Michael Cohen strongly implies the White House staff and Donald Trump’s attorneys knew he would lie to Congress and that they helped to craft his statements.
Cohen’s attorney, who wrote the document, is careful to make the point that he is not flat-out accusing White House staff and Trump’s attorneys directing him to lie, but more that he felt pressured to say things consistent with Trump’s lies, which he did.
I’m no lawyer, but it does seem that Trump staffers and lawyers may have some liability as a result of Cohen (and possibly others) feeling that lying to Congress and misleading the American people to stick to anti-Mueller talking points was best option.
It sounds like they knew that Cohen was going to lie, since he interacted with them on a regular basis to make sure he was parroting Trump’s talking points, and did nothing to stop him. That could be considered as a conspiracy to lie to Congress, but that would be very hard to bring criminal charges unless there are documentation, such as emails, that could prove conspiracy to lie.
There are some good pieces of information in Cohen’s sentencing document. He also said he decided to cooperate with Special Counsel Robert Mueller, the Southern District of New York investigators, as well as New York State Department of Taxation and the Attorney General’s office because he did not like Trump’s “full-bore attacks” on the Russia investigation. He is cooperating with probes of Trump Foundation and his campaign. In other words, Donald Trump and his family should be stressed out about what this all means for them….trouble.
Cohen also addressed the payments made to Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal on Trump’s behalf before the 2016 presidential election. His attorney writes that “Michael felt obligated to assist Client-1 (Donald Trump) on Client-1’s instruction, to attempt to prevent Woman-1 and Woman-2 from disseminating narratives that would adversely affect the Campaign and cause personal embarrassment to Client-1 and his family.”
Cohen does not want his sentencing to be delayed and wants to be sentenced quickly before his cooperation is completed. The problem with this is that the judge can’t be sure he will continue cooperating if there’s no delay in his sentencing. There would be no incentive to cooperate. The sentencing on Dec. 12 is for campaign finance violations and not for his guilty plea in the Mueller probe.
Read Michael Cohen’s sentencing memorandum: