President Trump’s former fixer, attorney Michael Cohen, will testify before Congress next month, the chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee announced Thursday. Remember that committee is now Dem-controlled—new chairman Rep. Elijah Cummings thanked for Cohen for agreeing to testify voluntarily. President Trump said he’s not concerned at all about what Cohen might tell Congress. Cohen, who was sentenced to prison in December, is scheduled to testify next month.
President Trump says the federal case against his former lawyer Michael Cohen is an attempt to “embarrass” him. The charges against Cohen—including arranging hush money payments to two porn stars claiming to have had affairs with Trump a decade ago—are not criminal charges, Trump insisted in an interview with Fox News’s Harris Faulkner. Cohen was sentenced on Wednesday to three years behind bars for tax evasion and campaign finance violations.
—QUOTABLE: “I never directed him to do anything wrong…Whatever he did, he did on his own. He’s a lawyer. He did some bad things unrelated to me. In order to embarrass me, he cut a deal.” -Trump
Michael Cohen is going to the clink. The former Trump Organization insider and lawyer was sentenced on Wednesday to three years in prison for his role in what U.S. Judge William Pauley III called a “smorgasbord of criminal conduct.” Cohen, the fourth person to go down in the wake of Robert Mueller’s investigation, landed behind bars for lying to Congress and for campaign finance violations after orchestrating hush money payments to two porn stars who claimed to have had affairs with President Trump a decade ago.
—QUOTABLE: “The charges portray a pattern of deception of brazenness and of greed…Mr. Cohen has eroded faith in the electoral process and compromised the rule of law.” –New York prosecutor Nicholas Roos
ALSO—Cohen once famously claimed he would “take a bullet” for his former boss, President Trump. But commenting during his sentencing, he completely threw Trump under the bus. “It is my own weakness and blind loyalty to this man [Trump] that led me to pursue a path of darkness,” said Cohen, who once relished his nickname within the Trump Organization, ‘Tom Hagen,’ a reference to Robert Duvall’s mob lawyer-fixer character in The Godfather. “History will not remember me as the villain of this story,” he said.
President Trump is fighting back against his former top legal counsel. Former Trump Organization lawyer and presidential adviser Michael Cohen has admitted to deeper involvement in a deal to build a Trump Tower in Moscow and circumventing campaign finance laws than he previously admitted. Court filings indicate Cohen acted at the direction of an individual assumed to be Trump when paying off porn stars Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal to keep quiet about their alleged affairs with Trump a decade ago. In a Twitter storm Sunday, Trump expressed his disapproval of the turning of the tables by Cohen.
—QUOTABLE: “Democrats can’t find a Smocking Gun tying the Trump campaign to Russia after James Comey’s testimony. No Smocking [sic] Gun…No Collusion…That’s because there was NO COLLUSION. So now the Dems go to a simple private transaction, wrongly call it a campaign contribution…which it was not (but even if it was, it is only a CIVIL CASE, like Obama’s – but it was done correctly by a lawyer and there would not even be a fine. Lawyer’s liability if he made a mistake, not me). Cohen just trying to get his sentence reduced. WITCH HUNT!” -Trump tweets
As Robert Mueller starts wrapping up his probe, damning details are starting to leak out. Mainly, the probe will connect President Trump with directing hush money payments prior to the 2016 election, which if true would be a federal crime. While it doesn’t look like there’s proof Trump knowingly and purposely directed his lawyer, Michael Cohen, to pay porn stars Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal to keep quiet about their affairs with Trump a decade earlier, prosectors in Cohen’s case clearly believe Trump knew about the payments.
MEANWHILE—Rep. Adam Schiff says President Trump might be facing the “real prospect of jail time” after prosecutors last week indicated he may have directed illegal hush money payments during the 2016 presidential campaign. That may not happen until he leaves office, Schiff said Sunday on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” But it could also fuel Dems’ calls for impeaching the president.
—QUOTABLE: “There’s a very real prospect that on the day Donald Trump leaves office, the Justice Department may indict him. That he may be the first president in quite some time to face the real prospect of jail time.” -Schiff
Former lawyer and top confidante to President Trump, Michael Cohen, is probably providing information to special counsel Robert Mueller…but it likely has nothing to do with Russian collusion in the 2016 election. Although that’s what Mueller is supposed to be confined to investigating, Cohen is on the record time after time denying any involvement in such a scheme. And Cohen was indicted for lying to Congress, but not for when he made those denials. Which means Cohen—who has worked for the Trump Organization since long before he became president—could be telling Mueller where the bodies are, figuratively speaking, buried.
Sen. Chuck Grassley is accusing Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson of giving his committee “extremely misleading” if not false testimony. The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee grilled Simpson in 2017 about his work with the Democrat Party and the infamous Steele Dossier, which Simpson’s firm produced. Simpson, in his testimony, denied he still worked for the Dems after the 2016 election, but Grassley compared his sworn claims to former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen’s congressional testimony, which have been revealed to be riddled with falsehoods—for which he’s been convicted. The two should be treated the same, Grassley said.
—QUOTABLE: “I hope that the Justice Department is handling all these instances of false statements to Congress with the same level of seriousness they treated Mr. Cohen’s.” -Grassley
—QUOTABLE: “Contrary to Mr. Simpson’s denial in the staff interview, according to the FBI and others, Fusion actually did continue Trump dossier work for a new client after the election.” -Grassley
Michael Cohen, former personal lawyer for President Trump, pleaded guilty to one charge in the Robert Mueller investigation Thursday. Cohen pleaded guilty to making false statements to Congress about his efforts to build a Trump property in Moscow, and working on it through June 2016, much later than he’d previously admitted. Cohen has also pleaded guilty to tax evasion and campaign finance violations as a result of the Mueller probe. Cohen’s plea puts a dent in Trump’s claims he has no financial ties in Russia.
MEANWHILE—President Trump is lashing out at Cohen. While denying his longtime lawyer’s claim Thursday that he was pursuing a deal to build a Trump Tower in Moscow, Trump said Cohen is weak and not very smart. Cohen pleaded guilty Thursday to lying to Congress about his involvement in the development project.
—QUOTABLE: “He’s a weak person, and not a very smart person…He’s lying about a project that everybody knew about.” -Trump
Robert Mueller could kick his probe into high gear after the midterms. The special counsel, investigating alleged Russian conspiracies to alter the 2016 election, has stayed quiet in the run-up to today’s elections. But he’s also been working behind the scenes, grilling a slate of confidantes of President Trump—some of whom, like Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen, are helping the investigation. While Mueller has honored an unwritten code that investigators like him shouldn’t make any major moves within 60 days of an election, all the signals are that if he has new indictments to hand down, he will do it within days or weeks.