Four months after he pleaded guilty to campaign finance law violations, former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen has copped to new charges of lying to congressional committees investigating Trump-Russia collusion, according to ABC. His latest plea is part of a new deal reached with Special Counsel Robert Mueller, which had been said to be winding down before its latest burst of activity, including an investigation into Roger Stone's alleged ties to Wikileaks. Stone ally Jerome Corsi this week said he had refused to strike a plea deal with Mueller's investigators, who had accused him of lying.
BREAKING: ABC News reports: Michael Cohen is expected to plead guilty to making false statements to Congress regarding Russia investigation— Evan Rosenfeld (@Evan_Rosenfeld) November 29, 2018
To hold up his end of the deal, Cohen sat for 70 hours of testimony with the Mueller probe, he said Monday during an appearance at a federal courthouse in Manhattan where he officially pleaded guilty to one count of making false statements.
According to the Hill, Cohen's alleged lies stem from testimony he gave in 2017, when he told the House Intelligence Committee that a planned real-estate deal to build the Trump Moscow Hotel had been abandoned in January 2016 after the Trump Organization decided that "the proposal was not feasible." While Cohen's previous plea was an agreement with federal prosecutors in New York, this marks the first time Cohen has been charged by Mueller.
As part of his plea Cohen admitted to lying in a written statement to Congress about his role in brokering a deal for a Trump Tower Moscow - the aborted project to build a Trump-branded hotel in the Russian capitol. As has been previously reported, Cohen infamously contacted a press secretary for President Putin to see if Putin could help with some red tape to help start development, though the project was eventually abandoned.
Though, according to Cohen's plea, discussions about the project continued through the first six months of the Trump administration. Cohen had discussed the Trump Moscow project with Trump as recently as August 2017, per a report in the Guardian.
The first indication that Cohen might have lied to Congress surfaced in a Yahoo News report back in May, which claimed that Cohen's pursuit of the Trump Moscow project had continued for longer than he had acknowledged in his testimony. The report alleged that Cohen was involved in deal talks as late as May 2016.
As a reporter for NBC News pointed out on twitter, Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr and ranking member Mark Warner foreshadowed today's plea back in August after Cohen pleaded guilty to the campaign finance violations.
REMINDER: this is the statement Senate Intel Chair Burr & Vice Chair Warner released in August in response to Michael Cohen pleading guilty back in August. They mention reengaging with Cohen following conflicting statements he made to the committee. pic.twitter.com/EtitP9VhHw— Marianna Sotomayor (@MariannaNBCNews) November 29, 2018
Also notable: The plea comes just as President Trump is leaving for a 10-hour flight to Argentina. In recent days, Trump appeared to step up attacks on the Mueller probe, comparing it to McCarthyism and questioning why the DOJ didn't pursue charges against the Clintons.
Just as Trump prepares to leave the White House for a 10-hour flight to Argentina https://t.co/W1T55NvVtk— Jennifer Epstein (@jeneps) November 29, 2018
Cohen will be sentenced on Dec. 12, as scheduled. By cooperating, Cohen is hoping to avoid prison, according to his lawyer. While this was probably lost on prosecutors, Cohen's admission smacks of the "lair's paradox."
Enter 'paradox of the liar' https://t.co/JtFqDDwy1c— RANsquawk (@RANsquawk) November 29, 2018
Read the full plea agreement below: