An angry President Donald Trump on Monday called for his ex-personal lawyer Michael Cohen to receive a stiff prison sentence for his admitted crimes, as he accused Cohen of making up “stories to get a GREAT & ALREADY reduced deal for himself.”
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Trump in a Twitter tirade also accused special counsel Robert Mueller of seeking “lies” from witnesses about Trump — and praised his longtime associate Roger Stone as having the “guts” to withstand pressure from Mueller’s prosecutors to “make up stories” about the president.
Trump’s latest rants came three days after lawyers for Cohen asked a judge in a court filing to give him no prison time when he is sentenced Dec. 12 in U.S. District Court in Manhattan for charges brought by Mueller and other federal prosecutors.
Cohen theoretically could get up to 70 years in prison if sentenced to consecutive terms for all his crimes. But sentencing guidelines would call for any prison term to be much less than that, in the range of several years.
Cohen, 52, pleaded guilty in August to multiple counts of tax evasion, lying to a bank, and campaign finance violations.
Although Trump’s tweet suggested that those crimes are unrelated to the president, the campaign violations that Cohen admitted committing involved hush-money payments the lawyer facilitated to two women, porn star Stormy Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougal, who claim to have had affairs with the president more than a decade ago. Cohen told a judge that one of those payments was made at the direction of Trump to influence the 2016 election.
Last week, Cohen also admitted lying to Congress in 2017 by making a statement that minimized Trump’s involvement in an aborted real estate project in Russia and by claiming efforts for that project ended months earlier than they did.
In their court filing Friday, Cohen’s lawyers noted that he is cooperating with Mueller’s ongoing investigation, and that he also has met with New York state tax officials who are also probing the president.
Less than a half hour after zinging Cohen, the president in another tweet credited Stone with not being willing to “make up lies about ‘President Trump.'”
“Nice to know that some people still have ‘guts!'” Trump tweeted about Stone, who is also under investigation by Mueller.
The president then followed with a volley at Mueller, who is continuing to probe possible obstruction of justice by Trump, Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, and possible collusion by Trump’s campaign. Trump has denied any wrongdoing.
The series of tweets underscores the fact that Trump has been unable to keep his fury over Mueller’s probe from becoming public, even as the stock market reacted positively Monday to the president reaching a new temporary truce in a trade war with China.
George Conway, a Republican lawyer critical of the president who is also married to Trump’s senior advisor Kellyanne Conway, responded to Trump by referring to the sections of the federal criminal code that apply to witness tampering, and to influencing or injuring a grand juror or other officer of a court.
Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., later explicitly critized Trump for his tweet in support of Stone’s vow never to testify against the president.
A spokesman for Mueller, as well as a lawyer for Cohen, Lanny Davis, declined to comment when asked about Trump’s tweets. The White House did not respond to a request for comment.