UPDATED 9:30 AM PT — Thurs. Nov. 29, 2018
President Trump’s former attorney — Michael Cohen — has pleaded guilty to making false statements to Congress after he reportedly reached a plea agreement with special counsel Robert Mueller.
Cohen made an unexpected appearance at a Manhattan courtroom early Thursday, where he pleaded guilty to lying under oath to Congress when he testified last year about Russian contacts he made while working on plans to build a Trump Tower in Moscow.
Back in August, Cohen pleaded guilty to other federal charges involving his taxi businesses, bank fraud and work he did for the Trump campaign.
President Trump has responded by calling his former attorney a weak person and a liar.
While speaking with reporters outside the White House Thursday, the president accused Cohen of twisting the story about the Trump Tower project to get a lesser prison sentence.
The president claimed everybody knew about the project, and said Cohen is just trying to cut a deal because he’s already facing a lengthy sentence for crimes unrelated to the Trump campaign.
“So, he’s lying about a project that everybody knew about — I mean we were very open with it,” explained President Trump. “We were thinking about building a building, I guess we had on a form it was an option, I don’t know what you’d call it…I decided ultimately not to do it, there would have been nothing wrong if I did do it.”
The president said he was focused on running for the White House, which helped lead to his decision not to do the project.