Michael Cohen pleads guilty to lying to Congress
- Patrick Harmon
The sentencing submission traced Cohen's background and sought to downplay the non-Trump related charges to which Cohen pleaded guilty. This is a different issue than his earlier guilty pleas for committing fraud and breaking campaign laws.
RYAN LUCAS, BYLINE: Good morning.
"That determination has not been made yet", Prosecutor Andrew Weissmann said at a federal court hearing in Washington. He now says that that was a lie.
On June 9, 2016, Trump Jr., Manafort and Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, met with a Kremlin-connected lawyer at Trump Tower in NY about getting "dirt" on Democrat Hillary Clinton. Generally, in cases like this one, you'd need a key witness like Manafort to provide accurate information to implicate other key figures. What does it say about Individual One?
Cohen's sentencing submission also describes how Cohen's life changed following the April FBI raid on his home, office and hotel room.
LUCAS: A Manhattan-based real estate company. "For you, it's a future president Trump".
INSKEEP: It's someone who happened to have a campaign of some sort in 2016 who was talking about - his aides were talking about him traveling to Russian Federation around the time of the convention where he was the nominee.
That deal is believed to be his proposal to build a Trump Tower in Moscow - with the president reportedly planning to gift Russian leader Vladimir Putin a $50million penthouse at the top of the building.
"COHEN requested assistance in moving the project forward, both in securing land to build the proposed tower and financing the construction", the plea agreement says. He also kept his family members abreast of those negotiations.
Cohen said he also lied about his contacts with Russian officials and lied when he said he never agreed to travel to Russia in connection with the project and never discussed with Trump plans to travel to Moscow to support the project. They concern some of the central questions of the investigation, including why the incoming Trump administration discouraged Russian Federation from retaliating over sanctions imposed for election hacking; who knew what when about illegally obtained Democratic emails; and how plans for a Trump Tower in Moscow came together and fell apart. This only underscores the fact that the Democrats' opposition to Trump, to the extent that it exists, is entirely focused on tactical disagreements over United States imperialist foreign policy, with the Democratic Party attacking the militarist and semi-fascist Trump from the right on his posture toward Moscow.
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Cohen didn't then have a cooperation deal, but his lawyer said Cohen was eager to help the government. It turns out that that was not true.
For Sean Spicer, the first White House press secretary, that included falsely insisting, on Trump's first day in office, that his inaugural crowd was the biggest in history. Obviously the pre-meeting trip (you only) can happen anytime you want but the 2 big guys where [sic] the question.
He repeated variations of that claim throughout the campaign, including during the second general election debate with Hillary Clinton. Stories are being spread. Mueller has already indicted 25 Russians as part of a criminal "conspiracy" to influence the election.
LUCAS: That is correct. And the first primary in the 2016 presidential elections began in hopes of limiting the Russian Federation investigation. Warner and other Democrats say the prospect of increasing pressure from Mueller's office means the Senate must pass legislation that would protect him from being pressured or fired by the president.
LUCAS: President Trump spoke today to reporters before heading out to the G-20 summit.
LUCAS: Now, a couple of things to note here. So he's lying about a project that everybody knew about. Papadopoulos, the former campaign aide, said he had lied to Federal Bureau of Investigation agents about his interactions with Russian government intermediaries because he hoped to secure a job in the new Trump administration.
Cohen looped in Trump's adult children Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump, copying them on emails about it in late 2015, according to a person close to the Trump Organization.
"Everybody knows about this deal". Ryan, thanks so much.
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