The New York Times reports:
Michael D. Cohen, President Trump’s former lawyer, who pleaded guilty in August to breaking campaign finance laws, made a surprise appearance in a Manhattan courtroom on Thursday morning to plead guilty to a new criminal charge, the latest turn in the special counsel’s investigation of Mr. Trump and his inner circle.
The development comes at a particularly perilous time for Mr. Trump, whose presidency has been threatened by Mr. Cohen’s statements to investigators. In recent days, the president and his lawyers have increased their attacks on the Justice Department and the special counsel’s office.
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.
ABC News reports:
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. Cohen once said that he would “take a bullet” for the president but has now come to regard Trump as dangerously unfit for the presidency, according to people close to Cohen.
UPDATE from Associated Press:
Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s former lawyer, is pleading guilty to lying to Congress about work he did on a Trump real estate deal in Russia.
Cohen made a surprise appearance Thursday in a New York courtroom at around 9 p.m. and began entering the plea. He admitted to making false statements in 2017 to the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence about a plan to build a Trump Tower in Moscow.
Michael Cohen, Pres Trump’s former personal attorney, reaches new plea deal with Mueller this morning. Expected to enter guilty plea for false statements to Congress coupled with dozens of hours of testimony potentially damaging to Pres Trump–Special Counsel values testimony.
— GeorgeStephanopoulos (@GStephanopoulos) November 29, 2018
New Cohen crime shows how, as we reported, Mueller never “handed off” Michael Cohen case – he referred relevant NY crimes to NY while continuing to bear down on Cohen as a key Trump witness and alleged collaborator. https://t.co/gfRqDAS2SB
— Ari Melber (@AriMelber) November 29, 2018
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. https://t.co/T2OOqoHaE8
— Adam Goldman (@adamgoldmanNYT) November 29, 2018
— Bloomberg (@business) November 29, 2018