Former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen pleads guilty to lying to Congress, in deal with special counsel Robert Mueller

Michael Cohen, former personal lawyer to U.S. President Donald Trump, exits from federal court in New York, U.S., on Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2018.

Mark Kauzlarich | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Michael Cohen, former personal lawyer to U.S. President Donald Trump, exits from federal court in New York, U.S., on Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2018.

President Donald Trump‘s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen pleaded guilty Thursday to lying to Congress about a real estate project in Russia, as part of a deal with special counsel Robert Mueller in the probe of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, the Associated Press reported Thursday.

Cohen made a surprise court appearance at federal court in Manhattan on Thursday morning, where he admitted to making the false statements.

In August, Cohen pleaded guilty in a separate federal case to eight criminal counts in the Southern District of New York related to tax fraud, excessive campaign contributions and making false statements to a financial institution. He is due to be sentenced on Dec. 12 in the Manhattan courthouse.

Two of those charges related to his prior work for Trump, when he said that he made payments to women in 2016 at the direction of a political candidate running for office.

Neither the special counsel’s office nor Davis immediately responded to CNBC’s requests for comment. The White House had no immediate comment when asked about Cohen’s guilty plea.

The development in Cohen’s legal saga came shortly after Trump sent multiple tweets raging against the Russia investigation.

In a statement to the Senate Intelligence Committee in September 2017, Cohen referenced a botched real estate deal Trump had pursued in Russia years earlier.

“I assume we will discuss the rejected proposal to build a Trump property in Moscow that was terminated in January of 2016; which occurred before the Iowa caucus and months before the very first primary,” Cohen said. “This was solely a real estate deal and nothing more. I was doing my job. I would ask that the two-page statement about the Moscow proposal that I sent to the Committee in August be incorporated into and attached to this transcript.”

The Washington Post reported in August 2017 that Cohen had email Russian President Vladimir Putin’s personal secretary during the 2016 presidential campaign to request assistance in moving along a stalled Trump Tower development project in Moscow.

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