Michael Cohen, President Trump’s former lawyer, pled guilty on Thursday to the charge of lying to Congress regarding the Russian Collusion investigation. Cohen had falsely claimed that discussions with Trump about a potential real estate deal in Moscow had ended in January 2016, before the start of the presidential campaign. Cohen now states that he had continued to discuss the Moscow Trump Tower while on the campaign trail signaling that Trump may have also had dealings with Russian actors.
Cohen had claimed he lied out of loyalty to the President and it was an attempt to protect him from the Mueller probe. Trump, on the other hand, has completely refuted Cohen’s testimony. Speaking on the South Lawn before leaving for the G20 summit Trump had attacked the Lawyer’s character. “What he’s trying to do, because he’s a weak person and not a very smart person, what he’s trying to do is end — and it’s very simple, he’s got himself a big prison sentence and he’s trying to get a much lesser prison sentence by making up a story,” said the President.
The prison sentence that the President is referring to is the one Cohen is to receive after he had plead guilty to eight felony charges, involving campaign financing violations, earlier this year. Cohen’s sentencing is scheduled to take place on December 12th. As a result of this plea, he will receive at most five years in prison and a maximum fine of USD 250,000.
While Cohens testimony doesn’t link the President to any collusion, it allegedly connects him to further communication with Russian actors in 2016. Trump had stated that although he did not continue pursuing the project, it would have been completely legal for him to do so as he was running a business as a private citizen and not a government official.