Trump Ex-lawyer Admits Lying to Congress
US President Donald Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen has pleaded guilty to lying to Congress in relation to the Russia inquiry.
Cohen admitted misleading lawmakers on talks during the presidential race about a Trump property deal in Moscow.
Mr. Trump said his former right-hand man was “lying” to seek a reduced sentence.
In August, Cohen pleaded guilty to violating finance laws during the 2016 presidential election by handling hush money for Mr Trump’s alleged lovers.
Thursday’s hearing was the latest twist in the US Department of Justice special counsel’s investigation into whether Mr Trump or his inner circle colluded with an alleged Russian attempt to influence the 2016 presidential election.
What did President Trump say?
As he left the White House for a G20 summit in Buenos Aires, Mr Trump told reporters of Cohen: “He’s a weak person and not a very smart person.
“He’s got himself a big prison sentence. And he’s trying to get a much lesser prison sentence by making up this story.”
Mr. Trump told reporters of the Moscow real estate project, which never came to fruition: “When I’m running for president that doesn’t mean I’m not allowed to do business.”
He added: “He’s lying about a project that everybody knew about. I mean, we were very open with it.”
Up until now, Michael Cohen had been a tangential figure in Donald Trump’s Russia-related headaches. After his plea agreement with the special counsel’s office, however, he’s now smack dab in the middle of Robert Mueller’s probe.
In particular, Cohen is sharing information with the special counsel about Mr Trump’s Russian business interests – including efforts to build a Trump Tower in Moscow – which, according to the president’s former personal lawyer, continued well into Mr Trump’s presidential campaign.
That runs counter to the president’s continued insistence that he had no financial ties to Russia – an assertion he frequently made when questioned about his past praise of Russian President Vladimir Putin and efforts to improve US-Russian relations.