Cohen was in ‘close and regular contact’ with Trump White House staff, legal team while crafting misstatement to Congress

President Trump’s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen was in “close and regular contact” with White House staff and Trump’s legal team while he was crafting misstatements to Congress, according to a new court filing late Friday night. Cohen pleaded guilty on Thursday to making misstatements before congressional intelligence committees while testifying about his contacts with Russians during the 2016 presidential campaign. In the court filing in the Southern District of New York, Cohen’s lawyers wrote that the false statements “sprung regrettably from Michael’s effort, as a loyal ally and then-champion” to help push forward Trump’s political messaging. Cohen followed the political messaging that Trump, identified as “Client-1” in the documents, his staff and supporters “repeatedly and forcefully broadcast.” The Hill has reached out to the Trump White House for comment. In cooperating with special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, Cohen said he lied about the effort to build a Trump Tower in Moscow, including his plans to travel to Russia, contacts with Russian officials in connection with the project and how long the property plans were discussed within the Trump Organization, according to court documents. Cohen reportedly discussed the idea of a Trump Tower Moscow with Russian press secretary Dmitry Peskov, two U.S. law enforcement officials told BuzzFeed on Thursday. The Trump Organization reportedly planned to give a $50 million penthouse in the tower to Russian President Vladimir Putin while the company was in negotiations in 2016. Trump and his spokespeople were trying to portray that contact as having ended before the Iowa caucuses on Feb. 1, 2016, according to the Cohen’s court filing. He justified making the false statements to Congress on the grounds that the Moscow project did not end up going forward, Cohen’s lawyers wrote. The plea from Cohen marks the first time he has been charged by Mueller as part of the special counsel’s investigation into Russia’s election interference and possible collusion between Trump’s campaign and Moscow. Cohen’s lawyers wrote in Friday’s court documents that the investigation has caused “deep and lasting strain,” writing that authorities are investigating the threats of physical harm Cohen and his family have reportedly received. Cohen has voluntarily met with Mueller’s team seven times throughout the course of the investigation and will “continue to make himself available” to the office for additional questioning, the documents state. His lawyers wrote that he decided to cooperate to “re-point his internal compass true north toward a productive, ethical and thoroughly law abiding life.” Trump accused Cohen of “lying” in order to escape a longer prison sentence. “He’s trying to get a much lesser sentence by making up the story,” Trump said this week, adding “everybody knows about this deal.” Cohen is expected to be sentenced for guilty pleas he made earlier this year in a case in the Southern District of New York later this month. Cohen pleaded guilty to several federal crimes in August, including violating campaign finance law. Cohen suggested that he violated the law at Trump’s direction. The charges stemmed from a $130,000 nondisclosure payment he gave to Stormy Daniels to silence the adult-film star, who claims to have had an affair with Trump in 2006.