Donald Trump's 'fixer' pleads guilty to lying to Congress

President Donald Trump's longtime personal lawyer Michael Cohen pleaded guilty on Thursday to making false statements to Congress regarding a Trump Organization real estate project in Moscow, prompting Trump to call Cohen a liar and a "weak person".

Cohen said he secretly used shell companies to make payments used to silence former Playboy model Karen McDougal and adult-film actress Stormy Daniels for the objective of influencing the 2016 election.

ABC anchor George Stephanopoulos tweeted out the breaking news Thursday morning and underscored that, along with the guilty plea, Cohen is expected to provide "dozens of hours of testimony potentially damaging to Pres Trump", which the special counsel "values".

Thursday marked the first time Mueller's team charged Cohen as part of its investigation into Russian meddling and potential collusion with Trump campaign associates during the 2016 presidential election.

Napolitano said that Mueller's investigation could continue "well into 2019". "I have been advised by federal prosecutors that the NY action is, in part, a referral by the Office of Special Counsel, Robert Mueller".

"I think that this is the report in real time", Sandick told TPM.

President Donald Trump on Thursday described Michael Cohen as a "weak person" and accused him of lying in court to get a reduced sentence, lashing out at his former lawyer after Cohen offered bombshell revelations in court. He also admitted that he lied on his taxes, and for those crimes he likely faces three to five years in prison, according to his earlier plea agreement.

Trump told reporters at the White House on Wednesday that Cohen is lying - but that even if he weren't lying, the president said he hadn't broken any law.

The nine-page charging document for Cohen traces the behind-the-scenes communication about the project that nearly became reality in October 2015 when an obscure Russian real estate developer signed a letter of intent sent by Cohen for a 15-floor hotel, condominium and retail complex in Moscow.

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Trump said he ultimately decided not to pursue a real estate project in Russian Federation, but it isn't clear precisely how discussions ended over the notional Trump Tower in Moscow.

He added, "I assure you - knowing the way the feds operate - that Michael Cohen has been extensively debriefed before he brought him into a courtroom to say anything, and they've probably already verified everything that he's given them". "He's 100 percent cooperating and the prosecutors appeared to have become pretty comfortable with what he's saying and that what he is saying is credible". The 52-year-old had always been one of Trump's most loyal and ardent aides, and once claimed he'd "take a bullet" for the president. Cohen had said the talks ended when he determined that the project was not feasible. What the lies were about remains a mystery, but it could underscore what most observers believe: that Mueller has far more evidence than his targets know. But the project ultimately fizzled, Cohen told the committee, and Trump wasn't involved in the decision to abandon the project.

Flanked by his lawyers, Cohen admitted making false statements about the project in 2017 to Senate and House intelligence committees, which at the time were investigating possible connections between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation.

Cotter said that it was significant that a by-the-books prosecutor like Mueller referenced Trump's family explicitly, rather than using a typical prosecutorial "term of art" like "individuals known and not known to the grand jury".

In court, Cohen said, "I made these misstatements to be consistent with Individual 1's political messaging and out of loyalty to Individual 1".

Cohen admitted he lied to Congress about the extent of Trump's involvement with the project in an attempt to hinder the Trump-Russia investigation and to protect Trump.

The Cohen revelations are potentially significant because they appear to show that Trump was engaged in business dealings with Russian Federation in the midst of a campaign in which Moscow interfered to help elect him.

Sater claimed that Peskov invited Cohen to attend a June 2016 conference in St. Petersburg where he'd have the opportunity to meet with Putin or Russia's Prime Minister, according to an exchange included in information. He had a discussion about the project at a later date.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)

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