Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump‘s former longtime personal attorney, pleaded guilty Thursday morning in New York to making false statements to Congress about his plans to strike a Trump Tower deal in Moscow during the 2016 election.

Cohen lying about the real estate project comes after he pleaded guilty in a Manhattan court in August to violating multiple campaign finance laws, including making hush money payments to women with whom Trump had extramarital affairs like porn star Stormy Daniels. The 52-year-old lawyer and “fixer” implicated the president in those disbursements, something that began raising serious questions of potentially starting impeachment proceedings.

Trump responded to Cohen’s new plea deal by calling his former lawyer a “weak person” in statements to reporters on the White House Lawn on Thursday before leaving for Argentina.

“He’s a weak person,” the president said of Cohen. “He was convicted with a fairly long-term sentence with things unrelated to the Trump Organization.”

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Trump added he believes Cohen is simply “trying to get a reduced sentence.”

According to The New York Times, Cohen attempted to downplay the degree of his communications with Moscow about the prospective Trump Tower deal in his written testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee. This appears to mark a turning point in special counsel Robert Mueller and his team’s investigation into alleged collusion between Trump associates and the Kremlin.


After Cohen reached a plea deal in August, Trump slammed his former lawyer — who has since distanced himself from the president and who recently registered to vote as a Democrat — on Twitter. In recent weeks, Trump and his legal team — including former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani — have ramped up their criticisms of Mueller’s office and the Justice Department. The president and his attorneys have repeatedly called the special counsel’s probe a “witch hunt” that is hurting the country, and have said they are determined to fight any subpoena Mueller issues as part of the inquiry.

Cohen is reportedly set to be sentenced in just two weeks for his guilty plea from August, which also included charges for bank and tax fraud. Although he was not expected to fully and formally cooperate with federal investigators as part of that first plea deal, Cohen was reportedly interviewed by Mueller’s team several times.

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