JARRETT: Cohen Guilty Plea DOES NOTHING to Show Wrongdoing by Trump


The real estate project ultimately fell through, but Thursday's revelations put new pressure on President Trump as they suggest he was engaged in business dealings with Russian Federation in the midst of his campaign.

As President Donald Trump took part in the Group of 20 summit in Argentina on Friday, pressure on him was building back in Washington from Special Counsel Robert Mueller's long-running investigation into Russian meddling in USA politics.

He entered his guilty plea in federal court in Manhattan to one count of making false statements to two congressional panels about the project.

There is also no clear link in the court filings between Cohen's lies and Mr Mueller's central question of whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russian Federation.

During the campaign, while publicly espousing a conciliatory relationship with Putin, Trump was repeatedly dismissive of claims that he had connections to the Kremlin, an issue that flared as especially sensitive in the summer of 2016 after the Democratic National Committee and a cybersecurity company asserted that Moscow was behind a punishing cyberattack on the party's network. Cohen had worked for Trump for about a decade - first at the Trump Organization and later as a close aide during his boss's campaign for the White House.

Trump responded by describing his ex-attorney as "very weak".

Democrats and other critics said the latest revelations from Mueller's investigation have cast Trump's actions in a questionable light. Cohen said that in fact, those efforts continued until June 2016, after Trump had clinched the Republican presidential nomination. The new case has been transferred to the judge handling the earlier one, and Cohen is seeking to be sentenced on both at the same time. "It's no surprise that Cohen lied to Congress". Trump this week accused Cohen of lying to spare himself time in prison - an allegation that is sure to be fueled by Cohen's request for a punishment that includes no time behind bars.

Though Trump regularly complains about Mueller's style, there's nothing unusual about prosecutors pursuing false statement charges to send a message and using their lies for cases against higher-level targets.

"There would be nothing wrong if I did do it", Mr Trump said of pursuing the Moscow project. Mueller's team has been trying to determine whether anyone with the Trump campaign conspired with WikiLeaks or the Russian government to bolster Trump's chances of winning the White House. His son and other campaign staffers were meeting with Russian government intermediaries.

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"In agreeing to cooperate with Mueller, "[Cohen] acted knowing that the result would be personal attacks on him by the President, a bevy of advisers and public relations specialists, and political supporters of the President, as well as threats to him", his lawyers add. But the pair have known each other since the 1980s, as Manafort was part of a lobbying firm that did work on behalf of the real estate magnate.

Mueller is investigating whether the Trump election campaign in 2016 colluded with Russian efforts to damage his opponent, Hillary Clinton, and whether Trump has sought to illegally obstruct the investigation.

But the charges at minimum raise questions about the vetting of people in Trump's orbit.

A representative for the Agalarovs, Ike Kaveladze, also attended that conference on June 9 in New York City.

They are trying to undermine anything that he might say to the special counsel's office and what the public might learn about Trump's business dealings, as well as, you know, what he has to say about the broader Russian Federation investigation.

The contrast between Cohen's statement and Trump Jr's version of events may complicate potential legal problems for Trump Jr.

Prosecutor Andrew Weissmann told the judge that prosecutors had not yet decided whether to file new charges against Manafort for the alleged lies, saying, "That determination has not been made yet".

Corsi's withdrawal from his plea negotiations also may be a setback to the Justice Department: If prosecutors believed they could reach an agreement with Corsi that saved them a jury trial and secured another cooperating witness, that has now fallen through.

He declined to identify who might be involved or how often he has referred cases to Mueller, but Burr did allude to Cohen's plea as an example of what he called the consequences that could be involved.