Donald Trump and his aides continued negotiations about a potential Trump Tower project in Moscow well into the 2016 presidential campaign, his ex-lawyer Michael Cohen acknowledged in a guilty plea in a NY federal court on Thursday.
Prosecutors said in a court document that Cohen had misled Congress to give a false impression that the Moscow project had ended before the Iowa caucus and first Republican presidential primary in 2016.
Cohen on Thursday morning pleaded guilty to lying to Congress about his involvement in discussions to build a Trump Tower in Moscow.
The tower idea came back yet again in October 2015, when Andrey Rozov, an obscure Russian real estate developer, signed a letter of intent sent by Cohen to advance the construction of a Trump World Tower that would feature 250 luxury condos, no fewer than 15 floors of hotel rooms, commercial and office space, a fitness center and an Ivanka Trump spa.
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.
According to the plea agreement from the special counsel's office, in exchange for his guilty plea Cohen will not be prosecuted further for false statements to Robert Mueller's team or Congress, or for "obstructing, aiding or abetting" in such perjury.
On Wednesday (Thursday NZT), Trump denounced Cohen when reporters asked about the case as he left the White House.
File image of Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump's former attorney. "This was a project that we didn't do, I didn't do". "There would be nothing wrong if I did do it".
"He's a weak person".
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At issue with Stone, a GOP political operative and Trump confidante, is what he knows about the timing and release of WikiLeaks publication of hacked emails from John Podesta and other Democrats during the 2016 presidential campaign. He was perfectly within his rights to continue to run his businesses even as he pursued the presidency, he said.
But his lawyer said: "Mr Cohen has co-operated".
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.
In June 2016, Sater invited Cohen to attend an economic conference in St Petersburg, assuring Cohen he could be introduced to Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, top financial leaders and perhaps Putin, The Post reported.
He noted that Cohen's crimes - like many of Mueller's indictments - are seemingly "unrelated to the Trump campaign".
The document does not identify Individual 2, but people familiar with the investigation said it is Sater.
It also references "Individual 1" in the context of winning the nomination ahead of the 2016 election.
Come Jan. 3, the House version of that committee will no longer help Trump undercut special counsel Robert Mueller's Russian Federation investigation and will nearly certainly help it instead. But both Mueller's and Manafort's legal teams requested in their Monday court filing that a judge move forward without delay in scheduling a sentencing hearing, making it unclear whether the February sentencing date could be moved up.