Remember when it looked like Robert Mueller had lost interest in Michael Cohen? Well, surprise, surprise. Donald Trump’s former attorney and fixer has gone to court to plead guilty in a deal with Mueller to add to his early deal with federal prosecutors in New York. And that sounds like very bad news for the president — at least for now:
Special counsel Robert Mueller has reached a tentative deal with Michael Cohen, the former personal attorney and long-time fixer for President Donald Trump, sources told ABC News.
Cohen is scheduled to appear in federal court in Manhattan on Thursday where he is expected to enter a guilty plea for misstatements to Congress in closed-door testimony last year about his contacts with Russians during the presidential campaign. …
Cohen’s earlier plea deal with federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York implicated President Trump in campaign finance felonies. Since then, Cohen has spent more than 70 hours in interviews with Mueller’s team. The questioning has focused on contacts with Russians by Trump associates during the campaign, Trump’s business ties to Russia, obstruction of justice and talk of possible pardons, sources familiar with the discussions have told ABC News.
“The potential significance of Cohen’s cooperation is immense,” said Kendall Coffey, a former United States Attorney in Florida.
The New York Times notes the interesting timing of this move by Mueller:
The expected new guilty plea in Federal District Court marks the first time the office of the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, has charged Mr. Cohen. In exchange for pleading guilty and continuing to cooperate with Mr. Mueller, he may hope to receive a lighter sentence than he otherwise would.
The moves comes just two weeks before Mr. Cohen, 52, is scheduled to be sentenced for his earlier guilty plea. That case, which also included bank and tax crimes, was brought by federal prosecutors in Manhattan.
That’s not the only timing of interest. Mueller made this move just after Trump submitted written answers to questions posed by special-counsel investigators. A leak yesterday reported the substance of two of those answers, but Mueller undoubtedly had more questions than just the Wikileaks and Trump Tower issues. Michael Cohen would be in position to know whether those and other answers were truthful.
We’ll have more on this as it develops, but this might explain Trump’s tweets this morning on the “Joseph McCarthy style Witch Hunt” that “has shattered so many innocent lives.”
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