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Michael Cohen pleads guilty in Robert Mueller’s Russia probe

Posted at 8:12 AM, Nov 29, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-29 11:13:53-05
Michael Cohen
Michael Cohen

Michael Cohen, President Trump’s former lawyer, pleaded guilty Thursday to lying to Congress as part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, CBS News has confirmed. Cohen had pleaded guilty over the summer to violating campaign finance laws.

Cohen emerged from a New York court shortly before 10 a.m. but did not answer questions from the throng of reporters waiting for him outside.

The Associated Press reported that Cohen’s false statement to lawmakers was related to plans to build a Trump Tower in Moscow.

The president’s former lawyer was interviewed by the House Intelligence Committee in 2017 when it was probing Russian meddling in the presidential election. In Sept. 2017, during the period when he was communicating with Congress, Cohen released a statement describing the project, which, he said, was similar to other projects undertaken by the Trump Organization.

Under the deal, the Trump Organization would license the Trump brand name to a Moscow-based real estate development company that would be responsible for all development and financing costs. He said in the statement that he “determined the proposal was not feasible” by the end of January 2016. During this time, the presidential primaries were about to take place.

Last year, Cohen confirmed to CBS News’ Jeff Pegues that he had spoken with then-candidate Donald Trump three times about a real estate deal in Moscow on three occasions, briefly. The Wall Street Journal had first reported Cohen’s conversations with Mr. Trump on the matter. Cohen told Pegues in August 2017 that the conversations with Mr. Trump on the topic “totaled less than four minutes.” He described it to Pegues as a “significant deal” with proceeds that would have “lasted in perpetuity,” and it would have included office, residential and hotel space in Moscow.

Cohen also told Pegues that he had discussed Mr. Trump a nonbinding letter of intent — later signed by Mr. Trump — and explained to him the economics of the deal. The last time he mentioned the deal to Mr. Trump, it was to notify him that he had ended the agreement, which he said fell apart in the second week of January 2016. Cohen had been working on the deal since October 2015.

Click here to read the plea deal.