Posts Tagged ‘Robert Mueller’

Giuliani on whether Trump will sit down with Mueller: “Good luck — over my dead body”

December 16, 2018

Rudy Giuliani did what could best be described as a “frantic” interview with Chris Wallace on “Fox News Sunday” this morning

Includes video:

Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani told “Fox News Sunday” that President Trump will sit down one-on-one with Special Counsel Robert Mueller “over my dead body” amid bombshell new revelations in the false statements case against ex-National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, whom Giuliani said was “railroaded” and “framed.”

In a spirited back-and-forth with host Chris Wallace, Giuliani also reiterated his claim that Trump initially “didn’t know about” the hush-money payments made to two women made by former Trump attorney Michael Cohen that prosecutors have alleged constituted campaign finance violations.

Giuliani said Trump eventually found out about the payments and reimbursed Cohen, adding that Cohen is a “complete, pathological liar” who defied basic principles of ethics by secretly tape-recording his own client for several hours.

“Yes, this man is lying — is that a surprise to you, that Michael Cohen is lying?” Giuliani asked. “The man got up in front of a judge and said, ‘I was fiercely loyal to Donald Trump.’ Nonsense. He wasn’t fiercely loyal to him, he taped him. He sat there with [CNN anchor] Chris Cuomo, told him he wasn’t being taped, showed him a drawer and he lied to him and taped him for two hours.”


In April, Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One that he didn’t know about Cohen’s $130,000 payment to porn star Stormy Daniels, or how he got the money. But in a September 2016 tape recorded by Cohen, Trump apparently tells Cohen he was aware of a hush-money payment to buy the silence of another woman, Karen McDougal.

Playboy model Karen McDougal, left, sued to be released from a 2016 agreement requiring her to keep quiet about an alleged tryst she claims she had with Donald Trump, as Stormy Daniels said she passed a 2011 polygraph test.

“There was an intervening conversation” after the payment took place and before the Air Force One comments, Giuliani said, that led to Trump reimbursing Cohen’s payment. The reimbursement could be legally significant because, while third parties like Cohen are limited in the amount they can contribute to a presidential candidate, candidates themselves have no such spending limit.

Top Democrats, including incoming House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., have said any campaign finance violation by Trump “certainly” could be impeachable. But they have so far cautioned against pursuing impeachment based on campaign finance concerns alone, as top legal experts and a former Federal Election Commission chairmanhave said that obtaining a criminal conviction for such alleged violations is often extremely difficult.

While Cohen has pleaded guilty to violating campaign finance laws “at the direction of” Trump, he also pleaded guilty to a smattering of unrelated fraud and false statemens charges — and Trump has suggested his former attorney was simply seeking a lenient sentence. Last week, a tearful Cohen who lamented covering up what he characterized as Trump’s “dirty deeds” was sentenced to 36 months in prison.


Giuliani also suggested to Wallace that Trump had difficulty remembering the 2016 conversation while aboard Air Force One.

“That was a conversation he was asked, middle of the campaign — he’s working 18 hours a day. I wouldn’t be able to remember a lot of things that happened in September of 2016. … When he sat down with his lawyer, and went through it in great detail, and saw things that could refresh his recollection, we immediately corrected it. Nobody pushed us.”

“Over my dead body. But, you know, I could be dead.”

— Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani, on a Mueller interview 

Trump tweeted Sunday morning that Cohen “only became a ‘Rat'” after the FBI raided his office in April. “Why didn’t they break into the DNC to get the Server, or Crooked’s office?” Trump asked, in an apparent reference to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Asked whether Trump — who has already provided written responses to inquiries from the special counsel — would meet with Mueller, Giuliani responded, “Yeah, good luck, good luck — after what they did to Flynn, the way they trapped him into perjury, and no sentence for him.” (Mueller has recommended Flynn receive no jail time.)

He added: “Over my dead body. But, you know, I could be dead.”

Giuliani, the former U.S. Attorney in the Southern District of New York, derided Mueller’s efforts in another false statements prosecution in the Russia probe.  George Papadopoulos, recently released from prison after pleading guilty to making false statements to FBI agents, said Friday he plans to run for a seat in the House of Representatives.

“Fourteen days for [former Trump aide George] Papadopoulos — I did better on traffic violations than they did with Papadopoulos,” Giuliani said.


He then pointed to a report by the Department of Justice’s internal watchdog last week, which blamed a technical glitch for a swath of missing text messages between anti-Trump ex-FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page — and revealed that government phones issued by Mueller’s office to Strzok and Page had been wiped clean after Strzok was fired from the Russia probe.

The Trump attorney additionally slammed the Flynn prosecution, which revolves around false statements he has acknowledged making to FBI agents who broke protocol by interviewing him at the White House. The agents — including Strzok — said they did not initially think Flynn was lying.

Giuliani told Wallace that “the president doesn’t know that [Flynn] lied” to FBI agents, pointing out that there is no public evidence — other than Flynn’s guilty plea — that he committed the crime. Flynn, under significant financial pressure as a result of the prosecution, sold his home in Virginia this year.

While Trump did tweet early last year that Flynn had lied to the FBI, Giuliani said the president was simply using publicly available information to come to that conclusion. “He knows what he reads,” Giuliani said, referring to Trump.

“What they did to General Flynn should result in discipline,” Giuliani continued. “They’re the ones who are violating the law. They’re looking at a non-crime: collusion. The other guys are looking at a non-crime: campaign violation, which are not violations, and they are the ones who are violating the law, the rules, the ethics, nobody wants to look at them. They destroyed Strzok and Page’s 19,000 texts. If he destroyed texts, they would put him in jail, even though they can’t because he’s the president.”

Giuliani acknowledged that Flynn had misled Vice President Pence regarding his conversations with the then-Russian ambassador, admitting “that was a lie, but that’s not a crime.”

The documents released by the DOJ Inspector General reveal that the decision to interview Flynn in early 2017 about contacts with the Russian ambassador was controversial within the Justice Department. One FBI document said then-Acting Attorney General Sally Yates “was not happy” when then-FBI Director James Comey informed her that the FBI planned to talk to Flynn.

The report also said several unnamed people back at FBI headquarters “later argued about the FBI’s decision to interview Flynn.”

Giuliani linked the Cohen prosecutions for campaign finance violations to the Mueller probe, saying Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein — a frequent target of several conservatives in Congress, who sought to impeach him this summer — is overseeing both probes.

Mueller referred the Cohen campaign finance case to Southern District prosecutors because it fell outside the ambit of his mandate to probe Russian collusion. Cohen has also pleaded guilty in a separate case brought by Mueller’s team on a charge that Cohen lied to Congress by claiming that work on a since-abandoned plan to build a Trump Tower in Moscow had stopped in early mid-2016, when it really continued for months afterwards.

“The person in charge of this investigation is Rod Rosesntien, the deputy attorney general,” Giuliani said. “He is the boss of Mueller, and he is the boss of the Southern District of New York. He’s the one that determined, ‘let’s move it over here’ — he put it there, in the Southern District of New York. They’re working for the same Rod Rosenstein.”

Multiple reports and indications suggest that the Mueller probe is winding down. Speaking to ABC’s “This Week,” Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said the end result should be as transparent as possible.

“When Mueller’s investigation is complete, whenever that may be, it should be disclosed to the American public,” Durbin said. “They ought to see it in detail, understand everything that has transpired.”

Responding to Giuliani’s claims that hush-money payments would not be criminal, Durbin effectively told the Trump attorney — and Congress — to wait and see.

“I think the responsibility of Congress is very clear: park yourselves on the sidelines and let Mueller complete this investigation,” Durbin said.

Fox News’ Alex Pappas contributed to this report.



Rudy Giuliani: It’s not a crime if Roger Stone gave heads-up about WikiLeaks email dump

December 16, 2018

If former Trump confidant Roger Stone gave anyone advance notice of WikiLeaks’ plans to release emails hacked from Democrats, it would not be a crime, President Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani asserted Sunday.

The former New York City mayor told ABC’s “This Week” that Stone did not tell Trump that in summer 2016, WikiLeaks had emails from the campaign manager for presidential rival Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee.

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“I don’t believe so,” he said. “If Roger Stone gave anybody a heads-up about WikiLeaks’ leaks, that’s not a crime. It would be like giving them a heads-up that the [New York] Times was going to print something.”

Special Counsel Robert Mueller is said to be investigating whether Stone had advance knowledge of the hacks and subsequent release of the emails. Mueller has subpoenaed and interviewed several Stone associates in his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Stone has denied any awareness of the releases that came in the final months of the presidential campaign.

Dershowitz: Flynn lied, but the FBI acted inappropriately

December 15, 2018

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Harvard Law School Professor Emeritus Alan Dershowitz weighed in Saturday on how federal authorities treated former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

“There are two issues: Did he lie at the time the FBI came to him? The answer is yes. Could he have told the truth? Yes. The second is: Does the fact that he pleaded guilty prove that he’s guilty? Absolutely not. He pleaded guilty because of the enormous pressures on him even though I think he could have won the case,” Dershowitz said in a Fox News interview Saturday.

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Dershowitz said prosecutors want to use anything in Manafort’s past to get him to spill the beans on any wrongdoings he witnessed during the 2016 presidential election. (Image courtesy screenshot)

Flynn, a retired U.S. Army lieutenant general who worked on Trump’s campaign before his short stint as national security adviser, pleaded guilty last December to lying to the FBI about his conversations during the campaign with Sergei Kislyak , the Russian ambassador at the time. Flynn’s charge came about through special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, and Mueller cited Flynn’s cooperation with the probe when he requested earlier this month that Flynn not serve time.

“It’s not a proper function of law enforcement or of a grand jury to ask you a question that they know the answer to. Their function is to get new information. But if they already know the answer and ask you the question, it’s for one purpose only: to test your morality, to test your truthfulness,” Dershowitz said.

Earlier this week, the judge in the case requested documents related to Flynn’s FBI questioning, ahead of his expected sentencing next week. The FBI recommended Flynn not have a lawyer present, according to a court filing.

“The FBI shouldn’t be sending people in, telling you not to have counsel, and hope maybe you’ll commit a crime so then they can squeeze you and get you to sing or compose. That’s not way American law enforcement should operate,” Dershowitz said.

Dershowitz said civil libertarians should be concerned about these tactics by law enforcement, pointing to Judge T.S. Ellis III’s criticism of Mueller during the Paul Manafort trial.

“What Mueller is doing is trying it find low hanging fruit, figure out every way to get them to commit a crime, it’s their fault that they commit the crime and then squeeze them so they’ll sing or compose. Welcome to how special counsel operate,” Dershowitz said.

Manafort, Trump’s former campaign manager, was convicted on eight counts of bank and tax fraud in September in a Virginia trial presided over by Ellis and then pleaded guilty to two felony charges in Washington, a deal that involves cooperation with Mueller’s investigation. Mueller has since claimed Manafort violated his plea deal by lying to investigators.


Michael Cohen didn’t tell the whole truth about the hush payments in ‘GMA’ interview

December 14, 2018

Breaking News: Michael Cohen is bitter. And he might still be lying.

It should come as a surprise to precisely no one that what Michael Cohen said Friday on ABC’s “Good Morning America” about Trump and the now-famous 2016 hush-money payments was so inaccurate that you have to wonder if he’s still lying.

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Cohen, newly convicted felon and former lawyer to President Trump, asserted that Trump directed the payments to porn star Stormy Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougal specifically to influence the election.

“You have to remember at what point in time that this matter came about — two weeks or so before the election, post- the Billy Bush [“Access Hollywood”] comments, so, yes, he was very concerned about how this would affect the election,” said Cohen.

But this only relates to one of the payments, the one to Daniels, and excludes information that indicates such payments may have been routine for Trump going as far back as 2014, more than a year before Trump launched his campaign.

The payment to McDougal took place well before the “Access Hollywood” tape was released on Oct. 8, 2016. That agreement, made as part of a deal with the National Enquirer, was sealed on Aug. 5, more than two months before anyone would know about the “Access Hollywood” tape.

The U.S. government’s sentencing memorandum from two weeks ago said that this alliance between Trump and the Enquirer was forged more than a year before Trump began his long shot bid for the White House.

“In August 2014, [Enquirer Chairman David Pecker] had met with Cohen and [Trump] and had offered to help deal with negative stories about [Trump’s] relationships with women by identifying such stories so that they could be purchased and ‘killed,'” reads the memo.

So, the “catch and kill” plan was the Enquirer’s idea all the way back in 2014. One of the payments was made in August of 2016, three months before the election; and then there was a second payment, which there’s no evidence wouldn’t have taken place regardless of its timing.

Cohen was sentenced this week to three years in prison after he pleaded guilty to massive tax evasion, bank fraud, lying to Congress, lying to the FBI, and two campaign finance violations. He blames Trump for his predicament.

“It’s sad that I should take responsibility for his dirty deeds,” Cohen said in the interview, though it’s unclear how Trump is responsible for Cohen’s taxi medallion scheme or his neglect to claim millions of dollars in revenue to avoid paying taxes.

Cohen is bitter. And he might still be lying.


Alan Dershowitz: Interview of Michael Flynn “The Most Unfair Use of the FBI”

December 14, 2018

Alan Dershowitz called the recent  news report on the FBI interview of Michael Flynn by Peter Strzok and others a “wrongful use of the FBI” and a “classic perjury trap.”

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Dershowitz appeared on the Fox News channel just before 10 am, on Friday, December 14, 2018.

He was commenting on several recent report in the news media that called into question the way the DOJ and FBI handled Michael Flynn, as port of the Robert Mueller investigation of Russia and its involvement in the U.S. 2016 election.

The Wall Street Journal called the FBI interview of Michael Flynn “dodgy.”


Michael Cohen Says Trump Directed Him to Make Hush-Money Payments

December 14, 2018

Lawyer says candidate Trump was ‘very concerned’ about how affair allegations would affect 2016 campaign

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Michael Cohen

Michael Cohen, President Trump’s former personal attorney, said Mr. Trump directed him to make two hush money deals during the 2016 campaign out of concern for how allegations of extramarital affairs might impact his campaign.

Mr. Cohen’s comments came in his first interview, aired Friday on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” since a federal judge sentenced him on Wednesday to three years in prison for various crimes, including two that prosecutors and Mr. Cohen say he committed at Mr. Trump’s request.

In the interview, Mr. Cohen gave his fullest public description of Mr. Trump’s involvement in payments Mr. Cohen had admitted to coordinating during the 2016 presidential campaign to silence two women who said they had sexual encounters with Mr. Trump.

“Nothing at the Trump Organization was ever done unless it was run through Mr. Trump,” Mr. Cohen said. “He directed me to make the payments. He directed me to become involved in these matters.”

Mr. Cohen said Mr. Trump dealt directly with David Pecker, chief executive of publisher American Media, the parent company of the National Enquirer, to silence former Playboy centerfold Karen McDougal. Ms McDougal says she had a nearly yearlong affair with Mr. Trump.

“I just reviewed the documents in order to protect him,” Mr. Cohen said.

American Media paid Ms. McDougal $150,000 for her story. The company admitted in a nonprosecution agreement made public on Wednesday that it paid her to protect Mr. Trump’s campaign.

Mr. Cohen also paid $130,000 to Stephanie Clifford, the former adult-film star known professionally as Stormy Daniels, to keep quiet about her allegations of a sexual encounter with Mr. Trump.

Michael Cohen Sentenced to Three Years in Prison

Michael Cohen Sentenced to Three Years in Prison
Michael Cohen, President Trump’s former personal attorney, was sentenced to three years in prison on Wednesday. In court, he said his blind loyalty to President Trump led him “to take a path of darkness.” (Photo: Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images)

Mr. Cohen said Mr. Trump was concerned about Ms. Clifford’s allegations after an “Access Hollywood” video of Mr. Trump talking about groping women became public in October 2016.

“He was very concerned about how this would affect the election,” Mr. Cohen said, adding that Mr. Trump knew the payment was wrong.

Mr. Cohen’s comments came in response to a series of tweets from Mr. Trump on Thursday and a Fox News Interview in which the president denied directing Mr. Cohen to violate the law, minimized Mr. Cohen’s work for him, and suggested Mr. Cohen was out to “embarrass” him and protect Mr. Cohen’s family from criminal investigation.

“It’s absolutely not true. I did not do it to embarrass the president. He knows the truth. I know the truth,” Mr. Cohen said. “I took responsibility for my actions, and instead of him taking responsibility for his actions, what does he do? He attacks my family.”

Mr. Cohen, a former Trump Organization executive who became Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer after the 2016 election, was more of a public-relations associate than a lawyer, Mr. Trump said in the Fox News interview Thursday, describing Mr. Cohen’s work for him as “low-level.”

Rudy Giuliani, a lawyer for Mr. Trump, in an interview on Friday called Mr. Cohen’s allegations “much ado about nothing.”

“Whether they talked about it or not, their talking about it can’t make it a crime,” Mr. Giuliani said of the hush-money payments, adding that “as far as I know, Cohen is not telling the truth.”

Mr. Giuliani also sought to minimize Mr. Cohen’s admitted campaign-finance law violation. “It’s campaign finance, my God,” he said. “Everybody pays a fine to the [Federal Election Commission] that is in politics. You can’t follow all the rules.”

In private, Mr. Trump vented Thursday about federal investigators’ scrutiny of him and his associates, people familiar with the matter said.

In the interview aired on Friday, Mr. Cohen declined to discuss his conversations with special counsel Robert Mueller but said Mr. Trump wasn’t telling the truth about the investigation into ties between Trump aides and Russia.

Mr. Cohen will report to prison on March 6, and his lawyers have requested he be placed at the federal prison in Otisville, N.Y.

Write to Joe Palazzolo at

Checking Robert Mueller — In light of dodgy FBI conduct

December 14, 2018

The sentencing judge brings to light dodgy FBI conduct in the Mike Flynn case.



Robert Mueller has operated for 19 months as a law unto himself, reminding us of the awesome and destructive powers of special counsels. About the only possible check on Mr. Mueller is a judge who is wise to the tricks of prosecutors and investigators. Good news: That’s what we got this week.

Former national security adviser Mike Flynn a year ago pleaded guilty to one count of lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation about his conversations with Russia’s ambassador to the U.S. Mr. Flynn’s defense team this week filed a sentencing memo to Judge Emmet Sullivan that contained explosive new information about the Flynn-FBI meeting in 2017.

It was arranged by then FBI Director Andrew McCabe, who personally called Mr. Flynn on other business, then suggested he sit down with two agents to clear up the Russia question. Mr. McCabe urged Mr. Flynn to conduct the interview with no lawyer present — to make things easier.

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The agents (including the infamous Peter Strzok) showed up within two hours.


They had already decided not to inform Flynn that they had transcripts of his conversations or give him the standard warning against lying to the FBI. They wanted him “relaxed” and “unguarded.” Former Director James Comey this weekend bragged on MSNBC that he would never have “gotten away” with such a move in a more “organized” administration.

Read the rest:


Trump met with Chris Christie to discuss chief of staff job

December 14, 2018

Chris Christie is a top contender for the White House chief of staff job, according to a new report.

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President Trump met with the former New Jersey governor Thursday as he weighs who will replace John Kelly, Axios reported.

“He’s tough; he’s an attorney; he’s politically-savvy, and one of Trump’s early supporters,” a source familiar with Trump’s thinking told the news outlet.

Trump told reporters Thursday he had five people he was considering for Kelly’s replacement. Kelly is expected to depart at the end of the year after 18 months in the role.

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The Huffington Post reported the president’s son-in-law and White House adviser Jared Kushner was also in the running. Other news outlets reported that Kushner is not under consideration.

© Photo: Mark Wilson, Getty Images/ AFP

Christie and Kushner have had a fraught relationship. Christie, who was previously U.S. attorney for New Jersey, sent Kushner’s father, Charles, to federal prison in 2005 for tax evasion, witness tampering, and making illegal campaign donations.

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(Of Robert Mueller indictment)

© Win McNamee, Getty Images/AFP | Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R) and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie attend the Presidential Debate at Hofstra University on September 26, 2016 in Hempstead, New York.

See also:

PHOTOS: Chris Christie, family soak up sun on N.J. beach he closed to public


Trump: Michael Flynn’s ‘great deal’ is because of how he was treated

December 13, 2018

President Trump defended his former national security adviser Thursday, saying Michael Flynn’s light sentence recommendation is because prosecutors are embarrassed by how Flynn was treated.

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“They want to scare everybody into making up stories that are not true by catching them in the smallest of misstatements,” Trump tweeted.

Donald J. Trump


They gave General Flynn a great deal because they were embarrassed by the way he was treated – the FBI said he didn’t lie and they overrode the FBI. They want to scare everybody into making up stories that are not true by catching them in the smallest of misstatements. Sad!……

Flynn pleaded guilty last year to one count of making false statements to the FBI about his contacts with Sergei Kislyak, at the time the Russian ambassador. Both Flynn’s lawyers and special counsel Robert Mueller recommended in their sentencing memos that Flynn, who also worked for Trump’s transition team, not have to serve prison time because of his cooperation with Mueller’s investigation.

Former FBI director James Comey and former Deputy Director Andrew McCabe told lawmakers last year that FBI agents didn’t see anything that indicated Flynn was lying in the interview, though McCabe said his statements were at odds with evidence.

A memo that detailed Flynn’s interview with the FBI revealed officials suggested he not have a lawyer present. The judge in the case requested Wednesday documents related to the interview ahead of Flynn’s scheduled sentencing next week.

Trump, who has frequently decried Mueller’s investigation into Russian election meddling, reiterated his criticism of the probe Wednesday.

Donald J. Trump



Trump denies directing lawyer to break law

December 13, 2018

Donald Trump on Thursday denied directing his ex-lawyer Michael Cohen to break the law after the US president’s longtime close ally was sentenced to three years for campaign finance violations and other crimes.

“I never directed Michael Cohen to break the law. He was a lawyer and he is supposed to know the law,” Trump tweeted.

“It is called ‘advice of counsel,’ and a lawyer has great liability if a mistake is made. That is why they get paid.”

Michael Cohen (left) apologized for covering up the "dirty deeds" of US President Donald Trump

Michael Cohen (left) apologized for covering up the “dirty deeds” of US President Donald Trump Michael Cohen (left) apologized for covering up the “dirty deeds” of US President Donald Trump GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP/File

Cohen, 52, apologized Wednesday for covering up the “dirty deeds” of his ex-boss as he was handed jail time for multiple crimes including hush money payments implicating Trump.

Pleading for leniency in a packed Manhattan courtroom before US District Court Judge William H. Pauley III, Cohen said he had been led astray by misplaced admiration for Trump.

An emotional Cohen told the court he accepted responsibility for his personal crimes and “those involving the President of the United States of America.”

In his first public comments since Cohen’s sentencing, Trump said on Twitter that legal experts had cleared him of any wrongdoing and repeated his denial that he had broken campaign finance laws, arguing that Cohen’s crimes did not involve campaign finance.

“Cohen was guilty on many charges unrelated to me, but he plead to two campaign charges which were not criminal and of which he probably was not guilty even on a civil bases,” Trump tweeted.

“Those charges were just agreed to by him in order to embarrass the president and get a much reduced prison sentence, which he did-including the fact that his family was temporarily let off the hook. As a lawyer, Michael has great liability to me!”

Cohen admitted charges brought by federal prosecutors in New York of tax evasion, providing false statements to a bank and illegal campaign contributions.

Cohen also pleaded guilty to making false statements to Congress — a charge stemming from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into whether Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign colluded with Russia to get him elected.

Among the charges against Cohen was making secret payments to silence two women threatening to go public during the election campaign with claims they had affairs with Trump.