Trump's former personal attorney pleads guilty for misstatements to Congress


President Trump's former personal attorney Michael Cohen on Thursday pleaded guilty for misstatements he made to Congress while testifying about his contacts with Russians during the 2016 presidential campaign, according to The Wall Street Journal.

ABC News, citing anonymous sources, reported earlier in the day that Cohen was expected to appear in a federal court in Manhattan on Thursday after reaching a deal with special counsel Robert Mueller

The plea from Cohen marks the first time he has been charged by Mueller as part of the special counsel's investigation into Russian election interference and possible collusion between Trump's campaign and Moscow.

The Journal reported that Cohen pleaded guilty to making a false statement about the effort to build a Trump Tower in Moscow during the 2016 presidential campaign while testifying before Congress. He also made false statements about the timing of the project, according to the newspaper.

ABC News noted that Cohen made the misstatements while testifying before two congressional intelligence committees in 2017.

President Trump blasted Cohen as a “weak person” following the reports of his pleading guilty. The president accused Cohen of “lying” in order to receive a reduced sentence.

“He’s trying to get a much lesser sentence by making up the story,” Trump said, adding “everybody knows about this deal.”

The move from Cohen to plead guilty comes two weeks before he is expected to be sentenced for guilty pleas he made earlier this year in a case in the Southern District of New York.

Cohen pleaded guilty to several federal crimes in August, including violating campaign finance law. Cohen suggested that he violated the law at Trump’s direction.

The charges stemmed from a $130,000 nondisclosure payment he gave to Stormy Daniels to silence the adult-film star, who claims to have had an affair with Trump more than a decade ago.

Cohen has reportedly spent more than 70 hours in interviews with Mueller’s office since then. Sources familiar with the discussion told ABC News that the interviews have focused on the Trump campaign’s contacts with Russians and Trump’s business ties to the country.

The news about Cohen comes as Trump continues to lash out at Mueller over the investigation. Trump has repeatedly called the probe a "witch hunt" and a "disgrace."

"When will this illegal Joseph McCarthy style Witch Hunt, one that has shattered so many innocent lives, ever end-or will it just go on forever?" he tweeted early Thursday. "After wasting more than $40,000,000 (is that possible?), it has proven only one thing-there was NO Collusion with Russia. So Ridiculous!"

Mueller's team in a court filing on Monday asserted that former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort violated his plea agreement. The office alleges that he “committed federal crimes by lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Special Counsel’s Office on a variety of subject matters, which constitute breaches of the agreement.”

The allegation comes after Manafort agreed to cooperate in exchange for a plea deal that would help him avoid a second trial. Manafort was convicted on eight counts of bank and tax fraud earlier this year.

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