Trump says he wouldn't take Manafort pardon 'off the table'

30 November, 2018, 03:45 | Author: Clarence Schmidt
  • Does Manafort have any credibility left? | LRC Presents: All the President's Lawyers

"It's no surprise that Cohen lied to Congress".

Michael Cohen, a former personal attorney to US President Donald Trump, pleaded guilty in NY to lying to Congress about a Moscow real estate project that Trump and his company pursued during the months he was running for president.

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.

The incoming chair of the panel, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., told reporters on Thursday morning that in the wake of Cohen's guilty plea, "we believe other witnesses were untruthful before our committee".

Cohen's new guilty plea is the latest development in a wide-ranging investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller into Russian interference in the 2016 election. Mueller's is investigating "links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump".

The Washington Post reported previous year Mr Cohen had emailed Dmitry Peskov, Mr Putin's spokesman, seeking his help in advancing a stalled Trump Tower development project in Moscow at the same time Mr Trump was running for president.

Mr Cohen testified in August that Mr Trump had directed him to commit a crime by arranging payments to silence two women who alleged before the 2016 election they had affairs with Mr Trump. "That was my business", he said, and then added that the only reason Cohen pleaded guilty Thursday was to avoid getting a long prison sentence.

"Cohen discussed the status and progress of the Moscow Project with Individual 1 on more than the three occasions Cohen claimed to the [congressional] committee", the court filing says.

I assume we will discuss the rejected proposal to build a Trump property in Moscow that was terminated in January of 2016; which occurred before the Iowa caucus and months before the very first primary.

Cohen at one point discussed traveling himself to Russian Federation as they sought government approval for the project.


What did President Trump say?

Reacting to the plea, House Speaker Paul Ryan said Cohen "should be prosecuted to the extent of the law".

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

"But zero, I mean I will tell you right now, zero, I have nothing to do with Russian Federation", he said.

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.

The document does not identify Individual 2, but people familiar with the investigation said it is Sater.

"You know this flipping stuff is bad", Trump, who has repeatedly called for Mueller's "witch hunt" led by "angry Democrats" to come to an end, told the Post.

Stone's statements about WikiLeaks have been under the microscope; Trump Jr.'s statements about the 2016 Trump Tower meeting and the Moscow Project are also of interest. Sater said he spoke only to Cohen about the project.

The president reportedly denied a political associate, Roger Stone, had tipped him off that Wikileaks would publish hacked Democratic emails, and said he had no knowledge of a 2016 meeting at Trump Tower between his son and a Russian lawyer promising dirt on Hillary Clinton. Guidelines call for little to no prison on the new charge.

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