Former Trump attorney Michael Cohen pleaded guilty Thursday to charges that he made false statements to Congress about his role in Donald Trump's efforts to build a Trump Tower in Moscow, referred to in court documents as the "Moscow Project".
According to the plea agreement from the special counsel's office, in exchange for his guilty plea Cohen will not be prosecuted further for false statements to Robert Mueller's team or Congress, or for "obstructing, aiding or abetting" in such perjury. Mr Trump said on Twitter, referring to a United States senator who led an anti-communist crusade in the 1950s.
In 2015, BuzzFeed News reported in May, Cohen met with sometimes Trump adviser Felix Sater about the possibility of licensing the Trump name for a massive tower in Moscow, potentially the tallest building in Europe.
"He's got himself a big prison sentence".
At issue with Stone, a GOP political operative and Trump confidante, is what he knows about the timing and release of WikiLeaks publication of hacked emails from John Podesta and other Democrats during the 2016 presidential campaign.
The incoming chair of the panel, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., told reporters on Thursday morning that in the wake of Cohen's guilty plea, "we believe other witnesses were untruthful before our committee".
In January 2016, Cohen also reached out to Russian President Vladimir Putin's spokesperson about the project.
Once known as Trump's "pit bull" and right-hand man, Cohen was privy to multi-million-dollar deals and payments to two alleged lovers - whose claims could have potentially sabotaged his boss's 2016 election.
He also admitted lying about his contacts with Russian officials, and about discussing whether he or Trump should travel to Russia in connection with the project.
In a nine-page filing, prosecutors laid out a litany of lies on Thursday (Friday NZ Time) that Cohen admitted he told to congressional lawmakers about the Moscow project - an attempt, Cohen said, to minimise links between the proposed development and Trump as his presidential bid was taking off. Cohen is scheduled to be sentenced December 12.
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But his lawyer said: "Mr Cohen has co-operated. Mr Cohen will continue to cooperate".
Cohen once famously vowed he would take a bullet for Mr Trump, but in April this year the pugnacious attorney's home and office were raided by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Trump ultimately secured the Republican nomination for president just weeks later in July 2016.
That investigation has since expanded into Trump's business dealings about which Cohen would have critical information.
What else is going on with the Mueller inquiry?
Cohen says he mislead Congress because he didn't want to contradict Trump's political messaging.
In August, Cohen pleaded guilty to charges involving his arrangement of payouts of hush money to those women - widely thought to be porn star Stormy Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougal - before the 2016 election. "I was very focused on running for president".
Trump has denied publicly that he had any knowledge at the time and said as much in written answers recently given to Mueller's office, according to reports on Wednesday.
But Cohen's admission seems to bring Mr Mueller one step closer to the doors of the Oval Office, particularly any accusations of attempts to cover up connections to Russian Federation.
Mueller has already shown he has evidence that the Trump campaign and Trump's family entertained offers of dirt on Clinton from Russian Federation.