‘IT’S A LIE’: Cohen backs away from plea bargain claims

NEW YORK — Michael Cohen, who once served as President Donald Trump’s personal attorney, is walking back claims he made as part of his plea bargain according to a report published by the Wall Street Journal.

Cohen, who pled guilty to eight criminal charges, including campaign-finance violations regarding hush-money payments made to adult film star Stormy Daniels and Playboy Playmate Karen McDougal, now claims he did not commit tax evasion and that a criminal charge related to a home-equity line of credit was “a lie.”

“There is no tax evasion,” the Journal claims Cohen said during a secretly recorded phone call with former television star Tom Arnold, a vocal critic of the president. “And the Heloc? I have an 18% loan-to-value on my home. How could there be a Heloc issue? How? Right? . . . It’s a lie.”

During the call, Cohen, who is preparing to face a three-year prison sentence in exchange for testifying against the president, said he felt like a man “all alone.”

“You would think that you would have folks, you know, stepping up and saying, ‘You know what, this guy’s lost everything,'” Cohen said.

“My family’s happiness, and my law license. I lost my business . . . my insurance, my bank accounts, all for what? All for what? Because Trump, you know, had an affair with a porn star? That’s really what this is about.”

Cohen’s attorney, Lanny Davis, told CNN in response to the report that nothing Cohen said to Arnold during the course of the phone conversation “contradicts Mr. Cohen’s previous defense attorney, Guy Petrillo, in his sentencing memorandum to the presiding federal US District Court Judge William H. Pauley III back in December.”

“I would also add the important words used by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, and others, in describing Michael Cohen’s cooperation and testimony as ‘credible’ addressing the ‘core’ issues involved in his investigation,” Davis said.

According to the Journal report, Cohen told Arnold that he agreed to the plea deal in order to protect his wife.

“I love this woman,” Cohen said. “I am not going to let her get dragged into the mud of this crap, and I never thought the judge was going to throw a three-year fricking sentence.”

Cohen is scheduled to begin his prison sentence on May 6.

Trump and Cohen during a campaign stop at the New Spirit Revival Center church in Cleveland Heights, Ohio

REPORT: ‘Fear’ prompting Cohen to reconsider testimony before Congress

WASHINGTON — “Fear” is causing former Trump attorney Michael Cohen to reconsider his planned testimony before Congress next month, his advisor said on Thursday.

Lanny Davis, a lawyer who’s been serving as an advisor to Cohen on his public relations strategy, told MSNBC that some remarks made by the president about Cohen equated to witness tampering and that Trump should be criminally investigated.

“There is genuine fear and it has caused Michael Cohen to consider whether he should go forward or not, and he has not made a final decision,” Davis said.

Davis called the president out on a myriad of issues during the interview, but particularly on comments Trump made during a Fox News interview on Saturday in which he insinuated that he may have dirt on Cohen’s father-in-law.

“That’s the one that people want to look at,” Trump told Fox.

Trump’s remarks “could be obstruction of justice,” Davis said.

“There is no question that his threatening and calling out his father-in-law, who – quote – has all the money, is not only improper and unseemly for a bully using the bully pulpit of the presidency,” said Davis, “but the very definition of intimidation and witness tampering.”

During a federal court hearing in New York last August, Cohen testified that Trump had ordered him to arrange “hush money” payments during his 2016 election campaign to two women with whom he is alleged to have had extra-marital affairs, a violation of federal campaign laws. Cohen also pled guilty to lying to Congress about a proposed Trump project in Russia.

As part of a plea agreement with prosecutors, Cohen agreed to testify before Congress in regard to several ongoing investigations relating to whether or not the president or members of his former campaign team colluded with Russia to influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.

Trump has denied allegations of such collusion.

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