Long-time Trump lawyer set to plead guilty, endangering president

Mr Cohen may obtain leniency in exchange for his cooperation with the Mueller's investigation

Mr Cohen may obtain leniency in exchange for his cooperation with the Mueller's investigation

Visibly crestfallen, the 51-year-old Cohen detailed how he made pre-election hush payments - "with the objective of influencing the election" - to two women alleging affairs with Trump: the porn star Stormy Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougal.

The longtime Trump lawyer said in a NY federal court that Trump directed him to arrange payments to women who said they had extramarital affairs with Trump to buy their silence ahead of the 2016 election, in order to boost his chances of winning.

Manafort's charges stem from an investigation led by special counsel Robert Mueller, who is probing whether Russian Federation interfered in the 2016 US presidential election and whether the Trump campaign colluded.

Sanders pushed back forcefully against the notion that Trump's longtime lawyer Michael Cohen's plea deal implicated the president in an illegal campaign-finance scheme.

The court summons comes after Cohen's attorney said his client had information that state and federal investigators might find helpful. Reports say Cohen told the court today that those payments were made "for the principal objective of influencing the election" (New York Times), and "in coordination and at the direction of a candidate for federal office" (CNN).

In May, a NY taxi operator and former Cohen business partner agreed to cooperate with prosecutors as part of a plea deal in a separate NY state criminal tax fraud case. The Post reports that Mueller has determined Cohen isn't necessary to the special counsel's work. "And we'll see what Mr. Mueller comes up with, but I do believe that Michael Cohen will tell the truth to Rudy Giuliani and will tell the truth about Donald Trump".

The FBI raided Cohen's home and office on a referral from Mueller.

Cohen - long the self-professed "fixer" for Trump - pleaded guilty after prosecutors warned that he risked more than a dozen years in prison, according to a person familiar with the matter.




The New York office had been investigating Cohen for months and had previously sought and obtained a warrant to search Cohen's email accounts.

Democratic Senate leader Chuck Schumer, speaking on the Senate floor on Wednesday, labelled Mr Trump a "co-conspirator" and demanded that the confirmation hearing for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, which is scheduled for early September, be delayed in the wake of Mr Cohen's plea.

Meanwhile, leaked documents showed that Cohen was paid millions a year ago by companies such as AT&T and Novartis to provide advice about the new administration. "Unlike Michael Cohen, he refused to 'break"'.

Trump said on Twitter on Wednesday that the campaign finance violations to which Cohen pleaded guilty were "not a crime", even though prosecutors and Cohen agreed that they were.

As cable networks were showing split-screen coverage of the dueling conviction and plea bargain by two former loyalists, Trump boarded Air Force One in the afternoon on the way to a rally in West Virginia.

If Donald Trump ever wants to retain the legal services of Michael Cohen again for some reason, he's going to have to wait several years.

The probe is being led by the office of U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman in Manhattan.

Sarah Sanders: I think that's a ridiculous accusation.

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