Published: Fri, November 30, 2018
Global Media | By Garry Long

Trump derides lawyer Michael Cohen as 'weak person' after bombshell guilty plea

Trump derides lawyer Michael Cohen as 'weak person' after bombshell guilty plea

Michael Cohen, US President Donald Trump's former longtime personal lawyer, has admitted to lying to the US Congress in a guilty plea filed to a NY courtroom in a surprise appearance.

The President defended the deal for a possible Trump real estate venture in Moscow. "I was running my business, a lot of different things during the campaign", Mr Trump said.

Cohen said in the hearing that he submitted a false written statement about a Trump Organization real estate project in Moscow.

According to accounts from people in the meeting, given to Congress and elsewhere, the Russians provided a tip about people they said were improperly funneling money to the Democratic National Committee.

Trump speculated that "what he's trying to do is get a reduced sentence". Trump Organisation spokeswoman Amanda Miller and chief legal officer Alan Garten didn't immediately respond to messages seeking comment.

On Tuesday, November 27-only one day after news broke that Manafort's plea deal with Mueller had ended-the New York Times reported that Manafort had been using his attorney, Kevin Downing, to funnel information on Mueller's probe to Trump's lawyers. "Mr Cohen will continue to cooperate". Read the plea agreement here. In early 2016, Trump repeatedly disavowed commercial ties between himself and Russian Federation and claimed that all contact between his company and Russian Federation had terminated.

The one charge of making false statements had to do with testimony he gave to Congress. At the time, he told the investigators that the Moscow project ended "before the Iowa caucus and months before the first primary".

Cohen said that efforts to construct a Trump property in Moscow, the Russian capital, actually continued until June 2016 - several months more than he has said previously.

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Democratic Representative Jerrold Nadler, of NY, left, now the incoming Democratic chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, speaks as Democratic Representative Sheila Jackson Lee, of Texas, center, listens during a news conference on Capitol Hill, on May 24. Trump has issued repeated denials.

Cohen even had a 20-minute phone conversation with this official's assistant, in which he "described his position at the company and outlined the proposed Moscow Project".

And what else has Cohen agreed to talk about?

"That was a project that we didn't do, I didn't do". Trump ultimately didn't make the trip.

Once known as Trump's "pit bull" and right-hand man, Cohen was privy to multi-million-dollar deals and payments to two alleged lovers - whose claims could have potentially sabotaged his boss's 2016 election.

But now Cohen isn't solving problems for Trump, he's causing them.

"He's a weak person and not a very smart person", Mr Trump told reporters of Mr Cohen. He said sentencing in the case is scheduled for December 12.

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