President Trump's longtime fixer and former personal attorney Michael Cohen made a surprise appearance in federal court Thursday, where he pleaded guilty to lying to Congress — and laid bare new allegations against Trump.
The new charge concerns Cohen's August 2017 testimony, where he told Congressional leaders the Trump Organization's business overtures in Russia had concluded in January 2016 and did not involve high-level Russian officials. On Thursday, Cohen admitted that discussions for the deal, referred to as the "Moscow Project" continued until at least June 2016 — and included communications with President Putin's press secretary.
According to the information — a charging document used in federal plea deals — Cohen also lied about taking steps to plan a trip for President Trump, referred to as "Individual 1," in connection with the business deal.
Trump repeatedly denied having any business deals in Russia, even as the deal was ongoing, documents show.
“I mean I have nothing to do with Russia. I don’t have any jobs in Russia. I’m all over the world but we’re not involved in Russia," Trump said in July, 2016.
According to the information, a number of unnamed Trump family members were also briefed on the particulars of the deal.
Communications cited in the document also reveal the planning was closely coordinated with President Trump's campaign schedule.
"I had a chat with Moscow. ASSUMING the trip does happen, the question is before or after the convention… Obviously the pre-meeting trip (you only) can happen anytime you want but the 2 big guys where [sic] the question. I said I would confirm and revert," a person referred to only as "Individual 2" wrote Cohen in May 2016.
"My trip before Cleveland. [Individual 1] once he becomes the nominee after the convention," Cohen replied.