Michael Cohen has admitted he lied about a Trump property deal in Russia during the 2016 election.
President Donald Trump’s former lawyer pleaded guilty to lying to Congress. Michael Cohen said he did so out of loyalty to Donald Trump.
The president said his former right-hand man was “lying” to prosecutors in the hope of receiving a reduced sentence.
Special Counsel Robert Mueller is investigating Russia’s role in the 2016 election and whether Donald Trump colluded with it.
In August, Michael Cohen, 52, pleaded guilty to violating finance laws during the 2016 election by handling hush money for Donald Trump’s alleged lovers.
Appearing unexpectedly before a federal judge in Manhattan on November 30, Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to one count of making false statements to Congress.
The president’s former lawyer said at the hearing that he had submitted a false written statement about a Trump Organization plan to build a skyscraper in the Russian capital.
He said in court: “I made these misstatements to be consistent with individual 1’s political messaging and out of loyalty to individual 1.”
Michael Cohen has previously identified “individual 1” as Donald Trump.
He was interviewed in October 2017 behind closed doors by lawmakers conducting their own investigation into whether Donald Trump’s campaign worked with Russia to sway the US election two years ago.
According to the criminal complaint, Michael Cohen told the Senate and House intelligence committees that talks over the Moscow project had lasted from September 2015 until January 2016, while Donald Trump was running for the White House.
However, the document says that “as Cohen well knew”, negotiations over the Moscow project continued until June 2016.
Michael Cohen also told lawmakers he had had limited contact with Donald Trump about the project, when in fact it had been “more extensive”.
Prosecutors said Michael Cohen had tried to give a false impression that the Moscow project ended before the Republican presidential campaign properly began in 2016.
President Donald Trump has said that payments to two women who say he had affairs with them did not break election campaign rules.
His comments come after his ex-lawyer, Michael Cohen, pleaded guilty to violating laws during the 2016 presidential election over his handling of the hush money.
Interviewed by Fox & Friends, President Trump said the payments had come from him personally, not from the campaign.
Donald Trump has in the past denied knowing about one of the payments altogether.
He also accused Michael Cohen of making up stories to receive a lighter sentence.
In an excerpt from the Fox & Friends interview, which will be aired in full on August 23, President Trump responded to questions about the hush payments by insisting that they were “not a campaign violation”.
He said: “They came from me. And I tweeted about it. But they did not come out of the campaign.”
President Trump added that he only found out about the payments “later on”.
The president’s comments contradict a statement made earlier by Michael Cohen under oath in which he said Donald Trump had instructed him to make the payments.
Last month, Michael Cohen released audio tapes of him and Donald Trump allegedly discussing one of the payments before the election.
Michael Cohen, who was Donald Trump’s personal lawyer for more than a decade, admitted passing on funds to two women thought to be Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal.
The hush money payments were not reported to the Federal Election Commission during the campaign.
The question is whether the payments were made to protect Donald Trump’s personal reputation or to protect his image as a presidential candidate.
Under US election rules, any payments made with the aim of influencing a vote must be reported.
Michael Cohen acknowledged in court that the aim was indeed to protect Donald Trump’s candidacy, saying he had paid the money “at the direction” of Trump “for the principal purpose of influencing the election”.
If Donald Trump were to be prosecuted over the money – not through the normal courts, because he is the sitting president, but conceivably in Congress, through an impeachment process – investigators would have to prove that he had indeed given the money to Michael Cohen for electoral reasons.
In his first public comments, back in April, about his alleged affair with Stormy Daniels, President Trump denied knowing about the $130,000 payment made to the actress via Michael Cohen.
Stormy Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, alleges that she and Donald Trump had met in a hotel room in 2006.
Asked by a reporter in the press cabin of Air Force One if he had any knowledge about where Michel Cohen had got the money to pay Stormy Daniels, President Trump responded at the time: “I don’t know.”
The following month, the president officially disclosed a payment to Michael Cohen of between $100,001 and $250,000 for expenses incurred in 2016.
Michael Cohen has reached a plea deal with prosecutors, which may see his prison sentence reduced from 65 years to five years and three months.
On the same day that Michael Cohen pleaded guilty, a jury convicted former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort of bank and tax fraud charges.
It was the first criminal trial arising from the justice department probe led by former FBI chief Robert Mueller.
Robert Mueller has been investigating allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election, and whether the Trump campaign conspired with Russia to swing the election in his favor.
Russia has denied claims it interfered in the elections.
There is no confirmation that Michael Cohen will speak to Robert Mueller’s Russia inquiry but his personal lawyer has said his client is happy to talk.
The Stormy Daniels payment is a potential legal problem for the president because it could be seen as an illegal campaign contribution.
Michael Cohen, whose records relating to the settlement were seized in an FBI raid last month, is now reportedly under criminal investigation.
Stormy Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, alleges that she and Donald Trump had been in a hotel room in Lake Tahoe, a resort area between California and Nevada, in 2006. Michael Cohen said his client “vehemently denies” the claim.
If Stormy Daniels’ account is true, the tryst would have happened just a few months after Melania Trump gave birth to her son, Barron, whose father is Donald Trump.
Last month, President Trump said he was unaware Michael Cohen had paid Stormy Daniels just before the 2016 election.
Donald Trump’s payment to Michael Cohen was first confirmed two weeks ago by Rudy Giuliani, another of the president’s attorneys, in a TV interview.
Rudy Giuliani said the transaction was to keep Stormy Daniels quiet about her “false and extortionist accusation” that she had an affair with Donald Trump, suggesting her claim could have damaged his candidacy.
Later that week, President Trump said the newly hired Rudy Giuliani needed time to “get his facts straight”.
On May 16, the Senate Intelligence Committee backed up the American intelligence community’s findings that Russia interfered in the 2016 US election to help Donald Trump.
The panel’s assessment contradicts a conclusion in March by the House Intelligence Committee rejecting allegations that Russia had aimed to boost Donald Trump’s chances.
Donald Trump’s financial disclosure shows millions in 2017 income from rents, licenses, book and TV royalties, company shares, hotel management fees and golf courses, with interests from India to Dubai.
Trump’s Washington hotel in a former Post Office building brought in more than $40 million in 2017, its first full year in operation.
His golf courses, including the Mar-a-Lago retreat in Palm Beach, did not appear to see major gains, despite frequent visits from the president.
Mar-a-Lago contributed $25 million in income, compared with about $37 million on the previous report.
President Trump reported royalties from his 1987 book The Art of the Deal in the same $100,000-$1 million range as he did last year – and sales for some of his lesser titles picked up.
Many of Donald Trump’s shareholdings are in mutual and index funds, rather than the cross-section of American companies he once owned.
Rudy Giuliani said: “That money was not campaign money. Sorry, I’m giving you a fact now that you don’t know. It’s not campaign money. No campaign finance violation.
“They funneled it through a law firm and the president repaid it.”
He said the repayment was made “over a period of several months”.
Rudy Giuliani added that the president “didn’t know about the specifics of it, as far as I know, but he did know about the general arrangement that Michael would take care of things like this”.
When asked by reporters a month ago if he knew about the payment to Stormy Daniels, President Trump said: “No.”
When asked why the payment was given to Stormy Daniels, the president added: “You’ll have to ask Michael Cohen.”
President Trump might argue that the lawyer “took care of things like this”, as Rudy Giuliani suggested and that he knew nothing of the “specifics”, making the repayment personally later.
Speaking on Fox TV last week, President Trump suggested some knowledge of the matter in admitting Michael Cohen had represented him during the “crazy Stormy Daniels deal”, but did not go into specifics.
Michael Cohen, for his part, told the New York Times in February: “Neither the Trump Organization nor the Trump campaign was a party to the transaction with Ms Clifford, and neither reimbursed me for the payment, either directly or indirectly.”
If Michael Cohen did co-ordinate with the Trump campaign, the $130,000 payment would be a violation of federal election law.
Rudy Giuliani’s comments also raise the question of whether President Trump was repaying an undisclosed loan. Donald Trump’s personal financial disclosure form from June 2017 makes no mention of a debt to Michael Cohen.
Stormy Daniels’ lawyer, Michael Avenatti, said that Americans “should be outraged” at Rudy Giuliani’s comments.
He tweeted: “We predicted months ago that it would be proven that the American people had been lied to as to the $130k payment and what Mr. Trump knew.”
The payment relates to allegations by Stormy Daniels that she had relations with Donald Trump in 2006, allegations he denies.
After initially denying the payment, Michael Cohen eventually admitted he had paid the sum privately to Stormy Daniels, real name Stephanie Clifford, in October 2016 out of his own funds in exchange for her silence in a non-disclosure agreement.
Michael Cohen denied that Donald Trump was a party to the transaction.
The lawyer is now facing a criminal investigation. FBI agents searched his home and office in New York recently in relation to the nondisclosure agreement.
Two months ago, Stormy Daniels filed a lawsuit against the president, alleging that the agreement was invalid because Donald Trump did not sign it.
Stormy Daniels’s lawsuit against President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen has been halted for 90 days, an LA judge has ruled.
Judge James Otero said Michael Cohen’s constitutional rights could be endangered if the case proceeded while he was under criminal investigation.
The actress is seeking to end a non-disclosure deal signed over an alleged relation with Donald Trump in 2006.
Michael Cohen had said he would invoke his right to remain silent over the case.
The lawyer had argued that any statement he made in court could affect a criminal inquiry in New York into his business affairs.
As part of the investigation into the Daniels case, the FBI raided Michael Cohen’s offices for information, including on the non-disclosure agreement with Stormy Daniels – whose real name is Stephanie Clifford – signed days before the 2016 presidential election.
District Judge Otero in Los Angeles said there was “a large potential factual overlap” between the civil and criminal proceedings against Michael Cohen.
The judge said that “would heavily implicate Mr. Cohen’s Fifth Amendment rights”, in a reference to the Constitution’s protection against self-incrimination.
Michael Cohen’s lawyers had earlier asked for the Daniels case to be put on hold for three months.
They had argued that Michael Cohen faced a Catch-22 situation: giving evidence in Los Angeles might mean incriminating himself in New York; while invoking his right to silence in the civil suit could undermine his defense there.
Catch-22 states that no individual can be “compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself”.
Invoking the amendment means Michael Cohen will not have to reveal sensitive information in the wider investigation into his affairs.
A lawyer for Stormy Daniels, Michael Avenatti, earlier described Michael Cohen’s move as a “stunning development”.
The raid on Michael Cohen followed a tip-off by the office of Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and possible collusion with the Trump campaign.
Russia denies interfering in the election and President Trump has denied any collusion.
Separately, Stormy Daniels alleges she had a relationship with Donald Trump in 2006.
President Trump has denied having any relation with Stormy Daniels or any knowledge of the $130,000 payment to her by Michael Cohen during the 2016 presidential campaign.
Stormy Daniels says she accepted the sum in return for signing the non-disclosure agreement.
During a recent TV interview, Stormy Daniels said she had been threatened in 2011 in a Las Vegas car park while she was with her infant daughter, and had been told to keep quiet about her alleged relationship with Donald Trump.
Stormy Daniels is now suing President Trump in an attempt to invalidate the non-disclosure agreement, which she alleges is invalid because he did not sign it personally.
Legal analysts have said that Michael Cohen’s $130,000 payment to Stormy Daniels could have violated the rules on financing Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.
Documents seized from President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen should be reviewed by an independent official, a New York federal judge has ruled.
The so-called special master was named as ex-judge Barbara Jones.
Barbara Jones will review documents seized from Michael Cohen by the FBI to determine if they include confidential communications with his legal clients.
The move comes as President Trump distanced himself from his long-time lawyer.
On April 26, President Trump told Fox News his lawyer was “a good guy” but only one among his “many, many attorneys”.
The president said: “I don’t know his business, but this doesn’t have to do with me. He’s got a business. He also practices law. I would say probably the big thing is his business. And they’re looking at something having to do with his business. I have nothing to do with his business.”
However, President Trump confirmed that Michael Cohen represented him in the “crazy Stormy Daniels deal”, referring to the actress who alleges she had a relationship with him in 2006.
Donald Trump has denied having relations with Stormy Daniels or any knowledge of the $130,000 payment to her by Michael Cohen during the 2016 presidential campaign. Stormy Daniels accepted the sum in return for signing a non-disclosure agreement.
The actress, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, is suing President Trump and Michael Cohen to invalidate the non-disclosure agreement, claiming it was void because the president did not personally sign it.
Michael Cohen said he will invoke his constitutional right to remain silent in the civil case, arguing it could affect the criminal inquiry into his business affairs.
The DoJ announced earlier this month it was investigating Michael Cohen’s business dealings, rather than his work as a lawyer, following a raid on his home and office.
The April 9 raid on Michael Cohen followed a tip-off by the office of Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and possible collusion with the Trump campaign.
Russia denies interfering in the election and President Trump has denied any collusion.
It was unclear if any of those seized documents include material relating to Donald Trump’s business dealings.
Legal analysts have said that Michael Cohen’s $130,000 payment to Stormy Daniels could have violated the rules on financing Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.
On April 26, District Judge Kimba Wood ruled that Barbara Jones would be the first to review the material, before handing over documents prosecutors could use in their case.
Prosecutors had initially said the documents should be reviewed by a separate team of lawyers in their office while Michael Cohen’s lawyers argued they should have the first look, citing some of the material could violate attorney-client privilege.
Judge Kimba Wood said Barbara Jones could meet lawyers as soon as next week, but added she would intervene if the process took too long.
She said: “If at any point it turns out that the special master process is going too slowly, I will revisit it.”
Barbara Jones served as a federal judge for 16 years in the Southern District of New York and is a former organized-crime prosecutor.
The former judge was appointed in 2016 as the independent review officer for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters in a corruption case at the labor union.
Fox News host Sean Hannity has been revealed as the mystery third client of President Donald Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen.
A judge ruled that the president’s personal attorney must reveal the link to Sean Hannity.
April 16 hearing in NYC follows an FBI raid this month on Michael Cohen’s home and office, which Sean Hannity has called an anti-Trump “witch hunt”.
A vocal Trump advocate, Sean Hannity denied he was a client of Michael Cohen.
Sean Hannity, who is known for passionately defending Donald Trump on his Fox News show against what he describes as biased attacks by the media, had never previously divulged any legal ties to the president’s attorney.
FBI agents who raided Michael Cohen’s home and evidence were looking for evidence on various matters, including a $130,000 payment made to actress Stormy Daniels, who alleges she had an affair with Donald Trump and was paid “hush money”.
During April 16 hearing, the judge deny Michael Cohen’s attempts to prevent prosecutors from reviewing the materials seized in the FBI raids.
President Trump’s attorney says the computers, phones and documents should be protected under attorney-client privilege.
However, Judge Kimba Wood ruled his application for a preliminary injunction was premature.
She allowed prosecutors to proceed with the cataloguing of evidence seized in the raids while a system is set up to ensure that records protected by attorney-client privilege are not disclosed to investigators.
However, the judge will also consider appointing a “special master” to play a supervisory role in the process.
Just before hearing, Michael Cohen said in a statement that he had only provided advice to three clients in the past year.
One was Donald Trump. Another was a Republican fundraiser who admitted to paying a former Playboy model after she became pregnant during their affair.
The third client, Michael Cohen said, had refused to give him permission to be publicly named.
However, Judge Wood made one of the lawyers identify Sean Hannity.
There were gasps and some laughter in the courtroom after the announcement, and some journalists raced out of the courtroom to report the revelation.
Sean Hannity responded on Twitter: “In response to some wild speculation, let me make clear that I did not ask Michael Cohen to bring this proceeding on my behalf, I have no personal interest in this proceeding, and, in fact, asked that my de minimis discussions with Michael Cohen, which dealt almost exclusively about real estate, not be made a part of this proceeding.”
He later issued a statement of denial, saying: “Michael Cohen has never represented me in any matter.
“I have occasionally had brief discussions with him about legal questions about which I wanted his input and perspective.
“I assumed those conversations were confidential, but to be absolutely clear they never involved any matter between me and a third party.”
After last week’s raid on Michael Cohen’s offices, Sean Hannity took to the airwaves to denounce the probe as a “declared war against the president of the United States”.
Also in the Manhattan federal court was Stormy Daniels, whose appearance triggered a scrum by photographers outside.
Michael Cohen has admitted making a payment to Stormy Daniel, who claims the money was to keep her quiet about an affair she says she had with Donald Trump in 2006.
The president’s attorney says he made the payment just before the 2016 election, but maintains Donald Trump did not know about it.
Michael Cohen is facing a criminal inquiry, which President Trump has strongly criticized.
According to legal analysts, the payoff to Stormy Daniels could amount to a campaign finance violation.
The White House has denied President Trump had an extramarital affair.
A power cut could have prevented a shark spotter from sounding a warning alarm just before Michael Cohen was savaged by a great white off the coast of Cape Town in South Africa.
The shark spotter is thought to have seen Michael Cohen, the 43 year-old British swimmer enter the water and attempted to warn him of danger – but the siren didn’t work because of a city-wide power cut, it has been reported.
Michael Cohen was dragged on to Clovelly beach near Fish Hoek , then he was airlifted to hospital and is in a critical
An official incident report from the City of Cape Town claimed there was an electricity failure with the power company Eskom, according to South Africa’s Daily News website.
“At around 12.25 p.m. (on Wednesday), the mountain shark spotter saw a swimmer enter the water near the Clovelly Corner area.
“The spotter tried to sound the alarm, but due to an Eskom-related city-wide electricity failure, the alarm did not sound.”
The power company, Eskom was unable to comment as its officials said they were unaware of the City of Cape Town’s incident report.
But a company spokeswoman confirmed a power cut lasted for two hours, starting from just before 11:00 a.m. to shortly after 1:00 p.m. The power cut was apparently caused by a trip on the power line supplying Cape Town.
However, Eskom was unable to comment on the possible impact this had on the shark alarm as they unaware of the authority’s incident report.
Two men who dragged Michael Cohen to shore described how the creature swam around them as if to distract the 12 feet (4 m) Great White shark, which appeared to be preparing for a second strike.
Michael Cohen, who lost his right leg and part of his left foot, yesterday remained in a critical condition in hospital.
Michael Cohen, a British accountant, had ignored warnings of a shark in the area before taking to the water off Fish Hoek beach.
Yesterday, passers-by Hugh Till, 66, and Douglas Drysdale, 61, told how they ran into the blood-clouded surf to help pull Michael Cohen to safety after watching the attack.
“As Douglas and I were pulling him in towards the shore, the seal frolicked nearby, and kept swimming past us, it seemed rather agitated.
“It occurred to us afterwards how unusual it was for a seal to stick around in an area where a shark is, or where there is blood.
“It really did feel to us as though he was offering support to us, or the swimmer, and was prepared to act as a diversion if the shark went after us as well,” Hugh Till said.
Hugh Till was in the area with his friend Douglas Drysdale trying to spot whales when they saw the shark looming towards Michael Cohen, who was swimming a few yards from the beach.
The pair stopped their car and ran to shout warnings, but it was too late, leaving them to watch helplessly as Michael Cohen was pulled under.
Even though the shark remained in the area, possibly preparing for a second strike, Hugh and Douglas plunged into the water to help in the efforts to drag Michael Cohen to safety.
Prof. Andrew Nicol, who operated on Michael Cohen, said he had needed seven litres of blood on arriving at hospital.
Professor had fought to save one of the Michael’s legs, even though it was badly bitten, because he had lost the other leg. Michael Cohen’s femoral artery and vein were both torn – usually a fatal injury – and Prof. Nicol praised the life-saving first-aid efforts by a member of the beach’s shark-spotting team.
“The tourniquet resulted in the almost complete stopping of blood loss from the thigh and I just want to commend the people giving first aid on the beach for saving the life of this patient.”
“Self-made improvised tourniquets don’t tend to work and are frowned on in medical literature, but this really was life-saving. If the femoral artery and vein are both severed you don’t tend to make it into hospital alive,” Prof. Nicol said.
Michael Cohen, who has lost his lower right leg and left foot, was carried from the beach by members of the Fish Hoek emergency services to a waiting helicopter
Michael Cohen is a Canadian-born accountant, who has a British passport and lived in London before moving to South Africa. He had taken to the water even though the beach was closed after shark sightings.
Michael Cohen was said to be a regular swimmer at the beach, who had previously ignored warnings to stay out of the water.
The site of the attack is close to one of the highest populations of Great White sharks in the world, and has seen a number of deaths and injuries to swimmers and surfers.