trump himself has made.
According to the federal information, Cohen admitted to making the false statements to Congress to minimize links between the Moscow project and Trump (named here only as “Individual 1”), and “give the false impression that the Moscow Project ended before ‘the Iowa Caucus and…the very first primary,’ in hopes of limiting the ongoing Russia investigations.”
Cohen previously pleaded guilty in August to federal charges in a separate case in New York, stating that he had made illegal campaign contributions at Trump’s direction. That case involved alleged hush money paid to women that say they had affairs with Trump.
Reporters asked Trump, who now says Cohen is a liar and a bum, why he stuck with him for twelve years in such a trusted role, taking care of his dirty work.
“Because a long time ago he did me a favor,” Trump said. “A long time ago he did me a favor.”
p.s. Trump said yesterday that a pardon for former campaign manager Paul Manafort is “not off the table.” And on it goes.