In the evening of Friday, the saga Michael Cohen took a new turn: his lawyers filed a long motion to obtain a verdict in order to obtain clemency for the crimes for which he pleaded guilty .
You will find in the 37 pages some additional information about what he says exactly and about the role that President Trump's team might have played in his lies in Congress about Trump's trade relations in Russia. Cohen was Trump's longtime personal attorney.
Here are three takeaways:
1. Cohen spoke to Trump about his contacts with the Russian government
We learned this week that Cohen had been lying to Congress about his efforts, on behalf of Trump, to get an agreement on Trump Tower Moscow. These efforts have persisted beyond the date previously announced by January 2016 – namely until the 2016 GOP primary season. We also learned from Cohen's plea agreement that he informed Trump of his efforts in greater depth than he had previously claimed. And we learned that he had received a response from Russian President Vladimir Putin's press service when he spoke to them about the project – again, contrary to what he had said before (and contrary to this that the Kremlin claims).
The question from there was whether Cohen had ever told Trump that he was using the help of the Russian government. Now, Cohen says that he was there.
"Michael had a long substantive conversation with the personal assistant of a Kremlin official following his mission in January 2016. He also initiated additional communications regarding the project until June. 2016 and has [Trump] Cohen's lawyers write in the file, which calls Trump "Client-1". "Him and [Trump] also discussed a possible trip to Russia in the summer of 2016 and Michael took steps to erase the dates of this trip. "
This is important because it means that Trump knew that the Russian government had helped him win a major real estate contract – even as he was asking Americans to vote for him in the US presidency. Cohen was even asked to be the guest of Putin's press officer Dmitry Peskov during his trip to Moscow, and to have been introduced to Putin or Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.
Trump knew all this and kept saying "I have nothing to do with Russia" and "I do not treat there" is very overwhelming.
2. Cohen says he consulted Trump's team – but does not say directly that they told him to lie
These documents are often formulated carefully and this is indeed the case when Cohen's lawyers talk about Trump and the role played by the White House in Cohen's false testimony.
Cohen's lawyers write that "in the weeks in which his lawyer at the time wrote his response to congressional committees, Michael kept in close and regular contact with White House staff and legal counsel to: [Trump]. "
As such, he was (a) fully aware of [Trump]Repeated disavowals of commercial and political ties between himself and Russia, as well as the strongly expressed mantra [Trump] investigations on such links were politically motivated and not evidence-based, and (b) precisely [Trump]The objective of rejecting and minimizing the merit of the SCO inquiry, which [Trump] and his public spokespersons sought to describe in any form whatsoever the contact with the Russian representatives [Trump]the Trump campaign or organization actually ended before the Iowa caucuses on February 1, 2016.
Seeking to stay online with this messageMichael told Congress that his communications and efforts to finalize a construction project in Moscow on behalf of the Trump organization, which he had started since 2015, had ended in January 2016, by which time a general inquiry he had conducted with the Kremlin had remained unanswered. .
The important thing here is that Cohen's lawyers never directly say that anyone told him to lie. They say that his testimony was supposed to echo the White House's line and that he had consulted with them, but he never directly stated that he had been asked to lie. Therefore, it is not enough claiming that his lies were part of a plot involving the White House in Congress.
Former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti thinks Cohen's lawyers would have said that he would have been enjoined to lie if it was explicit, especially because Cohen said Trump had ordered him to commit another crime. violation of campaign funding in which he had involved Trump earlier this year:
All that being said, Cohen's lawyers suggest that White House and / or Trump's lawyers were aware of what Cohen was about to say in Congress, which was wrong in many ways.
3. Cohen spoke – a lot – including in the state of New York
It was reported this week that Cohen had spoken to the Mueller team for 70 hours – a period of time that should give heartburn to the Trump team.
In this issue, Cohen also reveals that he spoke to the New York authorities about their Trump probes:
Similarly, Michael voluntarily met with representatives of the New York State Attorney General's Office ("NYAG") regarding a lawsuit brought by a state court under the terms of which the NYAG sued the Donald J. Trump Foundation and some defendants, including Donald J. Trump. He also provided the NYAG with documents regarding a separate open investigation. As above, Michael intends to make himself available to NYAG to provide any additional co-operation he may be requesting in these areas.
Following his request, Michael waived a subpoena and quickly met with the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance ("DTF"). He also cooperated personally and through his tax advisers and professionals with requests for information from DTF. His cooperation includes a waiver that allowed DTF to waive the burden of issuing subpoenas for documents, including the federal tax revenue adjustment report in this case.
Since Cohen promised to cooperate fully with the investigators, it is perhaps not surprising that he speaks so much. But the extent of his cooperation is remarkable.