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

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

In Michael Cohen's explosive testimony in Manhattan federal court on Thursday, he admitted he had been in contact with a Kremlin official in 2016, and had lied to be consistent with Trump's "political messaging" and "to be loyal".

Here is an important passage from their story: "Even before the appointment of Mueller as special counsel in May 2017, FBI agents investigating Russia's interference in the election learned that Cohen was in frequent contact with foreign individuals about Trump Moscow - and that some of these individuals had knowledge of or played a role in 2016 election meddling".

What else is going on with the Mueller inquiry?

Mueller has not yet filed a report that he said will detail the "nature" of Manafort's "crimes and lies".

The president swiftly fired back after news of the new guilty plea broke, blasting Cohen as a "weak person", and claiming his former attorney was "lying" to get a reduced sentence.

But in August, he pleaded guilty to eight felony counts, including two campaign finance violations related to his efforts during the 2016 campaign to silence women who allegedly had affairs with Trump.

A pardon for Paul Manafort is "not off the table", US President Donald Trump said, drawing swift rebuke from critics who fear the president will use his executive power to protect friends and supporters caught up in the Russian Federation probe.

"Michael will continue to work with the SC (Special Counsel) and others until the full truth is told", he tweeted. The committee then canceled the meeting with Cohen, upset that his remarks, which reiterated what he had said in his letter to Congress in August, had been leaked to the press. "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".

After his comments on Cohen, President Trump said he still plans to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the upcoming G20 Summit in Argentina. Cohen had said the talks ended when he determined that the project was not feasible.

Trump was emphatic that Cohen was "lying", but it is unclear what he believes Cohen is lying about.

Cohen provided false statements to both the Senate and House intelligence committees to create the false impression the Moscow real estate project had ended by the time the political primary season began, the charging document said. It is not known, however, whether Mueller will seek to follow up with more questions for Trump, now almost halfway through his term in the White House.

On Monday, his prosecutors said in a court filing that former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort had lied to them, breaching a plea agreement.

Mueller has already shown he has evidence that the Trump campaign and Trump's family entertained offers of dirt on Clinton from Russian Federation.

Cohen worked on the deal with Felix Sater, a Russian-born developer and USA citizen, who served as a deal broker on the project. Corsi's associate Roger Stone and Donald Trump Jr. may also be on the hook for things they've said in the past on separate matters.

  • Jon Douglas