Michael Cohen in court: Trump ex-lawyer admits lying to Congress

Michael Cohen in court: Trump ex-lawyer admits lying to Congress

Rep. Jerrold Nadler, the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, said the guilty plea shows that special counsel Robert Mueller's work must continue and Democrats must take action in January once they take control of the House.

But after pleading guilty, he said his conscience required him to tell the truth about Trump.

He also criticized Cohen, saying he was "a weak person and what he's trying to do is get a reduced sentence". Cohen told both the Senate and House intelligence panels the real estate project had ended before the political primary season began, according to a court document.

He added: "He's lying about a project that everybody knew about". "This was a project that we didn't do, I didn't do".

Thursday's plea was regarding Cohen's false testimony to Congress about Trump's efforts to build a hotel in Moscow.

"I made these mis-statements to be consistent with individual 1's [Trump's] political messaging and out of loyalty to individual 1", Mr Cohen said in court.

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Sater sent Cohen an email expressing optimism: "Let's make this happen and build a Trump Moscow".

Still, the case underscores how Trump's business entity, the Trump Organization, was negotiating business in Moscow at the same time investigators believe that Russians were meddling on his behalf in the 2016 election, and that associates of the president were mining Russian connections during the race.

He also admitted lying about his contacts with Russian officials, and about discussing whether he or Trump should travel to Russia in connection with the project.

In a press scrum outside court moments after the hearing, Cohen said nothing to reporters. Cohen previously said he never received a response and the project was halted that month.

And what else has Cohen agreed to talk about? "You're going to see Michael Cohen be a real linchpin here".

In August Cohen, who had been Mr Trump's personal lawyer for more than a decade, pleaded guilty to eight criminal charges, including tax evasion, bank fraud and campaign finance violations.

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Thursday, Trump suggested that his consideration of a Moscow tower was all part of being a businessman who was also running for president.

Undisclosed payments to bury embarrassing stories about a political candidate can be treated as a violation of U.S. campaign finance laws. Cohen used to describe himself as Trump's pit bull and delighted in jousting with the celebrity businessman's enemies, once asserting that he would "take a bullet" for his longtime boss.

What else is going on with the Mueller inquiry?

After his former campaign chairman struck a deal with prosecutors in September, Trump said he was not anxious about Manafort cooperating.

In August, Cohen pleaded guilty to charges involving his arrangement of payouts of hush money to those women - widely thought to be porn star Stormy Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougal - before the 2016 election. He has said the project was in its early stages in the fall of 2015, as Trump's presidential campaign heated up.

On Jan. 14, 2016, just weeks before the Republican party caucus in Iowa, Cohen emailed the office of Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov asking for help getting the Trump Tower Moscow project off the ground.

But the most recent news from the investigation suggests that Mueller, a cagey former FBI director, is holding back and could have more shocks in store for the United States leader as he nears the conclusion of the 18-month-old investigation.

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