Donald Trump's lawyer Michael Cohen pleads guilty to lying to Congress

Donald Trump's lawyer Michael Cohen pleads guilty to lying to Congress

President Trump's longtime former personal attorney and fixer Michael Cohen returned to federal court in NY today to admit that he lied to House and Senate intelligence committees on details concerning efforts to open a Trump Tower in Moscow.

Cohen entered his guilty plea in federal court in Manhattan to one count of making false statements to Congress in an investigation by lawmakers into whether Trump's campaign worked with Russian Federation to sway the 2016 USA election in his favour.

Michael Cohen, left, walks out of federal court with his attorney Guy Petrillo, Thursday, Nov. 29, 2018, in NY. Instead, he was represented by attorneys Guy Petrillo and Amy Lusker.

One of the prosecutors working with Special Counsel Robert Mueller was present in the courtroom.

After entering his plea, Cohen addressed the court for several minutes. But that even if Cohen weren't lying, the president said, he hadn't broken any law. Cohen is cooperating with Mueller and has met with his team seven times, prosecutors say.

Cohen said he lied to be consistent with Trump's "political message".

"That description was false".

Mueller charged Cohen with purposely lying about the date the project ended in order to "give the false impression that the Moscow Project ended before 'the Iowa caucus and ... the very first primary, ' in hopes of limiting the ongoing Russian Federation investigations".

More news: Trump says Mueller's 'gone rogue' after dumping Manafort plea deal

The president said Thursday Mr. Cohen was lying - though Mr. Trump said there was nothing illegal about pursuing a business deal. Cohen responded, "My trip before Cleveland".

Cohen added Thursday that he once spoke to someone in the Kremlin for approximately 20 minutes. Cohen is expected to give dozens of hours of testimony that could implicate Trump as part of the new deal.

Cohen admitted he lied when he told Congress he never agreed to travel to Russian Federation for the project, and falsely claimed that he "never considered" asking Trump to travel to Russian Federation in 2016.

Cohen's guilty plea on Thursday may signal his hope for a lighter sentence in exchange for continuing his cooperation with Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election and whether Trump colluded with Moscow.

Cohen once famously vowed he would take a bullet for Mr Trump, but in April this year the pugnacious attorney's home and office were raided by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Cohen pleaded guilty in August earlier this year to eight charges, including campaign finance violations that he said he carried out in co-ordination with Trump.

In doing so, he said that Trump told him to arrange payments, before the 2016 election, to buy the silence of adult film actress Stormy Daniels and a former Playboy model who allege they had affairs with Trump. While the president does have executive authority to pardon any individual, Jackson Lee said any sign of "attachments or quid pro quos" to the pardon, such as Manafort hiding damaging information about Trump from investigators, would be "worthy of investigating". He faces up to five years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release.

Cohen - once a staunch Trump loyalist - was interviewed in October a year ago behind closed doors by congressional investigators.

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