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Michael Cohen Expected to Plead Guilty to Misleading Congress on Russia Probe. Aired 9:30-10a ET
Aired November 29, 2018 - 09:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: Agalarov was the person who wanted to build the Trump Tower in Moscow. It is his son, Emin Agalarov, the singer, who sets up the meeting in Trump Tower in June of 2016. So this is potentially a merger of the Trump Tower project, the Miss Universe pageant and Michael Cohen's efforts to make this happen.
[09:30:34] JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR/CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: One, it would mean the president has not been truthful about his business involvement with Russia and how long that business involvement continued. That gets to truth.
The other, bigger question here is influence, is it not? That there would be a personal incentive for the president, if Michael Cohen is telling the truth here, to play nicely with Russia during the campaign.
ASHA RANGAPPA, CNN LEGAL AND NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: That's right. I mean, I think, you know --
SCIUTTO: Is that a correct legal --
RANGAPPA: It crosses any criminal minds remains to be seen. But just from a point of view of constitutional -- you know, what the framers were worried about. They were very worried about foreign influence. I mean, we see this in the Emoluments Clause. So to have, behind the scenes, as you mentioned, a secret, you know, incentive, enticement to -- to move forward in particular ways that may or may not be in the best interests of the country for personal gain, would be --
SCIUTTO: Just a note we want to make, is this is coming in over the transom as we're speaking here. We have someone inside the courtroom. Michael Cohen is testifying as we speak.
The date, August 17, we're hearing from inside the court, we want to be clear, double checking that before we report that. What we do know is that Michael Cohen has testified that those discussions did not end in January 2016, that they continued --
POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Further.
SCIUTTO: -- further into the campaign, at least into the summer when the president was the presumptive nominee. Again, this is all coming over the transom as we're reporting. We just want to plug that into your discussion.
HARLOW: Make it very clear.
TOOBIN: And the question that, you know, that has hovered over this whole Russia investigation since the beginning is why is Donald Trump so solicitous of Vladimir Putin? Why is a Republican like Donald Trump so enamored with Russia when -- when, you know, the Republican Party has always been the Cold War party, the party that's been most skeptical of Russia.
What this represents is the possibility of something very simple, that there was money in it for Donald Trump, that there was money in a business relationship with Russia that he cultivated by cultivating Vladimir Putin, including just a couple of months ago during that unforgettable press conference in Helsinki when he refused to criticize Vladimir Putin.
SCIUTTO: And in the last 72 hours when he refused to directly condemn Russia for its action in Ukraine. It's part of a consistent pattern.
RANGAPPA: And let me just jump in. In August 2017, Let's not forget that that was after Congress --
HARLOW: I just want to stop you there with that date. Things are trickling out from the courtroom. What we can say for sure on the record is that Michael Cohen is testifying he lied to Congress about saying the Trump Tower in Moscow talks ended in January 2016. We know from what his testimony -- what he said this morning, they went further. We just don't know how far.
RANGAPPA: Right, OK. But if they went past the presidency, I would just add that that was the time to go on -- along with what Jeffrey said, that Congress passed, in a bipartisan way, sanctions against Russia, which Trump was very reluctant to sign and then later implement.
TOOBIN: But we do need to down was it August 2016 or August 2017.
RANGAPPA: Yes, nail down the dates.
HARLOW: They're working on it. They're working on it.
TOOBIN: Yes, and that's very important.
HARLOW: That is very important.
SCIUTTO: No question. The significance of Michael Cohen's testimony here, so no cooperation agreement, but the fact is we know that he has spent many hours with the special counsel. We know that, in his public statements, that Michael Cohen has said publicly, he's told friends that he wants to reclaim his name, in effect, that he wants to be on the right side of history here. Having Michael Cohen, who was so deeply involved with this president through his business dealings, through his personal dealings, women, payoffs, et cetera, but also dealings with Russia, significance for the president? TOOBIN: Well, I mean, you know, this is the person who knows all the
secrets. Remember, what we first started looking at Michael Cohen about in terms of the president's potential culpability are the pay- offs to Stormy Daniels and the pay-offs to Karen McDougal, both of which Michael Cohen facilitated.
And the question of whether those were unlawful campaign contributions remains out there. This is an entirely separate and perhaps even more incriminating line of inquiry.
HARLOW: Stay with us. Let's go back to our colleague, Pamela Brown. She's in Washington, getting some more reporting.
Pam, what have you learned?
PAMELA BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So the dates here are really important, because now we know Michael Cohen has come before this judge in New York and pleaded guilty to misleading Congress. And it has to do with this Trump Tower Moscow, this deal that had been in the works that fell through.
[09:35:06] But what's critical here is that, previously, he told Congress that the deal ended in January of 2016. Of course, that was before Donald Trump was the presumptive presidential Republican nominee.
Now he is saying that, actually, he was working on it through August of 2016. So even through the summer of 2016, this was after Donald Trump was the presumptive Republican nominee.
And not only that, but what's clear here is that the president was made aware of the ongoing discussions that Michael Cohen was having with Russian officials as it pertained to Trump Tower Moscow throughout this time, which also conflicts with what Michael Cohen has said publicly and has said to Congress.
He told Congress that the president, then-candidate Trump, was never briefed when the deal fell apart in January 2016. He said he concluded it wasn't viable to pursue.
But then, as we're now finding out that, actually, those talks did continue between Cohen and Russian officials, and Donald Trump was made aware of those talks.
Now, the president, as we know, has publicly said that he had no dealings with Russia. In fact, in January of 2017 he said, "Look, I've had no past deals with Russia, no deals with Russia, nothing financial. No financial relationships.
So of course, this raises questions because now we're learning that the president was aware then-candidate Trump was aware of these discussions between his personal attorney, Michael Cohen, at the time and Russian officials about building a Trump Tower in Moscow.
SCIUTTO: Pamela Brown, thanks very much. I understand Shimon Prokupecz also follow -- we have a big team
following this story. And the news is coming across. And there's Shimon Prokupecz outside the courthouse.
What do you know about Michael Cohen's testimony to this point?
SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Right. So to this point, we know that he has spoken in court. What they're doing is what they do in all these kinds of proceedings. When you do a plead proceeding, you read information.
It goes from -- instead of him facing an indictment, what we're told is that he was discussing about his waiver to basically face an indictment. And so now they're going through that process.
The big news here, obviously, is that he's inside this courtroom. It's over in Lower Manhattan, and it's a federal courthouse. The U.S. attorneys are here. He's here inside with his attorneys, as well. And he was speaking before the judge.
Last time Michael Cohen was here, he was at a different courthouse. This one also a federal courthouse. However, just a different location. He's on the fourth floor here inside this building, we're told. He arrived just around 9 a.m. or so. And that's where the proceedings are basically taking place right now.
We're waiting to learn more, obviously, and we're waiting to see if he comes out and says anything or if his attorneys say anything. But significant, nonetheless, is that he's inside this courtroom. It looks like he -- proceedings are underway. He is, at the very least, at this point, has waived an indictment and proceedings are underway. All indications are that he is pleading guilty here. And so that's what's happening at this point, Jim.
SCIUTTO: Shimon Prokupecz, thanks very much.
I know we're going to continue to give us updates from inside the courtroom. Again, we just want to remind people, this is ongoing as we speak, and we're learning nuggets of information as they come out --
HARLOW: As they're coming.
SCIUTTO: -- of Michael Cohen's mouth and special counsel representatives who are in that courtroom, as well.
HARLOW: Let's talk, Jeffrey Toobin, again about the timing here and just remind people, if you're just joining us, of the breaking news that Michael Cohen is admitting that he lied to Congress about something very significant, and this comes two weeks before he is -- is sentenced.
TOOBIN: Well, he's not going to be sentenced. That's the date that will certainly be -- that will certainly be delayed.
HARLOW: Why? TOOBIN: Because he's cooperating. He may not have a cooperation --
formal cooperation agreement. But there is no way he is going to be sentenced on December 12. That date will be pushed out, I am certain, for not weeks but months. I mean, this is something they are going to want to keep on -- keep on hold.
HARLOW: So on that point, the man who, again, said he would take a bullet for the president --
HARLOW: -- now clearly providing significant information, admitting to another crime, lying to Congress. Do you believe that now he most likely will have a normal cooperation agreement?
TOOBIN: I don't know.
HARLOW: And why does that matter or not matter?
TOOBIN: I'm -- at this stage, I'm not sure how much that matters.
TOOBIN: What matters is that he's cooperating.
TOOBIN: The precise contours of his legal status, I think, matters far less than the fact that he is giving all this testimony that is both contradictory to what he'd said under oath and publicly before and contrary to the president's interests. That's what's significant.
You know, how and when he's sentenced, I don't think is -- we know yet. And it's not as important. But the fact that he has now turned into such an important witness against Donald Trump, that's highly significant.
[09:40:09] If I could add a sort of weird personal note onto this. I mean, I did this piece about --
TOOBIN: -- in "The New Yorker" about the president's relationship with the Miss Universe pageant and the Agalarov family. And I had a very memorable conversation with Michael Cohen, where he screamed at me that there was nothing going on between the president and the Russians after January.
So he was lying to me as well as lying to Congress. Obviously, it is no crime to lie to me. But it is certainly indicative of he had a consistent story that he was telling during this period. Not that long ago. This was just earlier this year. He's obviously changed his tune in a very big way.
SCIUTTO: We have Elie Honig, as well. And Elie, you've got a lot of experience in courtrooms like this. I want to ask you this question. Witnesses like this don't show up in
a courtroom and make statements like this willy-nilly. He's been speaking to the special counsel for a number of hours. We know that. Days, many dozens of hours.
What does this say about what -- how the special counsel views Michael Cohen's testimony here? Because I presume the special counsel would attempt to corroborate it before they go before a judge; and the special counsel, I think, is expected in this hearing to -- to give something of a review of his testimony, right, as to whether he finds it credible. Is that -- is that a correct impression?
ELIE HONIG, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Exactly right, Jim. This means they're at the end of the vetting process, of what we call the proffering process. This means that the Southern District and/or Mueller's office have sat with Cohen for many hours. And they've heard what he has to say, and they've gone out, and they've been able to back it up, to corroborate it, to vet it to the extent possible. You can never fully corroborate every single word a cooperator says.
But if you want an example of this going the opposite direction, look at Manafort. Manafort was in there. He spent hours with them. They looked at what he told them and concluded this is not true. This is not something we can bank on. That cooperation blew up.
This is the other scenario. They've been through the process with Cohen. They've backed up what he has to say. They're now confident enough to go in and sign him up as a full cooperator. And that's what we're, I believe, going to see today in the Southern District.
HARLOW: Elie Honig, thank you. Stay with us.
All right. Kara Scannell. Kara Scannell, are you still with us? All right.
Kara, are you still with us?
KARA SCANNELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes.
HARLOW: OK. You were the one who was in the courtroom the first time that Michael Cohen pled. And now we're waiting to find out more of what he is saying. But what is the most significant thing that you've gleaned so far off of this reporting?
SCANNELL: I mean, for instance, Cohen is saying that the deal fizzled out in January of 2016. Now we're learning that these conversations continued much later, much deeper into the Trump campaign for the presidency.
And when it appeared he was winning or you're going to win. And at the time, Trump was making all these public statements that he had no dealings with Russia. He was making statements that were contrary to the rest of the Republican packet, that there should be less hostile relations with Russia.
And now we're learning that during this time, his business was looking still to make a lucrative business deal with the Russians. So it just, at a minimum, shows a conflict there that was not known to the American voters at the time he was running.
And our understanding is that, you know, Trump was apprised of these negotiations. And, so, this is not something that was not being revealed. It kind of feeds more into the general knowledge. Not that it's necessarily criminal, but just the fact that Trump knew -- was having -- engaging in these business discussions and his personal attorney, loyal, long-time fixer, was engaged in these conversations with the Russians, which would require the involvement of the Russian government to some extent, was ongoing while he was campaigning for presidency.
And so, you know, this is also just another kind of remarkable turn from -- from the relationship deteriorating between Michael Cohen and Donald Trump. When I was in court in August and Cohen pled guilty, he implicated Donald Trump in these campaign finance violations, saying that he had helped or facilitated the payments to Stormy Daniels and Karen in coordination and at the direction of then-candidate for federal office, which was Donald Trump.
So this really just shows how this relationship has changed and how, you know, Cohen is potentially now a good, valuable witness to the special counsel's investigation. I think the point that Asha made earlier about, you know, if this was a part of the written questions that Trump had to respond to.
The open question is how did he answer that, because they would have had Michael Cohen's cooperation up until that point, Poppy.
SCIUTTO: It's a good point, Kara. To remind our viewers, Michael Cohen has already implicated the president in a crime. And that is about misuse of campaign funds. This goes back a number of weeks now.
[09:45:00] Asha and Jeffrey, to the best of our knowledge, what Cohen is saying now is that the discussions of this Trump Tower Moscow project continued well into the campaign in 2016 to the best -- to the best of our knowledge.
Explain to viewers how that would be significant, to have a -- from a legal perspective. Set aside the politics for a moment here. From a legal, to have an American presidential candidate who, at that point is the presumptive Republican nominee for president, continue to discuss personal business in Russia while Russia is interfering in an election campaign.
RANGAPPA: Right. So this is somebody who may assume the office. What Mueller is investigating, as Jeffrey mentioned earlier, is whether there was an effort from Russia to assist the campaign in any way. This could be both with the dirt from Hillary Clinton e-mails. But if there was also a monetary enticement, then the question is what was Russia getting in return?
And before Trump even becomes, you know, the nominee or president or when he becomes the nominee, we know, for example, that the RNC platform on Ukraine changes. This is something that Trump was asked about. This is something that Manafort might have been implicated in. And then we have this Trump Tower meeting about the sanctions.
So the question is, you know, is there some kind of quid pro quo that's developing during this path to the election that then somehow gets, you know, developed further, perhaps, even afterwards.
HARLOW: Jeffrey, we obviously have a live courtroom outside of the courtroom here in Lower Manhattan. Hopefully, we'll hear from Michael Cohen's attorney, at least, and on him when he comes out.
What's the most important question you would ask Michael Cohen today?
TOOBIN: Well, did Donald Trump have financial interests in Russia while he was a presidential candidate? I mean, here's the --
SCIUTTO: That's your question.
TOOBIN: I mean, it's -- you know, we have politicians who have views on countries. And, you know, we have someone who is running for president in the foreign policy -- with a foreign policy agenda. Was that based on his views of the interests of the United States, or was it based on his personal financial interests?
SCIUTTO: So Jeffrey, as you've been speaking there, we now have the court documents from this filing and our colleague, Pamela Brown, has been reading through them. United States versus Michael Cohen. Here it is in front of us. Give us the headlines, Pamela.
BROWN: Yes. And there are a few headlines, just as I read through these court documents.
Now we know that Michael Cohen has told the judge in these court documents, misled Congress, saying that the Trump Tower Moscow project wrapped up in January 2016 before the Iowa caucus when, in fact, that wasn't the case. That that went on through the summer of 2016.
And what stands out to me is that, in these documents, Donald Trump appears to be Individual 1. And it says that Cohen discussed it multiple times with Individual 1 on more than the three occasions that he had claimed previously.
As you'll recall, he previously said he only talked to Donald Trump a few times, three times, and it was just for a few minutes in total. Well now, according to these court documents, that wasn't the case. There were many more discussions. And that he briefed family members of Individual 1, as we believe to be Donald Trump, within the company about the project.
Also, what stands out to me and what contradicts his previous testimony to Congress is Cohen agreeing to travel to Russia in connection with this project and the fact that he took steps in contemplation of Donald Trump's possible travel to Russia.
He had previously said that there wasn't a consideration to go to Russia. So now we're finding out not only was there consideration, not only was there an agreement for him to travel to Russia, but also that there was contemplation for Donald Trump to go to Russia. Remember, this was all happening when Donald Trump was running for
president. And you may ask why. Why did Michael Cohen mislead Congress? Well, according to these court documents, this is the why. "To minimize leaks between the Moscow project and Individual 1." Again, who we believe to be Donald Trump, appears to be him. "To give the false impression that the Moscow project ended before the Iowa caucus and the very first primary, in hopes of limiting the ongoing Russia investigation."
And so clearly, Michael Cohen, according to these court documents and according to what he told a federal judge, had misled Congress so that didn't look bad on Donald Trump at the time that this deal was ongoing while he was the presumptive Republican presidential nominee.
But now we're finding out that Donald Trump was briefed about this project while he was the Republican nominee and his family members were briefed. And now there was -- we're finding out, a discussion for Donald Trump to go to Russia.
And it also puts more of Donald Trump's own comments during the campaign under scrutiny, when he talked favorably about Vladimir Putin, the president of Russian, saying that he was open to doing deals with them. People had criticized him for not being harder on Russia.
[09:50:05] And we're just learning that Michael Cohen is coming out now, we're expecting, as we're waiting here at the federal courthouse in New York for Michael Cohen to step out any moment.
But what's -- what's really fascinating about this, Jim and Poppy, is the fact that now Michael Cohen could be the most dangerous witness to the president and his presidency in this Russia probe, a man who once said he would take a bullet for Donald Trump now coming out and providing this damning information to the court.
SCIUTTO: Pamela Brown, thank you.
Let's just highlight the two points we learned from this court document, because it clears up this date issue we've been discussing. Michael Cohen testifying, as the court documents say, that discussions of Trump Tower Moscow continued up and through June 2016, the month before Trump won the Republican nomination at the convention but was the presumptive nominee at the time. Many months beyond he previously testified, and he says directly, quoting these documents that he had -- he discussed this at least three times with the president, as well as Trump family members.
That is the key information in these documents.
SCIUTTO: We'll discuss more, but we do have Shimon Prokupecz outside the federal courthouse in Manhattan. What are you learning there, Shimon?
PROKUPECZ: Yes, Jim. So the proceedings are now over. We expect that Michael Cohen will come out. He may speak. We may hear from him as he comes out.
But the court proceedings are over. What we've seen are some of the FBI agents, some of the senior FBI agents come out who have been working this case, some of the U.S. attorney's staff come out. We're just now waiting for Michael Cohen to leave with his attorney, as well as some of the U.S. attorneys.
But obviously, a lot of people now starting to gather outside this courthouse. There's extra security that was brought in. You see some U.S. Marshals of the steps here. And so essentially, now we're just waiting, really, to see if Michael Cohen will speak to us and what he will say. But the proceedings are over, we're told, so we should see him coming out here shortly.
HARLOW: OK, Shimon. Let us know when he does, and we'll jump right back there. We know Michael Cohen has also pled guilty to making false statements, and that would obviously be this, you know -- to Congress.
Jeffrey Toobin, all right --
SCIUTTO: Here comes Michael Cohen.
HARLOW: You see Michael Cohen.
SCIUTTO: -- down the steps.
HARLOW: You see his attorney, as well. We're watching to see if they make any remarks.
SCIUTTO: There he is.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Michael Cohen!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Cohen has cooperated. Mr. Cohen will continue to cooperate. Sentencing is set for December 12.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Cohen, how are you feeling? Mr. Cohen, how are you feeling? Sir, do you want to say anything? Are you happy? Mr. Cohen, why did you decide --?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Come this way.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As expected.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you.
HARLOW: All right. So not a word from Michael Cohen there, who has pleaded guilty there in federal court in Lower Manhattan to lying to Congress.
However, we just heard from his attorney, Guy Petrillo. Jeffrey Toobin, come back in with me and Jim, and Asha is with us. What was really significant was the few words that was said. Michael Cohen has cooperated and will continue to cooperate.
To your point, Jeff?
TOOBIN: You know, this is, you know, a collapsing story that -- remember, the core of Donald Trump's view -- Donald Trump's statements about his relationship with Russia, business relationship with Russia is he didn't have one, that there was nothing there.
And here we have Michael Cohen saying, under oath, admitting that he'd lied previously, saying there was this business relationship and it was going on during the campaign, during the time that the candidate Trump, now President Trump, was making all these overtures to Vladimir Putin and to Russia.
And the question that has always been is why. Why was Donald Trump so solicitous of Russia? And Michael Cohen's statements here suggest the reason was money. The reason was Donald Trump had business interests with Russia during the 2016 campaign.
SCIUTTO: As we look at the documents, I just want to correct something I said earlier. I said that he briefed the president, who was identified in these court documents as Individual 1.
Actually, more than three occasions, because he says more than the three occasions that he had claimed to the committee so this would presume multiple times that he talked to the president, as well as family members.
So Asha Rangappa again, as Jeffrey Toobin said, the Trump story and the Cohen story here is falling apart, right, this idea that those discussions ended, there was no business back and forth during the campaign. In fact, says Cohen, testifying under oath here, into June multiple briefings with the president and family members. So they were aware, he says.
[09:55:09] RANGAPPA: Absolutely. And this is kind of the first time where we're seeing the president referenced in one of these documents as being a direct, like, as a fact in direct communication.
SCIUTTO: Individual 1.
RANGAPPA: Individual 1. You know, in the Corsi statement of facts, he's kind of a peripheral person. Here, he's direct.
And I'll say again, I think we know what the president answered to Mueller in writing about this, because that is going to be a big problem.
TOOBIN: And can I just -- along those lines, it is not a coincidence, I submit to you, as the lawyers say, that all of this is happening after the president has submitted those statements under oath, because if they had -- if he had made those statements, knowing that Michael Cohen was pleading guilty and acknowledging all of this. His statements might have been very different. So I think the timing of this is extremely significant.
SCIUTTO: Does --
RANGAPPA: As well as with Manafort.
SCIUTTO: To be clear with what you're saying there, Cohen's testimony, of course, contradicts the president's written answers, to our knowledge.
RANGAPPA: Well, we don't know.
TOOBIN: We don't know.
SCIUTTO: CNN's reporting is he denied -- actually, that's on some other. He denied knowledge of the Trump Tower meeting and other things.
SCIUTTO: But you're saying no coincidence it's coming out now. Because does that presume that Mueller knows that the president has not been truthful on this issue?
TOOBIN: Well, it -- by delaying Cohen's deal until now, it didn't give the president a chance to align his written answers --
SCIUTTO: I see.
TOOBIN: -- with whatever Cohen said.
RANGAPPA: He's locked in.
RANGAPPA: He's locked in.
SCIUTTO: That's the point. He's locked in. OK. We don't know if this makes a liar of the president on this, at least in his sworn testimony, but he's locked in his testimony.
HARLOW: Just to -- Jeffrey, just on one point, I want to really clarify here, as we're all reading through this in real time. This is -- these are the charges against Michael Cohen.
HARLOW: And he in court just pled guilty. When we're reading you parts of these of -- this is what the special counsel -- this is what the prosecutors are saying we have found out that this happened. These are not Michael Cohen's words.
TOOBIN: No. They're not Michael Cohen's words, but they are a summary of what -- of his -- what his version --
HARLOW: But he has pleaded guilty to all of these. This matches Michael Cohen's version --
TOOBIN: Correct, yes. HARLOW: -- is what I'm trying to make very clear to everyone.
TOOBIN: Yes, yes. It is that Michael Cohen is acknowledging what is written in this document, which is called an information --
HARLOW: Is all true.
TOOBIN: -- is all true. Yes.
SCIUTTO: Well, there's an interesting point here, as well. Pamela mentioned this. It speaks about Cohen making plans to travel to Russia and, according to the court documents again here, to travel to St. Petersburg for the forum there, the St. Petersburg forum, Russia's Davos equivalent in June 16th to the 19th. So not just discussions up into June but discussions of travel to Russia to talk about this project.
RANGAPPA: You know, let's start to put these pieces together with what we know from other places. George Papadopoulos, one of the charges for him was that he was continuing to try to arrange some kind of trip for Trump to go to Russia.
So you know, we're starting to get a bigger picture of not only what these people were doing, you know, separately, but also what Mueller knows to be true, which is key. And again, other people testified to Congress, which means that Mueller is not afraid to charge them with lying to Congress if he has facts that show that they lied.
SCIUTTO: Smart point.
HARLOW: Elie Honig is also with us. Elie, as you hopefully -- have you been given a copy of this yet, Elie?
HONIG: I'm followed along, yea.
HARLOW: All right. So what stands out to you the most? You have the date, which is very significant for the reasons we've laid out, why these conversations went through June of 2016, why that matters, OK?
HARLOW: And why when he lied about it that matters.
But secondly, the fact that Michael Cohen, in this information, is admitting that he lied when he told Congress that he had no conversations with Individual 1, being the president, or any of his family members about the Trump Tower Moscow project.
HONIG: Right. So this document, this information in today's plea is really the second shoe to drop. The first shoe was back in August when Cohen took what we would call a straight plea, meaning a non- cooperation plea. There was some surprise at the time. You know, wow. This is a regular plea but not cooperation.
Today seals that he's cooperating. Those issues relating to entanglements, financial entanglements to
Russia, false testimony, all of those could be used to make false statements cases against other people who have testified in front of Congress.
The other important thing that jumps out with me, is cooperation in the Southern Districts and in most federal districts but I think particularly in the Southern District where I used to work, it is all or nothing and that goes both ways. That means the cooperator, Michael Cohen, has to admit and plead guilty to everything he's done or all the big things he's done. And I think we saw the completion of that today.