President Trump turned up the heat Monday on his former personal attorney over his newly struck plea deal with Special Counsel Robert Mueller, calling for Cohen to “serve a full and complete sentence” over fraud and other alleged crimes.
“’Michael Cohen asks judge for no Prison Time.’ You mean he can do all of the TERRIBLE, unrelated to Trump, things having to do with fraud, big loans, Taxis, etc., and not serve a long prison term?” Trump tweeted, seemingly quoting news coverage of the Cohen deal.
“He makes up stories to get a GREAT & ALREADY reduced deal for himself, and get his wife and father-in-law (who has the money?) off Scott Free. He lied for this outcome and should, in my opinion, serve a full and complete sentence,” he continued.
The president’s tweet comes after Cohen’s attorneys asked a federal judge to not sentence him to prison, citing his cooperation with the special counsel’s office.
Cohen’s attorneys requested that based on “the cooperation Michael has provided, his commitment to continue to cooperate, and all of the remaining sentencing factors to be considered” under U.S. code, the judge “impose a sentence of time-served and restitution to the IRS.”
The longtime Trump fixer had already pleaded guilty in August to fraud, tax evasion and other crimes in connection with a separate federal case. Last week, he pleaded guilty to making false statements to Congress regarding an abandoned Trump real estate deal in Russia as part of Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling and potential collusion with Trump associates during the 2016 election.
In court last week, Cohen admitted to lying to the Senate Intelligence Committee during the summer of 2017 about the Trump Organization’s plans to build a Trump Tower in Moscow. Cohen admitted to giving a false description to the committee in stating that discussions of the tower stopped in January 2016 — prior to the first primary in the presidential election. Cohen admitted that the discussions about the real estate deal continued through June 2016.
Trump denied any wrongdoing and slammed Cohen as a liar in response.
The plea marked the first time Mueller’s team charged Cohen as part of its investigation. The Cohen plea deal involves cooperation with Mueller’s team. One report said Cohen has given 70 hours of interviews to the special counsel.
Cohen’s lawyers reportedly said he could have “fought the government and continued to hold to the party line, positioning himself perhaps for a pardon.”
“In the circumstances of this case, at this time, in this climate, Michael’s decision to cooperate required and requires singular determination and personal conviction,” his lawyers wrote in a filing late Friday, which included dozens of letters of support from Cohen’s friends and family.
The maximum sentence Cohen faces for this charge is five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.
But Cohen has also been under criminal investigation as part of a grand jury probe into his personal business dealings, including his tax business and bank fraud, since April, when the FBI raided his home, office, and hotel room to seize a collection of documents as part of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York’s criminal probe.
In August, Cohen pleaded guilty to five counts of tax evasion, one count of making false statements to a financial institution, one count of willfully causing an unlawful corporate contribution, and one count of making an excessive campaign contribution. The excessive campaign contribution was regarding the $130,000 payment made to porn star Stormy Daniels in the weeks leading up to the 2016 presidential election in exchange for her silence about an alleged one-time sexual encounter with Trump in 2006.
Trump denied in April that he knew anything about Cohen’s payments to Daniels, though the explanations from the president and his attorney Rudy Giuliani have shifted several times.
Cohen could have received up to 65 years in prison if convicted of all charges. However, as part of his plea deal, Cohen agreed not to challenge any sentence between 46 and 63 months. The deal made in August did not involve a cooperation agreement with federal prosecutors. Cohen, as part of that criminal investigation, is slated to be sentenced in New York City federal court on Dec. 12.
Mueller’s deal with Cohen raised speculation that the special counsel is intensifying his focus on the president as the probe enters its final stage. Cohen’s guilty plea was just the latest twist that speaks to Mueller’s scrutiny of Trump.
The investigation also reportedly has focused on Trump’s phone calls with political operative Roger Stone—whom the special counsel is reportedly eyeing over any coordination with WikiLeaks, the organization that published hacked Democratic emails in 2016.
Trump on Monday contrasted Stone against Cohen.
“’I will never testify against Trump.’ This statement was recently made by Roger Stone, essentially stating that he will not be forced by a rogue and out of control prosecutor to make up lies and stories about ‘President Trump.’ Nice to know that some people still have ‘guts!’” Trump tweeted.
The president added: “Bob Mueller (who is a much different man than people think) and his out of control band of Angry Democrats, don’t want the truth, they only want lies. The Truth is very bad for their mission!”
Trump’s comments come as Mueller’s team continues to repeatedly press his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort for details about him. Mueller’s team last week accused Manafort of violating his plea deal by lying to investigators, amid reports his cooperation agreement was not panning out how prosecutors had hoped.
Fox News’ John Roberts contributed to this report.